Bridging the Gulf : A New Paradigm for Emergency Management on Americas Third Border
Slaten, Andrew R.
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The current U.S. government structure for engaging with emergency management issues on the international arena requires fresh analysis and review to determine efficacy and practicality for emerging threats and challenges. Issues of preparedness have taken second seat to humanitarian assistance. Support for key components of national resiliency for any countrypreparedness and mitigationreceive only minimal support. Continuing and potentially increasing catastrophic disasters within the homelands backyard (a term commonly used to refer to the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico area) will continue to present homeland security issues far into the future. A commitment to investment in preparedness, as well as new structures for initial support following a major disaster, will relieve pressure on the United Statesand the international communityto invest heavily in costly humanitarian assistance. At the same time, it will serve to strengthen the national regimes in the area and strengthen the regional resiliency that well serves the hemisphere at large. It is safe to say that the traditional approach of the United States government has had a paternalistic flavor to it, jumping in to help after a crisis, but leaving under-developed and under-resourced countries to fend for themselves in developing organic capabilities to be ready for the next disaster. By developing a broader U.S. government capacity to address the fuller cycle of emergency management issuespreparedness, mitigation, response and recoveryin partnership with our neighboring countries within and bordering the Gulf of Mexico, we will be better prepared to handle the future catastrophes that are sure to come. By authorizing and resourcing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to operate on behalf of the American people outside the domestic national borders, a new paradigm for inter-agency emergency management can be developed that achieves the goal of strengthened hemispheric disaster resiliency.
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