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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 4, 2009 10:30pm-11:00pm EDT

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looking forward to hearing from you administrator fugate because you know as i know that while we have made some progress there is a tremendous amount of force that has to be done and we are looking to you for leadership and guidance. ..
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i've submitted written testimony to address some of the questions i have, some opening statements. i will try to keep these shorts because i would rather have the questions than half the dialogue. i'm pleased to be here to represent homeland security emergency management talking about preparations for 2009 and i appreciate the opportunity to come before you particularly your leadership on these issues, the committee's work in identifying as a nation where we need to go. that kind of talks and not changing how we want to approach things. we at fema believe our role is to ensure we are working together as a nation to build, sustain and improve capabilities to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate against all hazards. and the key thing is recognizing fema by itself cannot be successful. many groups that you are representing are part of the team. more importantly, it is local and state officials and
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volunteer organizations, but ultimately citizens that are part of that team and if nothing else, i'm trying to get people to realize the public is not the liability, they are the resource that can help us be more successful. but we also have to be there for their needs when disaster strikes. as you know the post katrina emergency format established positions of the administrator and provide for the authority additional functions we now have at fema, more tools as you pointed out last year began showing the improvement but again, we still have a way to go. and it allows us to further strengthen the relationship with our state partners, tribal and local governments as part of that community. it's contributed to our increased operational capacity to all types of emergencies. as you remember one of the challenges of of katrina was not
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being able to move and release audits until there was declaration and the challenge of prepositioning assistance that clarity has been brought because the work you are kennedy did that said we need to enable the administrator and the team to submit more productively. we continue that work in powering fema to do that and you point out we face a lot of hazards and we instituted starting this morning exercises to begin testing the team. we simulated a major earthquake in california at 6 a.m., no notice to the team to make sure we are reinforcing these procedures so that as you point out we are not 72 hours after getting critical resources there in support of the governors. this process building the team enhancing what you've given us as the tools use what we are focused on in the 20 online season. there's tremendous capability built in but construct the oftentimes your work, the committee's work and the legislation's past has addressed and is now our responsibility to make sure we can implement that so as we go through this and
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build the central partnership's come secretary napolitano as you pointed out i can't say enough great things about after having worked with her and having her serve that role in helping transition as i came on board and now again a very strong regional administrator as part of the fema family. as you pointed out, she brought a lot of common sense approach to address the challenges we face in the recovery and that is a continual commitment that we have. as i, you know, as i serve in this capacity coming from a stage director and working with secretary napolitano, she was a former governor, we very much bring the experience we were once customers of our federal family and the challenges we face in helping our citizens and we continue to work towards that. and we are working with state partners to give them more ownership of the process. we know as you pointed out temporary housing, how do we house people after a disaster isn't a solution we can bring from washington to fit all
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states. we want to work with the states as we develop ideas and concepts to really work with our states and say what ideas have you come up with? how do you make sure we are able to capture what resources are there and what is the best way to address that. we know there is no one solution that fits every scenario and that we are working with the states to build those housing task forces so that as unfortunately these may occur in the future we have more options as we go forward. it is again, will to discipline, multi team approach. we need that ownership and buy yen at all levels and integrate. and when i said working together i think a lot of times we look at the planning process so government centric we forget the community is more than government. as you have here some of the volunteer agencies represented with red cross and people that promoted united way with 211 and brokering those resources is critical we bring about the team approach and we work has not
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just representing government but with the private sector does. to me it's always the challenge does it make since to have all been supplied by other areas of the community on served and we can do that if our focus is we are going to build a government centric team and we all recognize. we have to build a team that involves all the partners that can serve in support citizens but most important need schrag or citizens understand they have a role to be as prepared as they can so that when disaster strikes we can focus on the most honorable citizens because we've on our part to get a plan ready. finally, ma'am, as my time runs out if we could ask folks all this work your committee is doing we could do more if one more person does things when disaster strikes. if you and your family are okay check on your neighbor. we can do more working together than just from a government centric approach. >> spoken like a true local fema administrator. thank you.
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and we will give you as much time as you need. thank you for sticking to the five minutes, but i want to be liberal with you on your time because i do think you have a great message to bring to the nation. major? >> chairman landrieu, senator barras, thank you put the opportunity today to represent and present comments of the defence support to civil authorities we do at north, every day. i would like to take a moment to introduce my executive officer commander dan baxter that grew up in jefferson parish louisianan, a great naval aviator and has relatives today. he understands the hurricane season. >> nice to meet you. >> we are privileged to be a member of the whole u.s. government approach to disaster response. including active guard and reserve alongside our federal, state, tribal and local partners. we started our planning this year well in advance of the past and we stand ready to assist the primary federal agencies and
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responding quickly to man-made and natural disasters when detected by the president or secretary defense. when requested and approved by appropriate federal officials in accordance with national response frame work we support civil authorities by providing specialized skills and assets to save lives, reduce suffering and restore infrastructure in the wake of catastrophic events in the homeland. last year during one of the most destructive hurricane seasons on record we supported the department of homeland security and federal emergency management agency responding to three major hurricanes, the stuff, and i, and ike within a 13 day period. we continue to take significant steps improving our response capabilities. first of all, we have incorporated the joint staff standing execution order to streamline defense support to civil authorities with and operational planning for the 2009 hurricane season.
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this joint staff execution order provides u.s. northern command commander the authority to establish operational staging areas, mobilization centers, national logistics support areas and department of defense based support installations to support fema. in addition the ten full-time defense quote and adding officers and staff cuts were made and play continually with respective fema regions and in collaboration with department of defense and homeland security, we've also developed prescript it mission assignments for fema. we have 24 approved currently and it provides in menu of response capabilities the cost to fema so they can respond and request those machines assignments. based on anticipated requirements of medical evacuation and damage assessment and commodity distribution to mention just a few.
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finally we toasted the first national guard and northern command planning conference in february in south carolina it brought together generals from the eastern and gulf coast states along with chief of the national guard bureau and my boss and to the opportunity to look at gaps and also work with fema and other agencies and provide a list of shortfalls we anticipate based on current deployments for the 2009 hurricane season. additional planning for the 2009 hurricane season included discussions with u.s. transportation command on aeromedical evacuation, general population evacuation, discussions with the department of homeland security and also fema, health and human services and service company command. all of these are planning conferences and tabletop exercise we conducted in preparation for the season. if and when called northern
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command stands ready to provide robust support to civil authorities during the 2009 hurricane season. thank you for the opportunity to present today and i stand ready to answer your questions. >> thank you, general. we very much appreciate that. senator? >> thank you very much, madame chairwoman and to the distinguished panel, it is a good opportunity to listen and learn what we are preparing for. and mr. fugate, we know that we had a bad -- it wasn't quite a tornado but we hear a lot about hurricanes, but inland a hurricane is a tornado and that is what we get in the illinois, and my home as a matter of fact is an tornado alley in southern illinois, and we just had a big storm come through a few weeks ago, and it wasn't quite at the 20 bill level, they called it a
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dorado they call or something that's highland that reaches about 75 miles per hour. is that correct mr. fugate, is that what they call it now? >> that is one term, they also call it a microburst. my experience has been if you lose your roof is strong. [laughter] >> it is a hell of a storm, isn't it? and we had quite a bit of damage and our governor asked for some assistance and i'm just hoping that assistance would be forthcoming because in southern illinois there is a lot of poverty and it isn't that much resource so i hope we can get some assistance on that. are you familiar with that request that's been put in for southern illinois? >> no, sir, i am not. it could still be at the region i haven't seen. >> it's about six weeks ago. >> it may have come through. i've been on the job about three
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weeks. >> check it out for us. general, i was down in my national guard facility at camp lincoln the other day and we were talking about coordination of the disasters with the national guard does. we also have another issue called flooding over the mississippi river that in south and new orleans, but it comes down through illinois roaring like a mack truck doing 90 down highway 55 and leaves in its way a lot of flooding and i was just wondering how does north comm. coordinate with the national guard in terms of the disaster coordination? does it go through the national guard first or who is in charge? >> senator, to answer your question, our coordination as with national guard bureau but the first response will always be with national guard supporting state and local
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officials. we've go immediately upon indications that there is a disaster pending we will begin to coordinate with the national guard in case there are gaps in the capability to respond, and i talked with the national guard chief of operations daily and looking across the country, looking where they have forces deployed so we are prepared to respond if they have caps and we've recently responded to the flood in the red river in the north of north dakota working with the national guard and north dakota and minnesota and provided some active duty forces to back them up at the request of the federal emergency management agency and we prepossession six aircraft. >> pardon me, you said your requests came from fema to you? does that have to originate at the state level? >> senator, the process by which we would activate north comm. would be at the request of the
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state and we wouldn't have assets within either the national guard or other federal assets and was appropriate. we would mission to ask the folks at north comm. to provide assistance. one thing we have done that goes back to the issues the chairwoman raised previously a lot of times these would be requested we haven't planned ahead of time. what we've done is after katrina and then after the hurricanes last year, we had developed what we call a pre-scripted mission which is essentially we put together the type of things we would be likely asking for from north comm.. we write these missions clearly what we are trying to accomplish and then north comm. trains those resources and has that ready to go so that rather than try to describe or call pieces to do something we can activate in mission package north comm. can execute and support of the mission which is working for the states so if it exceeds the capability of the national guard we've oftentimes build these packages for the threats we know
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about so that whether it was to do a flawed fight, support mass care, whether it was to support commodity distribution or bring specific equipment these are the types of things we have written out i believe over 200 some 30 of those missions that we have already -- 260 some of the missions we have already driven out and that is in addition to the capability north comm. can do in addition to the support from the federal family for things we haven't written and one of the things we try to do on the after action reports as capture anything that was different that we either need to adjust the mission or create an mission support for and so that is constantly evolving process each time we go through a disaster. >> well you know, gentlemen, i haven't -- coming back to the government i think the general public has no idea the preparation and planning that goes into these disasters and
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what i am certainly singing is now public officials it is but i know these things and hopefully we can get the message out to the people that we are really prepared to assist in these situations which lead me, mr. fugate, to another question. are you familiar with the university of illinois has for this computer they are some awaiting the tornadoes and hurricanes and some leading disaster is on these computer models? laws at the university of a lie that has the fastest computers, madame chairwoman, in the country and what they showed me a demonstration of is a simulated tornado and they can then studied this and prepare based on the atmospheric conditions taking place in the development of the various wind and philosophy and other elements that make up a tornado as well as some leading floods
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and disaster even in chicago they have this computer design that says there's a disaster in chicago where is the e evacuation route or do you know of any other facility where this is being studied, computer wise or are these escalations taking place? >> chairman burris, i know there's programs out there but i don't know darkly about this, i will ask my staff to get with your staffs light can be briefed. >> we would certainly like to let you know what the university of illinois is coming up with and the assimilation's and preparations. >> thank you, senator. i am aware of a center like that in louisianan. i don't know if our computer is as fast as yours. i think it is, on the battle of the computers here between ellen and louisianan but i am very impressed with what several of the universities have done on the heels of katrina and rita and using technology that was their cash building strategic
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partners so let's explore the opportunity because there may be real expertise out there, mr. fugate, i know what the endeavor city of lafayette because i have seen it. perhaps senator burris has a suggestion as well. i would like to get my line of questioning if i could. i wanted to ask the first mr. fugate what are your top three priorities? i know that you have many but if you could for this committee because we would like to work with you we are going to work with you, but push to get the very best systems we can so what are your top three priorities as you are stepping into an agency that has been at the front-line in many ways these last few years how do you see your top three priorities? and uncertain that you have discussed this with the
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secretary and highest levels of this administration so would you outline that for us now? >> yes, ma'am, they are rather broad, easy to communicate and require a lot of moving pieces and simple. my first and greatest priority is to increase the responsibility and participation of our citizens to prepare for disaster. i truly believe far too many of boss who do not get ready and prepare oftentimes put our most vulnerable citizens in jeopardy as we compete for those needed resources. and looking at these large-scale top disasters i know that the more those of loss that can be ready and prepared the more successful team will be. number two, i have come to this job with the understanding that in our response to the immediate needs to a state and governor we need to be focused on the outcome we are trying to achieve and not necessarily look at process. i am challenging the team as we have been participating in her can exercise is to not merely
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define the response by the capabilities but to find the response by what is needed to support and impact its state and government recognizing there are many parts of that partnership but as an example it doesn't seem to me to be very effective and search and rescue operations that if we are not reaching quickly that we are mobilizing staging assessing and it is still two or three days into the event and we haven't reached people. we haven't changed that outcome so i would rather take the approach let's define what the outcome should be. let them work in partnership and save rather than wait for the disaster to bring from the outside how do we build to the couple the capability within the states and then with the federal government response how do we do that with speed and stabilization have to be based upon not what we can build capability and say that is what the response will be but look at what could happen and if that does have we got all of the parts of the team working
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together including support from the national guard from our active duty reserve components to achieve that and not nearly go we are going to incrementally improve something and i think that starts getting back to the crutch of something of your issues you raise and the challenges we had in 2008 such as hospitals we hadn't gotten the generators planned for. we need to do that i had of time because it is getting the hospital back on line and that might mean a generator, electrician, mechanic and if you look at one piece you didn't get the outcome which is getting the hospital back on line so you don't have to evacuate and that is one of the things i learned and continue to bring forth so that response based upon changing outcomes. the third peace and this is a piece i have seen in much of what you have been trying in to get in testimony and when you have been writing about is what is recovery? we keep talking about long-term recovery and trying to build it and i keep walking away from it. i am not sure all of the pieces
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understand what we are trying to do and i recognize the stafford act all by itself will not achieve what we need to achieve but if we don't have a focal point that says this is where we are going a thing we get lost in the housing programs and in these solutions because they are not tied to the outcome so why use and it's a very simplistic approach but it helps me died and out, i can articulate and begin looking at the variety of resources we have at the federal level to support the states and that is re-establishing a tax base and a community within a timeframe i would say no greater than five years that equals or exceeds the tax base prior to the event and this is recognizing you don't just want to take five years but in an event like katrina we have so much rebuilding to take place that it is sometimes people say it may be a simplistic measure but having been in government most of my life tax bases are a good indicator of the health of the economy and tells how many homes we have and business of buying permits and people are buying cars and tells me i can
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provide for the services such as schools and other components and gives me a chance to start looking at programs that can come in such as hard and training dollars that come in from the department of labor working with commerce and other groups and sba to make sure sometimes disasters happen as a community is pivoting economically and it doesn't make sense if you don't recognize just putting it back won't change the economic outcome and we still have failure. is looking at something that may not be the best dancer in all cases but from the standpoint of getting a focal point to start writing recovery not just merely administering the stafford act but getting to the point where a community has their tax base which is a good indicator they can continue to do the services that we have been successful in the housing mission getting schools open providing public safety setting the stage for business to thrive helps me articulate a view that says as
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much as we work as a team to respond to the governor and a disaster is not fema we are articulating on behalf of the president the team approach of all federal agencies that that approach and recovery which is to me one of the things you cannot have great response and not recover is still a failure. it gives a better opportunity to start looking holistically with federal programs we have and authorities do we have an even though fema may not have those, helping provide that focus of the stafford act parts of the program doing what it can but also bringing the rest of the federal family to help a local government and state reestablish that government tax base which is a reflection we've been able to achieve things such as housing, jobs, and maintaining the community infrastructure. >> let me say, mr. fugate, when you outlined is music to my years and the people i represent will be grateful to hear such a clear and passionate vision of what is needed and has been
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lacking for many years. your focus on citizens and an powering them to make decisions that help us make all of this much better even though these are very difficult challenges whether it is hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes or great floods, your focus on results as opposed to process i cannot tell you how happy that makes the senator. and your focus on, which is something i hadn't even thought of and i really am challenged by what you just said about trying to define what recovery is because i myself have searched for that and your focus on identifying it as restoring the tax base either 100% or 120% being satisfied with 80% whatever we decide at least it gives us a goal that we all know what we are working for and i think that is a very excellent
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vision you've outlined and i certainly can appreciate the significance of. let me ask you this question here, which i have to bring up and you know because it is a very tough issue at home is the visa issue. can you take a minute to explain what a v-zone issue is and how many are going to be affected by this decision and why we are struggling right now with what we rebuild and what we don't rebuild because i am going to press you and i am happy that fema released to 60% of $33 million or so that we have got tied up in this issue that affects the building of fire stations, police stations along the coast of louisiana, but mississippi, all the coastal communities from texas to mississippi to florida are going to be affected, and i understand
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and i am going to get a map of the united states with all of the v-zone's so people can understand you may find yourself in one of these and if a tornado comes, senator burris and damages areas in the us v-zone the resources they think they are getting from the federal government isn't necessarily going to happen so i would like mr. fugate to take a minute and i will press you how we can try to resolve this for our state. go ahead. >> madame chair, foresman is a philosophy zone and it refers to the program and determining risk that these are areas that have the highest risk and that we have had as a policy within the nation to direct new growth away from the most vulnerable hazard areas, that is a good policy and it makes sense. the challenge however we go back and map and identify these areas and we oftentimes find we have
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many communities built on fun v-zone and historic leedy are there and as we had developed our policy of passive leader acting construction and again not wanting to put new growth but when you have a disaster if something was damaged we will relocate. well there are probably opportunities in a small event we have only a few homes that relocation would make sense but when you are dealing with a challenge across the gulf coast and other places when you would look at the new data suggested as high velocity or high risk area, merely using the passive approach of removal and not rebuilding the totally destroyed but allowing the repairs to damaged buildings that mitigate the lead didn't recognize we still have to ask the question that is as good stewards we don't want to promote growth and a hazardous area but if it is


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