Monday, October 24, 2005

On the web: The story of the little agency that could


RBHS 25451
Originally uploaded by Ralph.
Great story in Time this week about the Coast Guard. While we certainly have our faults, I think the article actually isn't too glowing. We did an excellent job with Katrina; sure, we could have done some things better, but, overall, we did OK.
In Katrina's aftermath, the Coast Guard rescued or evacuated more than 33,500 people, six times as many as it saved in all of 2004. The Coast Guard was saving lives before any other federal agency--despite the fact that almost half the local Coast Guard personnel lost their own homes in the hurricane. In decimated St. Bernard Parish east of New Orleans, Sheriff Jack Stephens says the Coast Guard was the only federal agency to provide any significant assistance for a full week after the storm. Coast Guard personnel helped his deputies commandeer boats and rescue thousands. So last week, when two representatives from the U.S. Government Accountability Office came to ask how he would fix the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), he had his answer ready: "I would abolish it," he told them. "I'd blow up FEMA and ask the Coast Guard what it needs."
Hmm, now there's an interesting idea. I get the sense we're already the agency to provide PFO's.

Last week I was talking with a retired Master Chief about how we could have done better with Katrina. He noted that perhaps one of the reasons we are seen from the outside as being capable is because on the inside we are so critical -- and we work to make it better. We hold ourselves to a fairly high standard.

Anyway, pop on over and read the article in Time.

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