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|Transcript: Brown's Lieberman-led FEMA confirmation hearing, 6-19-02|
<107 Senate Hearings>
S. Hrg. 107-616
NOMINATION OF MICHAEL D. BROWN
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
NOMINATION OF MICHAEL D. BROWN TO BE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
JUNE 19, 2002
Printed for the use of the Committee on Governmental Affairs
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COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut, Chairman
CARL LEVIN, Michigan FRED THOMPSON, Tennessee
DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii TED STEVENS, Alaska
RICHARD J. DURBIN, Illinois SUSAN M. COLLINS, Maine
ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio
MAX CLELAND, Georgia THAD COCHRAN, Mississippi
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware ROBERT F. BENNETT, Utah
JEAN CARNAHAN, Missouri JIM BUNNING, Kentucky
MARK DAYTON, Minnesota PETER G. FITZGERALD, Illinois
Joyce A. Rechtschaffen, Staff Director and Counsel
Susan E. Propper, Counsel
Jennifer E. Hamilton, Research Assistant
Richard A. Hertling, Minority Staff Director
Johanna L. Hardy, Minority Counsel
Jana C. Sinclair White, Minority Counsel
Darla D. Cassell, Chief Clerk
C O N T E N T S
Senator Lieberman............................................ 1
Senator Bunning.............................................. 5
Senator Akaka................................................ 5
Senator Bennett.............................................. 14
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Hon. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a U.S. Senator from the State of
Hon. Wayne Allard, a U.S. Senator from the State of Colorado..... 2
Michael D. Brown, to be Deputy Director of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA)....................................... 8
Alphabetical List of Witnesses
Allard, Hon. Wayne:
Brown, Michael D.:
Biographical and professional information.................... 17
Pre-hearing questions and responses.......................... 62
Questions for the Record and responses....................... 95
Campbell, Hon. Ben Nighthorse:
NOMINATION OF MICHAEL D. BROWN
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2002
Committee on Governmental Affairs,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:37 a.m., in
room SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Joseph I.
Lieberman, Chairman of the Committee, presiding.
Present: Senators Lieberman, Akaka, Bunning, and Bennett.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN LIEBERMAN
Chairman Lieberman. The hearing will come to order. I
apologize to everyone here that I am a bit late. One of those
phone calls came in as I was heading out of the office.
I wonder if my colleagues up here, Senator Bunning and
Senator Akaka, would mind if we yielded to the introducers
first since the two of you may have to go on to other matters.
We are delighted to welcome you here. Who is senior, or do you
Senator Campbell. Does it go by age, Mr. Chairman?
Chairman Lieberman. Yes. Well, you have gray hair.
Is it OK if we start with him?
Senator Allard. Mr. Chairman, I ask to vote alphabetically,
but he has got seniority.
Chairman Lieberman. OK. Senator Campbell.
STATEMENT OF HON. BEN NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL, A U.S. SENATOR FROM
THE STATE OF COLORADO
Senator Campbell. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is an honor
and a pleasure to introduce to the Committee today an
outstanding gentleman who has been nominated to serve as the
Deputy Director for the Federal Emergency Management Agency,
As my colleagues know, FEMA has played a very important
role in Colorado in recent weeks, as well as throughout many of
the Western States faced with the catastrophic wildfires that
we face. In Colorado, as an example, we have lost over 200,000
acres this summer alone to forest fires. FEMA and people like
Mr. Brown have been serving the State, the country, and indeed,
all of us as citizens in their capacity within that agency
steadfastly and tenaciously.
FEMA has been there non-stop to help our States in terms of
floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and all kinds of natural
disasters. But beginning this year alone, Colorado has received
11 fire management assistance grants from FEMA. For my part,
and certainly on behalf of the people of Colorado, I need to
thank Mr. Brown for that dedication. It is going to be a long,
hot, dangerous summer, and I am sure that FEMA will always be
there as friends and good public servants.
Wildfires aside, we are here today to talk about Mr.
Brown's appointment to serve as the Deputy Director. Mr. Brown
was first appointed to serve as the FEMA General Counsel in
February 2001, and then as Acting Deputy Director in September,
where he served as the Chairman of the Consequences Management
Working Group. As FEMA's General Counsel, Mr. Brown is both the
principal legal advisor to FEMA's Director Joe Allbaugh and the
head of the Office of General Counsel. Not only does he provide
legal advice to the Director, but he and his staff of
approximately 30 attorneys provide legal services to all of
FEMA's programs and support offices and they also represent the
agency in litigation.
Prior to his current job, from 1991 to 2000, Mr. Brown was
the Commissioner of the International Arabian Horse
Association, an international subsidiary of the National
Governing Organization of the U.S. Olympic Committee. In his
position there, he created ethical programs, enforcement
policies and procedures, conducted investigations, and
prosecuted fraud and corruption cases.
Before that, he served as General Counsel of Dillingham
Insurance, Suits Drilling, Suits Rig, and Latigo Energy, in
addition to Dillingham Ranch and Dillingham Enterprises.
Earlier positions included 8 years in private practice, 2 years
as an advisor to the Oklahoma State Senate's Finance Committee,
and 3 years as Public Administrator for Edmond, Oklahoma, where
he co-founded joint public-private partnerships for economic
Mr. Chairman, I cannot state firmly enough that I believe
Michael Brown to be more than qualified to serve FEMA and the
people of this country as part of the administration. He is
dedicated, tenacious, and he is exactly the type of individual
who has given up probably a better lifestyle to be in public
service and we certainly appreciate all of that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Lieberman. We can certify to that final
And everything else you said, too. Thanks, Senator
STATEMENT OF HON. WAYNE ALLARD, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE
Senator Allard. Mr. Chairman, it is good to see you this
morning. I think this is the first time I have had an
opportunity to appear before your Committee.
Chairman Lieberman. It is a pleasure to have you here.
Senator Allard. I want to join my colleague from Colorado,
Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, in strongly endorsing
President Bush's nominee for Deputy Director of the Federal
Emergency Management Agency, otherwise known as FEMA.
Undoubtedly, everyone in this room is well aware by now of
the serious wildfire situation that we have in the State of
Colorado. I would just point out after the comments made by my
colleague that it is important that we move forward
expeditiously on this nomination because this is the fire
season throughout the entire Rocky Mountain region, although I
think that Colorado is probably more heavily impacted than any
other State in the Rocky Mountain region.
I am pleased to know that Michael D. Brown has the
opportunity to serve as Deputy Director of FEMA because he is a
Coloradan. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration
and Political Science from Central State University in
Oklahoma. He got his Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City
University School of Law. He has also served as an adjunct
professor of law for the school.
He was appointed as FEMA's General Counsel by President
Bush in February 2001 and consequently appointed as Acting
Deputy Director for the agency. As FEMA's General Counsel, he
served as the principal legal advisor to the Director, led a
staff of 30 attorneys, and provided legal services to all of
FEMA's program and support offices. He also represented the
agency in litigation matters.
As Acting Deputy Director, Mr. Brown serves as Chief
Operating Officer for the agency and helps the Director oversee
the activities of the agency. He offers the agency many years
of professional experience. I think that is extremely important
and I believe it will serve the agency well, especially when
faced with the serious situations that call for the agency's
In the past, he served as a hearing officer for the
Colorado and Oklahoma Supreme Courts, and as a special
prosecutor appointed by the Police Civil Service Commission in
Mr. Brown, I believe, is a person of integrity. He has
served as a bar examiner on ethics and professional
responsibility. He also served as commissioner for an
international sports and trade federation, during which time he
created ethical programs, enforcement policies, and conducted
investigations and prosecuted fraud and corruption cases. I
believe that Mr. Brown has valuable experience and familiarity
with insurance law, energy issues, land use, and environmental
law, practical skills that have and will serve him well at
Mr. Brown brings strong family values to this job. He lives
in a community not far from where I live known as Longmont,
Colorado. He is a Coloradan. He has lived there for 11 years.
He has two children, Amy and Jared and he travels back to
Colorado almost every weekend, as I do. I can understand the
difficulty of flying all the time as official duties permit.
Again, I thank the Committee for allowing me the
opportunity to introduce Michael D. Brown. I wish to
congratulate the Committee for acting on this nomination
expeditiously. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Lieberman. Thank you, Senator Allard.
Mr. Brown, you are off to a good start with two strong
statements of endorsement. I am going to put my opening
statement in the record.
PREPARED OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR LIEBERMAN
Good morning. Welcome to you, Mr. Brown, and also to your wife,
We are here this morning for the nomination hearing of Michael
Brown to become Deputy Director of the Federal Emergency Management
Agency--a government agency under much discussion these days, as we
begin to reorganize government to better protect our citizens from
terrorist attacks here at home. If, and I hope when, the Department of
Homeland Security comes into existence, FEMA will be folded into the
Department; we must ensure that the agency is equipped to function at
the highest level today, and equipped to make the transition into the
new department without losing a step tomorrow.
Responding to terrorist attacks, of course, is just one piece of
FEMA's mission. Recent floods in Minnesota and crippling forest fires
in Colorado have reminded us of FEMA's critical, often life-saving role
in helping Americans protect themselves from and recover from natural
disasters. My state of Connecticut was grateful for the assistance FEMA
provided in 1999 to aid recovery from Tropical Storm Floyd. And more
recently, the agency has assisted scores of fire departments and
companies in my state of Connecticut--including Stonington, Oakdale,
West Haven, Allington, Danbury, Bethel and Farmington, to name a few--
with funds to purchase protective equipment, fire prevention programs,
and fire trucks.
But because, by creating the Department of Homeland Security, we
are in the throes of making such an important decision that will affect
FEMA's historic and future responsibilities, I'd like to focus today on
the agency's role as the lead federal agency responding to terrorist
attacks. Based on a series of hearings on homeland security the
Governmental Affairs Committee held last fall, it is crystal clear to
me that effective coordination among and between layers of government
is the crux of all quick and effective terror response. Therefore, FEMA
must be an absolutely dependable link in that communications chain. It
must ensure that the Federal Government's entire emergency response
network is a well-honed machine, and then that the Federal, state and
local governments are just as well coordinated with one another. This
is an immense challenge that FEMA has yet to meet.
I am glad the President has nominated someone already familiar with
FEMA's mission to become Deputy Director. Mr. Brown is currently
General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of the agency, a position
he has held since February of 2001. Before joining the Bush
Administration, I note from his resume, he served as executive director
of the Independent Electrical Contractors in Denver. In the early
1980s, Mr. Brown served as staff director of the Oklahoma Senate's
Finance Committee, while serving on the Edmund, Oklahoma, City Council.
He ran for Congress in the sixth district, and, in what I think is
particularly useful experience, early in his career, was assistant city
manager in Edmond, with responsibility for police, fire and emergency
As I have said, since September 11th, FEMA has taken on new
responsibilities of the highest priority, in addition to its
traditional and critical role of responding to natural disasters.
Although the agency received generally good reviews on its performance
in the wake of the September 11th attacks, some have criticized FEMA's
limited assistance payments to families in New York, its failure to
fully reimburse New York City for higher-than-expected police security
costs, and its inadequate consultation with state and local groups
outside of emergency management personnel.
In addition, the Administration's budget calls for a $3.5 billion
increase for state and local preparedness. That new funding is welcome.
At the same time, we should understand that for the money to be
effectively spent, the agency will have to undergo a thorough
assessment of its operations and organizational structure.
Mr. Brown, you have extensive management experience. For this job,
you will need it. You will need to redouble FEMA's strengths,
strengthen its weaknesses, and work with the reorganization effort to
allow a seamless transition that only enhances our government's
emergency response network.
In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt said, ``We will harness and
speed up the use of the material resources of this nation in order that
we ourselves in the Americas may have equipment and training equal to
the task of any emergency and every defense.''
That is once again our challenge and our opportunity today. I hope
together we are up to the task.
Chairman Lieberman. I will say for the record that Mr.
Brown has submitted responses to a biographical and financial
questionnaire, has answered pre-hearing questions submitted by
the Committee and additional questions from individual
Senators, and has had his financial statement reviewed by the
Office of Government Ethics. Without objection, this
information will be made part of the hearing record, with the
exception of the financial data, which is on file and available
for inspection in the Committee's offices.
In addition, the FBI file has been reviewed by Senator
Thompson and me pursuant to Committee rules.
Senator Bunning, would you like to make an opening
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR BUNNING
Senator Bunning. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As we all know,
FEMA provides America with vital services during some of the
most difficult moments. In fact, so far this year, Kentucky has
three times experienced severe flooding, and yesterday, we had
an earthquake. The epicenter was in Evansville, Indiana, and
affected Western Kentucky. Can you imagine Kentucky with an
earthquake? So we have used the services of FEMA at least three
times in these last few months. In all instances, FEMA was
ready to provide the needed support to help my State, and I
appreciate their hard work.
As we all know, earlier this month, President Bush
announced his proposal to create a new Department of Homeland
Security, which will be responsible for keeping all Americans
safe inside our borders. It may be the biggest undertaking by
the Federal Government and will require cooperation,
dedication, and hard work from Federal employees, Congress, and
One of the agencies the President has proposed moving into
the new Department is FEMA, and today, our Committee has the
pleasure of considering the nomination of Michael Brown to be
Deputy Director of FEMA. Since Mr. Brown is already serving as
Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel to FEMA, I suspect
he is already familiar with the agency's strengths and
weaknesses and I am looking forward to gaining his perspective
on future changes to FEMA. I also hope that he has some
suggestions for us, since this Committee will be primarily
responsible for creating the new Department in the Senate.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Lieberman. Thank you, Senator Bunning. Senator
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR AKAKA
Senator Akaka. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Brown, aloha and welcome to this Committee. Since you
and I met a month ago, it seems that the nature of the position
to which you have been nominated has changed dramatically. I
also want to say welcome to anyone you have with you. Do you
have any members of your family here you wish to introduce?
Mr. Brown. Yes.
Senator Akaka. Can you introduce them?
Mr. Brown. My wife, Tamara.
Senator Akaka. Thank you for supporting him at this
hearing. I also want to thank my colleagues, Senator Allard and
Senator Campbell, for their introduction.
Mr. Chairman, the President's proposal for a new Department
of Homeland Security includes FEMA. I hope, Mr. Chairman, since
you have led the Senate with your bill establishing the
Department of Homeland Security, that we can explore how this
new role will affect the agency's traditional mission.
Many of the agencies impacted by this proposal, including
FEMA, have a number of core responsibilities unrelated to
homeland security missions. Most of what FEMA does every day,
and what Americans expect FEMA to do, does not fall under the
description of homeland security. An example is when FEMA
partnered with local and State agencies to help residents on
the Island of Hawaii in the wake of tropical storms and
flooding last year. It is the dedicated men and women who
formed--as I would like to call them the FEMA family--who
continue to build on these relationships and provide Federal
assistance to those most in need.
Every State in the Union, including Hawaii, works with FEMA
on mitigation to lessen the impact of future disasters. These
efforts are all-hazard and will help communities respond to
floods and terrorist attacks. However, there are those in the
administration who have criticized mitigation efforts and have
questioned their cost and benefit. I believe that Mr. Brown and
Director Allbaugh appreciate the importance of disaster
mitigation. Unfortunately, traditional cost-benefit analysis is
not appropriate for mitigation programs and OMB has failed to
give FEMA guidelines on what factors will be used in the
I am concerned that these same problems will haunt the new
Homeland Security Department. What factors will OMB use to
determine the effectiveness of different homeland security
programs? Mr. Chairman, I hope that Governor Ridge will shed
some light on this when he appears before us tomorrow.
The Deputy Director will be responsible to ensure that
FEMA's core functions are not neglected.
Over the past decade, FEMA has regained the confidence of
local and State emergency managers. Individuals and families
rely on FEMA when their lives are torn apart by natural
disasters. I believe confidence and trust are among America's
most important assets in our struggle to make our community
safer and more secure. FEMA has expanded its responsibilities
Mr. Brown, again, I want to say thank you for your
dedication and your willingness to serve our Nation. You have a
tough road ahead. If we are to use the parallel between this
reorganization and the creation of the Department of Defense in
1947, we must remember that it took years, even decades, to
shape a truly integrated armed forces. Unfortunately, we do not
have years to reshape how our country prepares for terrorism.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I ask unanimous
consent that my longer statement be placed in the record.
Chairman Lieberman. Thanks, Senator Akaka. Without
objection, it will be placed in the record.
< The prepared statement of Senator Akaka follows: >
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SENATOR AKAKA
I wish to welcome our nominee to the Committee. Since you and I met
a month ago, it seems that the nature of the position to which you have
been nominated has changed dramatically.
The President's proposal for a new Department of Homeland Security
will include Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A key question
is how will this new role for FEMA in Homeland Security affect its
There is already a Federal Response Plan that does what the
President says the new Department will do, that is, ``the Homeland
Security Department will integrate the Federal interagency emergency
response plans into a single comprehensive, government-wide plan.''
Since 1992, a Federal Response Plan has managed the activities of 26
Federal agencies and the Red Cross during all phases of a disaster,
including readiness, response, recovery, and mitigation. In 1999, FEMA
published the second edition of the Federal Response Plan Terrorism
When necessary, FEMA has made agreements with specific government
agencies to address terrorism. In January 2001, FEMA and the Department
of Justice released an Interagency Domestic Terrorism Concept of
Operations Plan (CONPLAN). FEMA is currently working with the
Catastrophic Disaster Response Group (CDRG), made up of representatives
of all Federal agencies, to update the Federal Response Plan in light
of the lessons learned from September 11. These changes are to be
integrated with the national strategy for homeland security, on which
Governor Ridge has spent the past eight months working.
I hope the proposed department will build on all the different
plans and agreements already in place. We do not need a brand new
coordination plan. What we need is better communication and
implementation of the plans we have.
The President and his staff compare this reorganization to the
creation of the Department of Defense after World War II. However,
there are many differences. The Departments of the Navy and the Army
shared the primary mission of defending the United States. They were
both military departments with similar cultures and management
In contrast, many of the agencies impacted by this proposal,
including FEMA, have a number of core responsibilities unrelated to
their homeland security missions. Most of what FEMA does every day, and
what Americans expect from FEMA, does not fall under the description of
Homeland security is strengthened through developing assets that
are built day-by-day and community-by-community. These assets include
well-trained firefighters and law enforcement officers, well-equipped
medical personnel, and well-exercised emergency response drills.
An example is when FEMA partnered with local and state agencies to
help residents on the Island of Hawaii in the wake of tropical storms
and flooding last year. It is the dedicated men and women who form the
FEMA family who continue to build on these relationships and provide
Federal assistance to those most in need. Just this year, FEMA assisted
flood victims in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Illinois and is working
with communities devastated by wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico.
Every state in the Union, including Hawaii, works with FEMA to
include disaster mitigation when rebuilding after an event. Cities and
counties across the country are working with FEMA to lessen the impact
of future natural disasters through mitigation programs.
These efforts are all-hazard and will help communities respond to
floods and terrorist attacks. However, there are those in the
Administration who have criticized mitigation efforts and have
questioned their cost and benefit.
FEMA's pre-disaster mitigation program was eliminated in the
President's 2002 budget because it was deemed ineffective by the Office
of Management and Budget. Congress disagreed and saved the $25 million
program only to see the Administration's FY03 budget proposal seek to
eliminate FEMA's post-disaster mitigation program, which was also
judged ineffective by OMB.
I believe that Mr. Brown and Director Allbaugh appreciate the
importance of disaster mitigation. Unfortunately, traditional cost-
benefit analysis is not appropriate for mitigation and prevention
programs, and OMB has not given FEMA guidelines on what factors will be
used in the future.
I am concerned that these same problems will haunt the new Homeland
Security Department. What factors will OMB use to determine the
effectiveness of different homeland security programs? I hope Governor
Ridge will shed some light on this when he appears before us tomorrow.
The Deputy Director will be responsible to make sure that core
functions are not neglected. Over the past decade, FEMA has regained
the confidence of local and state emergency managers. Individuals and
families rely on FEMA when their lives are torn apart by natural
disasters. I believe confidence and trust are among America's most
important assets in our struggle to make our communities safer and more
FEMA has these assets because of it employees. The Deputy Director
also will be responsible for ensuring that these dedicated Federal
workers have the resources, training, and support necessary to do their
jobs. Likewise, FEMA's core missions are too important to take the best
and most experienced staff away from traditional disaster response and
mitigation to fill new homeland security activities.
Mr. Brown, thank you again for your dedication and willingness to
serve your nation. You have a tough road ahead. If we are to use the
parallel between this reorganization and the creation of the Department
of Defense in 1947, we must remember that it took years, even decades,
to shape a truly integrated armed forces. Unfortunately, we do not have
years to reshape how our country prepares for terrorism.
We can, and should, pass legislation to create a homeland security
department. However, we must remember that the issue is not a new
Federal department, but what is most effective in protecting Americans.
Chairman Lieberman. Mr. Brown, our Committee rules require
that all witnesses at nomination hearings give their testimony
under oath, so at this point, I would ask you to please stand
and raise your right hand.
Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?
Mr. Brown. I do.
Chairman Lieberman. Thank you. Please be seated. Mr. Brown,
do you have a statement that you would like to make at this
Mr. Brown. A very short statement, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Lieberman. Please proceed.
TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL D. BROWN \1\ TO BE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA)
Mr. Brown. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Akaka, and
Senator Bunning. It is truly an honor to be here today. I am
especially proud to be joined today by so many people from
FEMA. I really consider them to be my friends after a year and
a half or so of working there. The people at FEMA are truly
dedicated to doing a good job, truly dedicated to fulfilling
the mission of that agency, and truly dedicated to being the
best public servants that they can. The fact that some of them
showed up today is very meaningful to me and I appreciate their
\1\ Biographical and professional information appears in the
Appendix on page 17.
Pre-hearing questions and responses appear in the Appendix on page
Questions for the Record and responses appear in the Appendix on
I am also very grateful for my wife being here today. As
all of you know, public service sometimes can cause a heavy
toll in terms of just relationships, in terms of the workload,
in terms of what the undertaking is that we do in being public
servants, and my wife has followed me throughout my career and
has been very supportive, at times questioning me, at times
prodding me, at times looking at me with that strange look on
her face like, ``What are you doing now?'' < Laughter. >
Mr. Brown. But throughout all of it, she has been very
supportive, so I would like to introduce my wife, Tamara, and
just tell you how much I appreciate her being here today.
Chairman Lieberman. Thank you for being here, Mrs. Brown.
All of us are familiar with that strange spousal look that Mr.
Brown referred to. ``What are you doing now?'' I have seen that
a few times at home. < Laughter. >
Mr. Brown. I am very grateful to President Bush for
nominating me to this position. Like you, I believe public
service is an honorable path and an honorable career and I am
fortunate to have this opportunity to contribute and I am
honored that I have been asked to serve. I am especially
honored that I have been asked to serve at this incredibly
interesting time in our country's history.
I am also very pleased that I was introduced by two, I
think, very unique members of the U.S. Senate, the only
veterinarian in the Senate and the only Senator I know that
when I am traveling through Colorado and I see a Harley
Davidson drive by, I pull down my glasses to see if it is
Senator Campbell or not. So two of the most unique Senators in
this institution have introduced me today and I am very honored
I am also honored by the fact that my friend, Joe Allbaugh,
whom I have known for some 25 years, has asked me to serve with
him. Our friendship goes back many years, but that personal
history pales when you put it in the context of the past 9
months. It is during times such as this that we learn a lot
about ourselves, our families, our friends, and everyone else,
and how much we cherish them.
I have been saying a lot of thank yous, and that is because
FEMA is a terrific agency with an inspiring mission. FEMA cuts
across political and philosophical lines. It is an agency
people can agree on. They respect our mission. They understand
the challenges that the mission represents.
Mr. Chairman, both as Chairman of this Committee and as a
member of our EPW Subcommittee, you know what a broad reach
that we have in this agency, for example, from disaster
response to fire grants, from the President's first responder
grants to supplementing homeless service providers, from safety
near chemical storage sites to safety near earthen dams, from
disaster mitigation to safety around nuclear power plants, from
the Cerro Grande Fire Claims Office to flood insurance maps.
That covers a lot of ground and requires as much energy as it
In short, we at FEMA have a lot of responsibility, but we
are also blessed with partners who are the best in America.
Some of those partners that we work with include State and
local governments at all levels, communities, homeowners,
nonprofits, charitable groups, emergency managers, fire
fighters, and all of the other first responders.
As you can see, we are part of a terrific team. Contrary to
Groucho Marx's theory on club memership, it is the kind of club
of which you would want to be a member. We have a lot on our
plate and a lot more coming to our plate, but through this
work, we are also blessed to see firsthand on a regular basis
the very best that this country has to offer.
I have now been at FEMA for just over a year as General
Counsel and Chief Operating Officer. It has been a tumultuous
time, but also a time of great hope and a time of great
possibility. I want to assure you that if I am confirmed as
Deputy Director, I will work hard to maintain FEMA's standard.
We have worked hard to gain a reputation as dependable
partners, and I want to not only maintain that record, but to
improve on that record, also.
I pledge with all sincerity to work with this Committee and
the Congress to strengthen the agency, its dedicated staff, and
the service that we provide to people most in need of our help.
Working together, I believe all things are possible.
I thank the Committee for your time and your attention and
I will be happy to answer any questions that you have.
Chairman Lieberman. Thanks very much, Mr. Brown.
I am going to ask you some questions first, that we ask of
all nominees. Is there anything you are aware of in your
background which might present a conflict of interest with the
duties of the office to which you have been nominated?
Mr. Brown. There are none, Senator.
Chairman Lieberman. Do you know of anything personal or
otherwise, that would in any way prevent you from fully and
honorably discharging your responsibilities as Deputy Director
Mr. Brown. No, sir.
Chairman Lieberman. And do you agree without reservation to
respond to any reasonable summons to appear and testify before
any duly constituted committee of Congress if you are
Mr. Brown. Absolutely.
Chairman Lieberman. Thank you very much.
Mr. Brown, as we have indicated here today, as much as any
other agency, FEMA's role will be greatly expanded as we
reorganize government to prepare for and respond to terrorist
attacks at home. FEMA, of course, has done an outstanding job
in working closely with State emergency managers to respond to
However, I know there is a concern among some, including
some law enforcement officials and regional councils of
government, that FEMA sticks pretty closely, if I can put it in
the vernacular, to its own network of State emergency
management personnel and local emergency management personnel.
Given FEMA's expanding mission, what would you intend to do to
expand FEMA's network and to reach out to these other groups
that you may have more contact with than you have had in the
Mr. Brown. I think we have already started down that path,
Senator. Director Allbaugh met, I think, possibly 30 days ago
or so with a group of law enforcement officials and literally
sat down with them at Tortilla Coast in a room. I envisioned a
room with a chair in the middle, the way he describes it, and a
single light bulb over his head and they grilled him
extensively about the relationship that FEMA has with law
enforcement agencies. He very forthrightly told them that our
partnership has to be with all agencies responding to the
disaster, all first responders, and the impression I had from
my conversation with him is they walked away feeling much
better about that.
We also have reached out to FBI Director Mueller and had a
meeting with him a couple of weeks ago and they have agreed to
detail an FBI Special Agent to our FEMA Operations Center so
that as we do our planning, as we do our preparations, we will
have that law enforcement component as a part of our emergency
So I think we are already doing that. My pledge would be
that just as we have good partnering relationships with State
and local government, I will do my best to expand that
partnership attitude, those partnership relationships to all
aspects of law enforcement that may be involved in first
Chairman Lieberman. Thank you very much. That is a good
In the homeland security bill that this Committee reported
out about a month ago, FEMA would be the key component in the
Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, as we called
it in that bill, of the new Department of Homeland Security.
That particular directorate would be responsible for all of the
disaster response activities currently handled by FEMA as well
as the Federal, State, and local planning, training, and
exercise programs and the coordination that needs to occur
between the Federal agencies, State and local governments, and
the private sector.
The role envisioned for FEMA in the administration's
proposal, it seems to me, is quite similar to the one in our
Committee bill, but in addition, the administration in its bill
would create a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear
Countermeasures Directorate. Among that directorate's
responsibilities would be, ``to direct exercises and drills for
Federal, State, and local chemical, biological, radiological,
and nuclear response teams and plans.''
I am going to ask this question on Thursday, or I am sure
somebody will, of Governor Ridge, but the question that I want
you to give a response to, and think about further if you would
like, is whether the responsibilities of this fourth
directorate that the administration bill proposes, to the
extent that it would focus on training and exercises for and in
response to catastrophic terrorism, may duplicate what FEMA
would be doing in the Emergency Preparedness Directorate. So I
am wondering whether those responsibilities, separate from what
I take to be the research and development parts of this new
directorate, would better be consolidated within FEMA or the
FEMA-dominated directorate in our Committee bill.
Mr. Brown. Let me answer the question this way. First and
foremost, I will support whatever proposal the President
submits and will work hard to implement that and make certain
that it works.
In this respect, Senator, FEMA has what I think is the
absolute appropriate approach to hazards and it is the all-
hazards approach. And not to be crass, but on September 11, if
the planes had gone into the towers because of a failure of the
air traffic control system or whether they had gone into the
towers because of the terrorists who were flying them into the
towers, FEMA's response would have been the same. It is the
all-hazards approach. We train first responders. We train State
and local governments. We build the partnership such that
regardless of the cause of the disaster, our response is the
same, and we will make certain that we are well prepared for
whether the tanker truck carrying ammonium nitrate falls over
because of a flat tire or falls over because someone shoots at
the tire, that our response is adequate and geared to solving
whatever the response needs to be for that incident.
So in terms of the restructuring, I think as long as FEMA
continues its all-hazard approach, its all-hazards mission,
that we will be able to fulfill whatever mission it is that the
President and Congress give us to fulfill. Now, we currently
have the CSEP (Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness) and
the REP (Radiological Emergency Preparedness) programs in which
we have some of those training responsibilities already. We
would continue those. I think we have a good track record in
that regard, so we would, not to continue repeating myself, but
we would continue to take the all-hazards approach regardless
of what responsibilities we are given in some final version of
Chairman Lieberman. I urge you to continue to think about
that. We are all together. We are all trying to figure out in a
very new circumstance what the best way is to organize the
government's response. It is just the question was raised in my
mind whether parts of the functions of this new CBRN
Directorate, frankly, would be better in the other directorate
with FEMA, and I encourage a continued dialogue on that.
Mr. Brown. I think there will be a lot of dialogue in that
Chairman Lieberman. Sure. Thank you. Senator Bunning.
Senator Bunning. Yes. In following up on the Chairman's
questions, has FEMA's relation with emergency responders
changed since September 11 or has the focus of the agency
changed? Are you doing more with local responders than you used
Mr. Brown. I do not think so. Let me answer the question
this way, Senator. People often ask me what has happened, what
has changed in terms of our function since September 11 and I
answer, not flippantly but very seriously, everything has
changed and nothing has changed.
Everything has changed only in the sense that the intensity
with which we approach our mission, the intensity with which
the employees who are here today and the employees back in
headquarters and throughout all the regions, that they approach
their job has taken on a new meaning to them. It is much more
acute, much more intense in terms of making sure that we are
prepared in every possible sense of that word.
But in the actual implementation of that preparation,
nothing has changed. We are continuing to build the
partnerships. We are continuing to make certain that our
relationships with all of the partners of State and local
government are in place and that it is a good working
We have brought on who was going to be the new President of
the National Emergency Managers Association into FEMA as an
employee. We are reaching out to law enforcement. We are
reaching out to--I gave a speech, I forget, it was the
Association of Supreme Court Justices and made it reach out to
them and said, how many of you have talked to your State
emergency managers or your State homeland security director?
Nobody in the room raised their hand. But it was the point of
trying to get them to start building those partnerships that we
are already good at and trying to expand those partnerships as
much as possible.
Senator Bunning. I can just say to you that the
relationship between the local responder and FEMA has changed
in Kentucky because they are more friendly doing their job.
They always did their job, but the response has been a more
friendly response and a willingness to cooperate. I want to
make sure that if you are put in homeland security, that this
function that is placed in homeland security does not get
someone involved that does not have that same attitude as far
as responding is concerned.
Mr. Brown. Well, Senator, I will make this pledge to you,
that as long as I am around, those partnerships will continue
to grow and expand as much as possible. The partnerships, both
with our State and local partners and with our Federal
partners, are exactly what makes FEMA successful.
Senator Bunning. You were in city government like I was
before I became a State Senator and a Member of the House and a
Member of the U.S. Senate. You were an Assistant City Manager
in Edmond, Oklahoma, one of my old hangouts when I managed the
Oklahoma City 89-ers, in the mid-1970s, actually. So was I,
1976. How has the responsibility and focus of local officials
changed since September 11, the relationship to FEMA?
Mr. Brown. First of all, I would say I probably went to
some of those ballgames, but I am sure I never screamed at the
Senator Bunning. Yes. I can remember you specifically doing
Mr. Brown. I never did that. < Laughter. >
State and local governments are looking to us for
leadership. They are looking to FEMA to tell them where are the
holes in our response plans? Where are the holes in our mutual
aid agreements? What incentives can you provide us to fill
And I think as long as we continue those relationships--we
did an assessment immediately following September 11 at the
request of Governor Ridge, Director Allbaugh, and the President
and we went to the State and local governments and said, tell
us what your greatest needs are. Tell us what your greatest
vulnerabilities are. And because they trust us, they were
willing to give us that unabashed response about: In Oklahoma,
our hole is here. In Colorado, our vulnerability is here. In
Kentucky, we have a weakness here that we need to get filled.
And so they looked to us for that kind of leadership and I
think will continue that. I do not think that will change
regardless of where the Congress and the President end up
putting the FEMA structure.
Senator Bunning. In other words, you will be able to do
your two main functions, to respond to natural disasters and
prepare for any terrorist attack, no matter where you are
Mr. Brown. That is my intent, and I think that is a true
statement, that regardless of where we are placed, our
coordination will stay the same and we will be able to do that
job as well as we have, and hopefully even better. Under the
proposed structure, I think it would be even better because the
partners we now work with will now be part of our organization.
Senator Bunning. This will be my last question, Mr.
Chairman Lieberman. No problem.
Senator Bunning. You mentioned in a speech the need for a
national accreditation system for emergency responders. Do you
think that is necessary, to put a grade on our responders or to
say that this group is better than that group, or how did you
Mr. Brown. Accreditation is probably not the proper word,
but some sort of certification that says this group has been
through this type of training and they are able to do A, B, and
C, so that when you have a mutual aid agreement and there is a
requirement that says we need additional response from
somewhere else, we know we can turn to your team and your folks
and they will have the necessary training that we need for that
particular incident that is taking place.
Senator Bunning. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Lieberman. Thank you, Senator Bunning. Senator
Bennett, good morning.
Senator Bennett. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. Good morning,
Mr. Brown. Good morning, Senator.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR BENNETT
Senator Bennett. We appreciate your being here. I must say
for the record what I have said privately but cannot really say
too often, how grateful we in Utah are to FEMA and the other
agencies that were involved in providing security for the
Olympics. As the head of security for the Olympics said to me
as I stood in the command center where all of the agencies were
present, he said, ``Senator, this is boring, and in the
security business, boring is good.'' < Laughter. >
I think we saw in the Olympics a model that can be used now
for the Homeland Security Department, as every agency who was
involved in providing security for the Olympics had a
coordinated role and obvious stake in seeing to it that it
stayed boring. It was amazing, the contrast, for example, with
the Atlanta Olympics, which took place against a backdrop of no
terrorism around the world, at least as far as Americans were
concerned, and the Utah Olympics that took place against the
backdrop of September 11. The difference was stark. Atlanta had
bomb scares in the hundreds every day. In the Salt Lake
Olympics, we had less than 100 bomb scares through the entire
17 days. So that was an example of how different agencies can
work together and provide security.
The concern I have with respect to the creation of this new
department is what happens to your other missions. FEMA has
missions other than security missions. If the primary focus of
the new department is homeland security and that becomes the
primary focus of FEMA, what happens to your other responses in
situations that have nothing to do with homeland security and
homeland defense? Have you given any thought to that as you
have looked to your new home?
Mr. Brown. I have given considerable thought to it,
Senator, and I am honestly convinced that it really has no
detrimental effect to our all-hazards approach that we
currently have. I sincerely believe it will enhance our ability
to convince all of our partners, State, local, and Federal
partners, that the whole concept of having an all-hazards
approach is the best way to secure the homeland.
If we are prepared against, and again, I give the example,
another example of the all-hazards approach is if we are
prepared for responding to the breaking of a dam, regardless of
the cause of the breaking of that dam, we have secured the
homeland. If we are prepared to respond to wildfires occurring
in Colorado, then we have secured the homeland regardless of
the cause of those wildfires.
It is the all-hazards approach that is developed solely on
these partnerships that I think will be enhanced by the new
structure. I do not think we will lose that core mission at
Senator Bennett. The reason for my concern, and the
Chairman has heard me on this subject before, I was present at
the creation of the Department of Transportation, where we did
pretty much the same thing, brought a number of agencies in
from a number of different places, and frankly, the Department
did not function for years as it should have functioned because
the Coast Guard and the FAA and the Urban Mass Transit
Administration and the highway people all had very different
cultures and different attitudes and they were not used to
thinking in terms of a single Department focused on
transportation and it took years for the cultures to change.
I am concerned about that happening here. I am delighted
with your answer, which does demonstrate that you have given
some thought to it, and my only counsel to you is continue to
look in that direction because putting together this new
department is going to be very difficult.
Mr. Brown. If I can be so bold as to offer a little further
insight into my thinking, FEMA is in essence being taken lock,
stock, and barrel and placed into the new organization, and I
think because, again--I know I am repeating myself--but because
of our partnership relationships, it is my belief that our
culture, building partnerships and working together, will
probably, in my way of thinking, permeate the new organization.
Senator Bennett. Well, let us hope.
I congratulate you on your nomination. I intend to support
it with great vigor and look forward to working with you. Thank
you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Brown. Thank you, Senator.
Chairman Lieberman. Thank you, Senator Bennett.
Just a couple more questions that have actually come in to
us from others. I received some communications from a member of
the New York City Council, Peter Valone. I know you are aware,
Mr. Brown, that discussions have been going on between FEMA and
the City of New York regarding the City's request for
reimbursement of costs incurred by the police department in
connection with the attacks on the World Trade Center. I just
wonder if you could report to us on the status of those
discussions, if you know them at this point.
Mr. Brown. I can report on that generally and specifically,
Mr. Chairman. We have had ongoing discussions. I have set up
within FEMA a New York Special Task Force that all these
issues, such as the reimbursement for the police, come to. I
have included the Inspector General of FEMA in those
discussions so that whatever decision that we make, the
Inspector General has had a chance to look at our policy
direction that we are going to make sure he is comfortable with
it. We are coordinating all those decisions with the White
House and I think we are very close in terms of New York City
police overtime, of having a mechanism where we can do those
Chairman Lieberman. That is encouraging. I thank you for
that and I know that will mean a lot to folks in New York.
Finally, there has been, as you know, obviously, increased
scrutiny lately on the evacuation plans for nuclear plants.
That is of some significance to us in Connecticut because we
have four nuclear plants, two active and two that are
decommissioned. There has been some concern expressed in
Connecticut about whether the evacuation plans are adequate to
ensure the safety of people living near the plants should there
be an accident or a terrorist attack.
I also note that a member of the New York State Assembly,
Richard Brodsky, has conducted hearings into the adequacy of
the evacuation plans for a particular plant in New York, namely
the Indian Point plant, and has filed a petition asking FEMA to
reconsider and disapprove the evacuation plan which has been in
place since 1996.
As Deputy Director, you will be responsible for considering
the petition, so I wanted to ask you generally how you see your
role in investigating the adequacy of these evacuation plans
for nuclear power plants in the United States.
Mr. Brown. I think my role is a very serious one. I think
the agency's role is a very serious one, that we should not
just wait for someone to petition or request that we evaluate,
that those types of plans should be evaluated on an ongoing
basis. It would be my intent to somehow implement the ongoing
evaluation so we do not have to look in hindsight and say,
gosh, we wish we had looked at that. We should be looking at
that all the time to make sure they are adequate, and I will
pledge to you that we will certainly do that.
Chairman Lieberman. I appreciate that, obviously, from the
point of view of Connecticut. I am not asking for what your
response will be, but do you have any sense of how you will
handle this petition from New York about a review of the Indian
Mr. Brown. In all honesty, I do not. I just received it
Chairman Lieberman. You did?
Mr. Brown < continuing >. When I got back into the States and
I just looked at it for the first time yesterday.
Chairman Lieberman. Understood. We will continue to want to
be in dialogue with you on this, as well, and I appreciate the
commitment that you made to be involved in ongoing review of
these plans because it is obviously critical.
Senator Bunning, do you have any other questions?
Senator Bunning. No, no more questions.
Chairman Lieberman. Mr. Brown, I thank you very much. I
will certainly support your nomination. I will do my best to
move it through the Committee as soon as possible so we can
have you fully and legally at work in your new position. In the
meantime, I thank you very much. I thank your family for their
support of you, and at this point, we will adjourn the hearing.
< Whereupon, at 11:19 a.m., the Committee was adjourned. >
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|understandinglife (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore||Sat Sep-10-05 09:28 PM
Response to Original message
|1. Spoke to staff in both Lieberman and Collins' offices yesterday and ...|
.... told them they would be held accountable by the people. Asked when we could expect solid statements and did not get suitable responses from staff. Senator Collins' staff person seemed concerned, the person from Lieberman's office seemed in denial and fatigued.
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|DELUSIONAL (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore||Sat Sep-10-05 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
|2. San Jose State University -- teaches excellent research skills|
except that the link doesn't work.
I've made a copy -- I note that two of the people on the committee who so kindly rubber stamped bushie's choice for FEMA were targeted in the 2002 election and were replaced with GOPig yes men.
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|Holly_Hobby (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore||Sat Sep-10-05 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
|3. Could Brown be CIA?|
Asking for an educated guess.
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|DU AdBot (1000+ posts)||Sun Nov 19th 2017, 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
|Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)|
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