Policy Dominance versus Policy Success: Homeland Security and the Limits of Presidential Policy Control
Among the political and policy consequences of the September 11 attacks was the decision to significantly restructure the basic architecture of the emergency and disaster management system in the United States. The most readily visible manifestation of that decision was a massive bureaucratic reorganization producing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). More important than the act of combining the various units that make up DHS1 was what its creation meant for emergency management and disaster policies and practices. After 9/11, terrorism was elevated to focal point status in the all-hazards management2 approach to dealing with emergencies. Doing so shifted the fundamental locus of policy decision making on such issues. Emergency management in the United States historically is characterized by highly decentralized networks of state and local policy systems. In that context, making terrorism the primary motivator for future policymaking represented a major departure because it allowed the federal government to take on a much greater role in defining specific action priorities for state and local governments.
KeywordsEmergency Management Local Official Policy Success Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency
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