Set-up, Management, and Operations of FEMA

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FEMA was established by a Congressional Act in 1803. However, following President Jimmy Carter's Executive Order of 1979, the agency became independent (Map, 2015). The Executive Order was part of the "Reorganizational Plan No. 3" of 1978. FEMA is a component of President Carter's July 1979 Executive Order 12148, which granted the agency jurisdiction over disaster relief efforts.

FEMA's purpose is based on providing equal help and support to all American citizens and first responders in emergency and catastrophe situations (Sylves, 2014). FEMA mission further enforces on the need for the nation to rise and work in unison to ensure the people improve, sustain, and build the nation’s ability to anticipate for, guard against, recover from, and alleviate against all hazards.

Organizational Structure

FEMA is among the primary agencies housed under the US Department of Homeland Security(Kapucu & Garayev, 2013). FEMA has a similar organizational structure as other federal agency for efficiency in performance of duties. An Administrator heads FEMA who is assisted by a Deputy Administrator(Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017). Next in line is the offices of the Chief of Staff, National Continuity Programs Assistant Administrator and the Office of Chief of Counsel. The departments in the agency include the Office of Policy, Office of Strategic Planning and Evaluation, Office of Regional Operations, and NLMS integration Center(Kapucu & Hu, 2016).


FEMA is tasked with several responsibilities as a national agency. First is the role of declaration and giving official disaster status in case of such calamities(Koch, Franco, O’Sullivan, DeFino, & Ahmed, 2017). Another duty performed by FEMA is working with communities and coordinating the operations based on their “developed action plans.” FEMA has the responsibility of coordinating disaster relief efforts by bringing together all agencies involved and delegating duties accordingly(Scott, 2014). Also, FEMA is tasked with the role of creating “disaster preparedness programs” and identification of potential disaster spots.


Haddow, G., Bullock, J., & Coppola, D. P. (2017). Introduction to emergency management. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Kapucu, N., & Garayev, V. (2013). Designing, managing, and sustaining functionally collaborative emergency management networks. The American Review of Public Administration, 43(3), 312–330.

Kapucu, N., & Hu, Q. (2016). Understanding multiplexity of collaborative emergency management networks. The American Review of Public Administration, 46(4), 399–417.

Koch, H., Franco, Z. E., O’Sullivan, T., DeFino, M. C., & Ahmed, S. (2017). Community views of the federal emergency management agency’s “whole community” strategy in a complex US City: Re-envisioning societal resilience. Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

Map, A. F. I. R. (2015). Federal Emergency Management Agency. For Corporate and Unincorporated Areas in Each County, the Maps Show The.

Scott, G. (2014). Improving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Reserve Component Support to Natural Disasters. National Defense University, Joint Forces Staff College, Joint Advanced Warfighting School.

Sylves, R. (2014). Disaster policy and politics: Emergency management and homeland security. CQ Press.

May 02, 2023

Government History

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