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Senate Debates Nomination of Emergency Management Consultant Brock Long to Head FEMA

by Countable | 6.19.17

On Monday the Senate will vote on the confirmation of Brock Long as Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is under the umbrella of the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS). Long has a long history of administrative positions in state-level emergency management.

The White House offered this statement concerning Long’s nomination:

"Mr. Long has more than 16 years of experience assisting and supporting local, state, and federal governments with building robust emergency management and public health preparedness programs...His areas of expertise include strategic emergency operations planning, exercise, evacuation, school safety, recovery management, and response logistics.”

Who is Brock Long?

Long grew up in North Carolina and received his BS and MPA from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. He also graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School's Executive Leadership Program.

Long’s career in emergency management began in 1999 when he served as the Statewide Planner/School Safety Coordinator for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. He left that post in 2001 and then moved on to FEMA, where he served as Hurricane Program Manager until 2006. That put him at FEMA during the time of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Long left government service for a few years, working for Beck Disaster Recovery, a disaster management and engineering firm. In 2008 he returned to government, heading the Alabama Emergency Management Agency until 2011. In that capacity he developed the state’s plan to deal with the spread of H1N1 influenza. He also served as the Incident Commander for the Alabama Unified Command during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Since 2011 Long has worked as an executive vice president for Hagerty Consulting, an emergency management consulting firm.

His nomination hearings in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee were comparatively smooth. Watch below as Long responds to questions from Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) concerning the importance of incentivizing state pre-disaster mitigation efforts.

What is FEMA?

FEMA has functioned as an independent agency since 1979. It is responsible for coordinating federal response to any disaster that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities. In addition to on-the-ground disaster recovery efforts, the agency provides state and local governments with experts in specialized fields and funding for rebuilding efforts. It also works in concert with the Small Business Administration to help local communities access relief funds for infrastructure through low-interest loans. Finally, FEMA aids local communities in preparedness by providing funds for training of response personnel.

Hurricane season began June 1. Leaders in the meteorological community have been raising concerns that FEMA has been functioning without full leadership, despite Agency assurances that that it is prepared for all eventualities. The other agency intimately involved in federal national disaster efforts is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). There has been no formal nomination to head that agency, though the Washington Post reported in mid-May that Barry Myers, AccuWeather chief executive, was the front-runner for the post.

Do you support the nomination of Brock Long to head FEMA? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

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