Emergency Managers endorse removing FEMA from DHS

From CQ Politics:

The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), a prominent association of emergency managers, is recommending that the Obama administration pull the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) out of the Homeland Security Department and restore its leader to cabinet level status.  Larry J. Gispert, president of IAEM said this has been the IAEM’s “informal position all along,” but the board of directors formalized the stance at the group’s annual meeting this week.

“They have an opportunity with the change of administration to . . . do it right, which is to have FEMA be a stand-alone agency reporting directly to the president and the administrator of FEMA sitting in the cabinet,” Gispert said. “That’s the James Lee Witt model.”  During the Clinton administration, FEMA Administrator James Lee Witt met with the cabinet. His successor in the Bush administration, Joe M. Allbaugh, did not.

Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, endorsed the idea.  But House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) says FEMA should stay where it is.  Obama’s transition team declined to comment for this story.

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Likely candidates for the next Homeland Security Secretary

CQ Politics considers who the most likely Cabinet picks will be for both McCain and Obama.

The people cited as possible Secretary of Homeland Security are:

For McCain:

  • Frank Keating, CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers.
    • Experience: 2-term Governor of Oklahoma, head of Secret Service, head of Customs, head of INS, FBI agent, state and federal prosecutor.
  • Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts
    • Experience: Governor of Massachusetts, CEO of the Salt Lake City winter Olympics, CEO of Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm, 3rd ranked 2008 Republican Presidential hopeful.
  • Robert C. Bonner, Partner at law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher
    • Experience: Head of customs, head of DEA, federal prosecutor, and federal judge.

For Obama:

  • James Lee Witt, CEO of his own consulting firm
    • Experience: FEMA director and reformer under Clinton
  • Raymond W. Kelly, New York City Police Commissioner
    • Experience: NYC Police Commissioner during first World Trade Center bombing, Undersecretary of Treasury for Enforcement, Head of Customs under Clinton, credited with making the NYPD counterterrorism division one of the best in the world.
  • Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona
    • Experience: Arizona chief federal prosecutor, Arizona Attorney General, led Arizona to develop first Homeland Security strategy of any state
    • Update 10/18: See also this article in the Phoenix Business Journal

For more qualifications and expected focus of each possible candidate, read the full article.