Today FEMA released “The State of FEMA” as an overview of FEMA’s vision and strategy (with a lot of Whole Community approach). It’s a smart idea, especially since (as the report quickly mentions) FEMA responded to more disasters in 2011 than ever before (98 major disaster declarations, 26 emergency declarations, and 112 fire management assistance grant (FMAG) declarations). There’s no doubt FEMA has been undergoing a profound transformation under Mr. Fugate and it’s pretty impressive. Among all else, Mr. Fugate has transitioned FEMA from a federal response to a NATIONAL response (with national planning/preparedness and prevention/protection efforts now in full swing).

Highlights include

  • National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDFR) released
  • National Mass Care Strategy developed
  • FEMA Qualification System implementation
  • Establishment of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-8 Program Executive Office (PEO)
  • FEMA helped train more than 428,000 individuals as part of the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) program. Overall, more than 1.3 million CERT volunteer hours were recorded in 2011
  • Emergency Alert System was tested nationally for the first time

The document even provides explanation of FEMA’s guiding principles, the FEMA culture, and strategic priorities (particularly impressive when the document routinely makes statements like “In 2012, FEMA will…”). It’s rare in government to see such assertive (or as FEMA and MSNBC puts it “forward leaning”) statements.

More than ever before, FEMA is emphasizing comprehensive emergency management that includes community members. The document pretty much mentions community engagement efforts on every page. But it’s not just anecdotes, FEMA uses hard data to explain the amount of funding and response efforts across the nation (see map below). The document provides data about training, program implementation, and even mitigation and IPAWS.

This document does an excellent job of explaining what FEMA is doing, how it is doing it, what the results have been, and exactly what FEMA plans to do in 2012. The military talks about transformation quite a bit, but I couldn’t be more impressed by the transformation occurring at FEMA–especially during a year with the most disasters on record. It’s an extraordinary time at FEMA now and I have no doubt it’s to the benefit of Americans now, but also for future generations.