The Rise of the National Security State: FEMA and the NSC
by Diana Reynolds
THE FALL OF FEMA
Smith's letter signaled what seemed to be the beginning of the end for
FEMA and Reagan's Emergency Mobilization Preparedness Board. Federal Bureau
of Investigation Director William Webster had previously complained when
FEMA's Director of Civil Security, General Salcedo, had intruded into the
FBI's domestic intelligence jurisdiction under the rubric of counter terrorism.
Salcedo was forced to turn over to Webster some 12,000 names he had been
compiling on a list of potential threats to civil security.
Furthermore, it came to light that while FEMA had been expending the
lion's share of its energy and funding on building a civil security infrastructure,
it had neglected its authorized civil defense role. On June 15, 1984,
barely a month after Giuffrida filed his glowing accomplishment report
with Meese, Robert Guffus, Inspector General of FEMA, wrote a draft report
on FEMA's Comprehensive Cooperative Agreements (CCA) (with states) in
civil defense preparedness.
He concluded that management actions were needed to improve the effectiveness
of programs with state and local governments. In his review of the CCAs
he found inadequate FEMA management control, imprecise program guidelines
and a lack of personnel resources.
Programmatic and financial weaknesses were a result of fiscal mis-management,
unclear assignment of responsibilities, overlapping job descriptions,
inflated training figures, and lack of written procedures.
McFarlane removed North from the EMPB and assigned him to help with
conducting unconventional warfare in Nicaragua. Giuffrida resigned in
1985 after a House subcommittee charged that FEMA was being mismanaged,
and it was publicized that Giuffrida had staffed FEMA with his military/police
cronies and had allowed $170,000 of agency funds to be used to outfit
a deluxe bachelor pad at the Civil Defense Training Academy at Emmitsburg.
He now operates a security consulting firm in Washington, D.C. General
Salcedo has moved on to be Presidential Liaison to Veterans Organizations
at the Veterans Administration. There is some debate about what happened
to the plans for a civil security emergency. There was a rumored joint
investigation conducted by the Defense Department and the CIA into the
unconstitutionality of planning for a civil security emergency by several
government agencies. Supposedly, the two investigators, Special Forces
Lt. Colonel Kvererdas and the CIA's William Buckley, prior to his fatal
Beirut assignment, destroyed the plans and the exercise data.
Some believe that much of the planning was incorporated into Vice President
Bush's Report from his Task Force on Combatting Terrorism which has inspired
civil security contingency planning at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
Service by an Alien Border Control (ABC) Committee. The working group
within the INS was designing plans and programs regarding the control
and removal of alien terrorists, potential terrorist aliens and those "who
are likely to be supportive of terrorist activity within the U.S."
The most obvious resting place for the material is the National Security
Council. In 1987, Reagan signed another NSDD, number 259, which superseded
both NSDD 26, the secret civil defense plan of February 25, 1982 and
the unclassified version dated March 16, 1982. Even though the 1987 version
is shorter and more vague than its predecessors, no significant changes
are evident in civil defense planning and programs from the 1984 EMPB
Just before he left office, Reagan signed Executive Order 12656 which
assigned new emergency preparedness responsibilities. Reagan's final
national security legacy to civil defense planning puts the NSC clearly
in charge. In Section 104, EO 12656 states that the NSC is the principal
forum for consideration of national security emergency preparedness policy
and will arrange for Executive branch liaison with, and assistance to,
the Congress and the Federal judiciary on national security emergency
The Director of FEMA has now been promoted to advisor to the NSC on
mobilization preparedness, civil defense, continuity of government, technological
disasters, "and other issues, as appropriate." The Director
of FEMA is also authorized to assist in the implementation of national
security emergency preparedness policy by coordinating federal departments
and agencies; as well as state and local governments. The exercise program
is to continue and plans and procedures "will be designed and developed
to provide maximum flexibility to the President for his implementation
of emergency actions."
On the same day that Reagan signed EO 12656 he also signed the Anti-Drug
Abuse Act of 1988 which provided yet another in a series of get-tough-but-do-nothing
drug policies produced by the Reagan Administration. If and when the
Anti-Drug Abuse Act fails--a victim of underfunding and bureaucratic
in-fighting--then Executive Order 12656 could become an historic document
in the war on drugs.
1. A STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY
2. CIVIL SECURITY PLANNING
3. MILITARY RULE
4. THE FALL OF FEMA
5. THE NATIONAL SECURITY STATE AND THE DRUG WAR
6. ODDS & ENDNOTES
Ok to Download, No Printing or Copying :