Hurricane Katrina: Lessons for Army Planning and Operations

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Rand Corporation, 2007 - Social Science - 87 pages
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Hurricane Katrina was a catastrophic domestic emergency that, in its deaths and destruction, had many of the possible characteristics of future terrorist attacks, especially those that could occur simultaneously in different parts of the United States or involve the use of weapons of mass destruction. It thus provides a case study that helps further our understanding of the problems that can arise during the nation's response to such an event. Such a case study will also help to determine how the United States might better prepare to respond to future catastrophic domestic emergencies. The efforts undertaken by civilian and military organizations in response to Hurricane Katrina were historically unprecedented. But, as the many "lessons-learned" reports generated to date have documented, the response was tragically inadequate. Having researched what happened, the authors focused their analysis on the problems that affected the outcome of the response to Hurricane Katrina in a major way. The single most important problem was the speed with which the nation's local, state, and federal civilian organizations were overwhelmed. However, problems also were evident with the military response in the critical first few days of the disaster, problems that contributed to delays in evacuation and in accomplishing search and rescue operations throughout the storm-ravaged areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. The lessons-learned reports focus on the time it took for both the National Guard and active land forces to arrive in the region. Another problem in the military's response to Hurricane Katrina highlighted in the reports is the lack of a unified command and control (C2) structure, specifically the separation of the command structures for operations involving both National Guard and active-duty forces. The authors present recommendations for improving the Army's response to future catastrophic domestic emergencies.

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Chapter One Introduction
Chapter Two Background
Chapter Three The Military Response to Hurricane Katrina
Chapter Four Implications for Army Planning and Operations
Chapter Five Conclusions

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About the author (2007)

Gary Cecchine (Georgia Institute of Technology Ph.D., Biology) is a natural scientist, policy analyst at RAND.

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