Corwin, on Sep 5 2005, 11:36 PM, said:
Tell it to DHS. It's their website, their mandate and they seem to believe differently than you. For example, from their page on coordinating with local governments:
Emphasis on Local Response
All incidents are handled at the lowest possible organizational and jurisdictional level. Police, fire, public health and medical, emergency management, and other personnel are responsible for incident management at the local level. For those events that rise to the level of an Incident of National Significance --
-- and remember, as per the quote above, that a "catastrophic event" such as Katrina is indeed an "Incident of National Significance" --
-- the Department of Homeland Security provides operational and/or resource coordination for Federal support to on-scene incident command structures.
This is repeated through the NRP: under such circumstances when local resources are "overwhelmed" and the Governor calls for aid, the Feds take the lion's share:
When an incident or potential incident is of such severity, magnitude and/or complexity that it is considered an Incident of National Significance according to the criteria established in this plan, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with other Federal departments and agencies, initiates actions to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the incident. These actions are taken in conjunction with State, local, tribal, nongovernmental and private-sector entities as appropriate to the incident. In the context of Stafford Act disasters or emergencies, DHS coordinates supplemental Federal assistance when the consequences of the incident exceed State, local or tribal capabilities.
I was going to write more but hilzoy, to whom all must genuflect, has far and away beaten me to it.
See page 4 of the NRP base plan (it's page 22 of the PDF) on the DHS website for a precise listing of how the Feds are now allowed to be called in. Long story short: one of them is when "the resources of State and local authorities are overwhelmed and Federal assistance has been requested by the appropriate State and local authorities", which Governor Blanco indeed did on 27th August.*