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Collaboration Amid Crisis: The Department of Defense During Hurricane Katrina

Donald P. Moynihan (University of Madison-Wisconsin)

November 2010


This case concentrates on the relationship between FEMA, the chief coordinator of federal efforts to respond to Hurricane Katrina, and the most powerful, single actor that FEMA can call upon, the Department of Defense. It is worth noting that the goal of the case is not to offer a comprehensive explanation of the failures in governmental response to Hurricane Katrina. Such an analysis should properly incorporate many other factors, such as the decline in the capacity and influence of FEMA during the Bush administration, the impact of the creation of the DHS, and the complexities of inter-governmental collaboration (some of which are touched on in the conclusion of this note). Instead, the goal of the case is to understand just one relationship, albeit a critical one, in the broader Katrina response, and ultimately to understand the potential for collaboration in emergency conditions. 

400 Eggers Hall