America’s Natural Disaster Response Is Its Own Disaster

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

For two decades, the Pentagon operated under a simple doctrine: We must always be able to fight two wars at once. But in 2009, the Pentagon started to rethink its strategy. Since 9/11, the nature of world conflict had changed; the military needed to be able to fight more than two wars, and to be prepared for unconventional threats. “We have learned through painful experience that the wars we fight are seldom the wars that we planned,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at the time.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is likely facing a similar realization. Three unique, major hurricanes have hit three distinct, major metropolitan areas—and the damage was far more extensive than had been planned for. “This