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Calling the Cavalry: Disaster Relief and the American

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This study analyzes the adequacy of the Department of Defense's (DOD) response during natural disasters. The author assesses the historical evolution of DOD operations domestically to establish expectations Americans have during disaster relief efforts. The author concludes that DOD operates domestically as legislated by Congress, but its response at times falls short of A This study analyzes the adequacy of the Department of Defense's (DOD) response during natural disasters. The author assesses the historical evolution of DOD operations domestically to establish expectations Americans have during disaster relief efforts. The author concludes that DOD operates domestically as legislated by Congress, but its response at times falls short of American expectations. To determine why there is a difference between federal laws and American expectations, the writer examines the disasters of Hurricane Andrew and Katrina. The results of this analysis suggest that elites are in a constant struggle for power and control, which sometimes prevents them from making proper decisions during catastrophic events. By providing the historical evolution of federal disaster relief and coupling this with elites desire for power, the author illustrates why the United States must improve existing federal disaster laws. In the final section, the thesis concludes with recommendations on how to improve federal disaster laws, with a focus on increased DOD involvement and improved manning for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).


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This study analyzes the adequacy of the Department of Defense's (DOD) response during natural disasters. The author assesses the historical evolution of DOD operations domestically to establish expectations Americans have during disaster relief efforts. The author concludes that DOD operates domestically as legislated by Congress, but its response at times falls short of A This study analyzes the adequacy of the Department of Defense's (DOD) response during natural disasters. The author assesses the historical evolution of DOD operations domestically to establish expectations Americans have during disaster relief efforts. The author concludes that DOD operates domestically as legislated by Congress, but its response at times falls short of American expectations. To determine why there is a difference between federal laws and American expectations, the writer examines the disasters of Hurricane Andrew and Katrina. The results of this analysis suggest that elites are in a constant struggle for power and control, which sometimes prevents them from making proper decisions during catastrophic events. By providing the historical evolution of federal disaster relief and coupling this with elites desire for power, the author illustrates why the United States must improve existing federal disaster laws. In the final section, the thesis concludes with recommendations on how to improve federal disaster laws, with a focus on increased DOD involvement and improved manning for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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