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Is There Coercion in Local Emergency Management Policy Implementation?

Sat, September 2, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Westin St. Francis, Hampton


This paper examines policy implementation practices of local emergency management agencies during the Obama administration. Since the September 11 attacks the federal government has enhanced its role in disaster management in a command and control fashion, with a focus on combatting and preventing terrorism. This centralization movement continued under the Obama administration, and this paper tests what spurred local emergency managers to implement federal policy demands that may or may not fall in line with Comprehensive Emergency Management (CEM) practices. The paper hypothesizes that local emergency managers, feeling the pinch of tight budgets, will feel coerced to implement federal policy demands even if they are not aligned with CEM principles. The study uses a survey fielded in the summer of 2016 of local emergency managers from across the country to test an adaptation of the “Communications Model” for policy implementation. The results are also compared with those from a survey at the end of the George W. Bush administration in 2008, where the effects of coercion were found to be limited.