With an above average hurricane season predicted, the lack of leadership at two agencies responsible for protecting the United States' coast lines should be a sobering thought, said a widely admired general who led the military’s response to Hurricane Katrina.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which runs the National Hurricane Center, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are both without leaders. Those positions must be appointed by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, CNN reported.
“That should scare the hell out of everybody,” retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré told CNN. “These positions help save lives.”
Honoré, who served as commander of Joint Task Force Katrina and coordinated military relief efforts, told CNN that the disaster proved “how important leadership was.”
“If someone is slow in making decisions it can be costly – imaging having no one at all,” Honoré told CNN, referring to the much-criticized role of former FEMA director Mike Brown in the aftermath of Katrina.
The National Hurricane Center has predicted an above average 2017 season with up to 17 named Atlantic storms through November. Of those, five to nine could strengthen into hurricanes and two to four could become "major" storms of Category 3 or higher.
Trump appointed former Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long to lead FEMA in late April, but the Senate has not yet confirmed the selection, CNN reported. Trump has not appointed anyone to the NOAA position.