From "Ask the Secretary":
What can you tell me about making emergency management a profession? One major hurdle is a lack of entry-level positions and a clear pathway for pursuing a career.
Gail Torosian: What can you tell me about DHS's role in making emergency management a profession? One of the major hurdles seems to be a lack of entry-level positions and a clear pathway for pursuing a career for those who are interested. Experience is the next major hurdle. I can choose how to gain education through classes but have little opportunity how to gain experience. Choosing exercises as an opportunity or to train as a subject matter expert would strengthen the nation by expanding resources to support states, tribes and local governments. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Secretary Napolitano: Gail, I think we have demonstrated that emergency management is a real profession. FEMA has done remarkable work over the last four years under Craig Fugate's leadership -- Rich Serino, Tim Manning, the entire leadership team at FEMA -- I'm out in the field a lot, particularly in the aftermath of a disaster. I see our people out there as the federal coordinating officers, head of the joint field offices, working in the NRCC, and you can tell the difference that professionalism makes. We know what to anticipate, what to plan, how to move material, how to deal with logistics, how to properly apply the Stafford Act in a way that leans forward and works as a team with state and localities to respond and recover from disasters.
We will continue to work with educational institutions with respect to what makes a good emergency manager, what helps the profession. We will continue to look for those who are professionals in the field to be leaders within the department in this regard. We will continue to offer training programs and training opportunities for thosewho want to come to the department and work in the emergency management field. So this is an area where i think we lead the country and people all over the place have benefited as a result.