The highly-charged public criticism of FEMA during and after Katrina provided an impetus for FEMA leaders to scrutinize their response and apply lessons learned to future crises. A USA Today article indicates that FEMA has learned from Katrina. Glenn Cannon, FEMA assistant administrator for disaster operations states:
"The lessons we learned from Katrina we've taken very seriously. We've changed the way we do business. We don't wait to react."
As we heard at the Crisis Leadership Forum on Hurricane Katrina, there is a need for greater decentralization of relief efforts. This was articulated by Colonel Tom Kolditz at the Forum who stated “Disasters push the operational focus [down to the grassroots level]. It is the same in military operations—the faster the tempo and the higher the danger, the more decentralization is necessary.”
This shift occurred in FEMA’s response to the floods as noted by Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill:
"I think they've made a world of improvement both in terms of their preparedness and in terms of their attitude. My sense is they are no longer thinking they can deliver disaster relief from a cubicle in Virginia and are fully engaged on the ground."