WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., and Disaster Response Subcommittee Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., commended the Department of Homeland Security Tuesday for completing its National Response Framework (NRF) to guide government agencies through the response to a natural or man made disaster.

The framework is the successor to the National Response Plan which proved inadequate for the response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Senators Lieberman, Collins, and Landrieu provided comment on an earlier draft of the NRF in October:

“I am pleased DHS consulted with state and local stakeholders to produce a comprehensive and coherent plan for responding to disasters of all sorts when they occur,” Lieberman said. “And I am particularly pleased the final National Response Framework, unlike an earlier draft, recognizes the larger role the Post-Katrina Act gave to the FEMA Administrator for emergency management. But this is still just a framework. The success of the plan will depend on the operational plans FEMA develops as well as successful exercising, training, and implementation of the plan. So, we still have a long way to go before we are fully prepared.”

“The Department has taken seriously many of the comments that I made along with Senators Lieberman and Landrieu in response to the draft version of the National Response Framework (NRF) released in September,” Collins said. “I was particularly concerned that the draft version failed to take fully into account changes we made to strengthen the role of FEMA and its Administrator in the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006. The revised NRF now acknowledges that the FEMA Administrator serves as the principal advisor to the President on emergency management. It also clarifies the distinct roles of the Principal Federal Official, the Federal Coordinating Officer and the State Coordinating Officer. The Department plans to periodically update the supporting annexes for the NRF, and we will be following this effort since these annexes provide key operational guidance to the country’s emergency managers and first responders at the state, tribal and local level.”

“The National Response Framework is a step in the right direction as we work to better prepare for future disasters, be they natural or manmade. We still have a lot of work left to do before the federal government moves beyond the planning stage and can respond quickly and effectively to a catastrophic disaster on the scale of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” said Landrieu. “As chair of the Disaster Recovery Subcommittee with jurisdiction over federal recovery efforts, I will work with Senators Lieberman and Collins and our other Senate colleagues on the implementation of the NRF and the drastic FEMA and Stafford Act reform our nation so desperately requires.”