Master in Management for Public Safety and Homeland Security Professionals Master's Projects

Document Type



The sharing of power and responsibilities between the individual states and the federal government is detailed in the US Constitution and is called federalism. Research has indicated that the shift of power between the states and federal government has waxed and waned over the last 236 years. This qualitative study is based upon literature review of the relationships of local, state, and federal governments in responding to catastrophes. Each level of government brings unique capabilities to the response to catastrophic events. There is no need to usurp federalism in order to survive the next catastrophe; it is going to take all levels of government working together in a collaborative fashion. The aim of this study is to influence policy makers to take a more balanced approach to the roles of local, state, and federal governments in emergency management.

In the past two decades, the United States and its citizens have experienced several natural and man-made (terrorist) disasters. Devastating in their own right, each disaster has led members of society to question the capability of local, state, and federal officials. The economic climate in the United States has placed emergency management efforts and the progress made over the past few years in jeopardy. Significant budget cuts and limited funding provide many challenges to continue the progress in making communities safe, less vulnerable, and resilient in regards to disasters and catastrophic emergencies. This thesis proposes the use of increased collaborative arrangements, greater accountability, and the use of performance measures as ways to achieve greater efficiency to maximize emergency management efforts under budget constraints.

A better understanding of emergency plans and the effect it has had on varying levels of society will enable civic leaders an opportunity to improve existing emergency plans and reduce the potential for loss of life. Preparing civilians has more impact on the psychological well-being of the nation than being rescued by emergency services; and preparing civilian‘s increases community resiliency at a faster rate than preparing response personnel.