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Federal Emergency Management Agency Remarks Announcing Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978.

June 19, 1978

I have an important announcement to make this afternoon concerning how we might make our own Government better able to deal with the potential disasters that affect our Nation from both natural and manmade causes.

Responsibility for emergency preparedness concerning civil disasters rests primarily with the State governments. But obviously the Federal Government can and does assist in preparing for and dealing with the effects of natural and manmade disasters.

When I was Governor, I saw during several emergencies, several each year, how important it was for governments to cooperate in crisis situations. And I want to be certain that this ability to work together is increasingly clear and unobstructed. One of the problems that State and local officials have had to face is the complexity and confusion and the fragmented nature of Federal programs. The Governors-have been vocal and unanimous in calling for reorganization.

Today, I'm submitting to Congress a proposal which meets their needs. It will consolidate five existing Federal agencies and six additional disaster-related responsibilities into a single structure. They will merge programs involved with preparedness, mitigation, and response to national emergencies.

We've been trying to accomplish several very important objectives. We want to make a single agency responsible for these efforts. This will make government more accountable and will provide increased cooperation among governments.

We also want to use emergency resources for both natural disasters and civil preparedness. This will reduce waste and inefficiency in government operations. We want to bring together for the first time programs aimed at preventing and mitigating the effects of potential national disasters, such as floods and fire, with those designated to deal with these disasters once they occur.

By consolidating emergency functions into a single agency, reporting directly to me, we will make our readiness programs more visible, and we can integrate these better with programs of the States and local governments, with private industry, and with volunteer organizations.

The Secretary of Defense, acting with the National Security Council, will provide oversight of the new agency's civil defense programs and policies. I'm pleased that we've already received endorsements for this reorganization proposal from the National Governors Association, the Fire Service Associations, the United States Civil Defense Council, the National Association of State Directors for Disaster Preparedness, as well as a coalition of voluntary associations active in disaster relief.

With this broad support from public and private sectors, I hope that our plan will be enthusiastically received by the Congress.

Thank you very much.


REPORTER. Mr. President, are you a strong believer in civil defense now?

THE PRESIDENT. Now and before.

Note: The President spoke at 1:15 p.m. to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House. Following his remarks, James T. Mcintyre, Jr., Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Bardyl Tirana, Director of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, held a news conference on the reorganization plan.

Jimmy Carter, Federal Emergency Management Agency Remarks Announcing Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248788

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