The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 23, 2006

Fact Sheet: The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned

      The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned

Today, The Administration Released Its Review Of The Federal Response To Hurricane Katrina. The President's charge to evaluate the Federal government's response to the storm resulted in the report and recommendations released today by the Administration, The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned. The product of an extensive review, led by the President's Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend, the Report identifies deficiencies in the Federal government's response and lays the groundwork for transforming how the Nation - from every level of government, to the private sector, to individual citizens and communities - pursues a real and lasting vision of emergency preparedness and response.

The Lessons Learned Report Assesses The Federal Response, Identifies Lessons Learned, And Recommends Appropriate Corrective Actions. The Report identifies the systemic problems in Federal emergency preparedness and response revealed by Hurricane Katrina - and the best solutions to address them. Where actions at the State and local level had bearing on Federal decisions or operations, they are included in order to provide full context. The Lessons Learned report includes:

The President's Charge: The Government Will Learn The Lessons Of Hurricane Katrina

President Bush Ordered A Comprehensive Review Of The Federal Response To Hurricane Katrina. In his September 15, 2005, address to the Nation from Jackson Square in New Orleans, the President made clear that the Federal government would learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina so we as a Nation can make the necessary changes to be "better prepared for any challenge of nature, or act of evil men, that could threaten our people."

Hurricane Katrina Was A Deadly Reminder That We Can And Must Do Better In Responding To Emergencies. Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent sustained flooding of New Orleans exposed significant flaws in our national preparedness for catastrophic events and our capacity to respond to them. Emergency plans at all levels of government - including the 600-page National Response Plan that set forth the Federal government's plan to coordinate all its departments and agencies and integrate them with State, local, and private sector partners - were put to the test and came up short.

The Federal Response To Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned

We Are Not As Prepared As We Need To Be At All Levels: Federal, State, Local, Community, And Individual. Hurricane Katrina obligates us to re-examine how the Federal government is organized to address the full range of potential catastrophic events - both natural and man-made.

Hurricane Katrina And Its Aftermath Provide Us With The Imperative To Design And Build A Unified System. The Lessons Learned Report confirms the imperative of integrating and synchronizing the Nation's homeland security policies, strategies, and plans across Federal, State, and local governments, as well as the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), faith-based groups, communities, and individual citizens. To achieve this, the Report identifies three immediate priorities:

Transforming The Federal Response To Future Emergencies

Acting On The Recommendations In The Lessons Learned Report Will Enable The Federal Government To Respond To Natural And Man-Made Disasters More Effectively And Efficiently. The lessons of Hurricane Katrina cannot be learned and put into action without change. As the Federal government works to implement the near-term critical activities and 125 recommendations, State and local governments, the private sector, NGOs, faith-based and community organizations, the media, communities, and individuals should undertake a review of their respective roles and responsibilities in preparing for and responding to catastrophic events.

Together, We Will Strengthen Our Ability To Prepare For, Protect Against, Respond To, And Recover From Catastrophic Events. The lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and the recommendations set forth in today's Report will yield preparedness dividends that transcend Federal, State and local boundaries. Their full implementation will help the entire Nation achieve a shared commitment to preparedness.

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