- WASHINGTON (UPI) - The
Emergency Management Agency will recruit and train an army of 400,000
Corps volunteers in medical care and other skills to be at the ready for
the next possible terrorist attack, FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh told
United Press International on Tuesday.
- The plan is to harness the patriotic spirit Americans
feel in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and it reflects new
for FEMA as the agency takes center stage in the war on terrorism with
ramped-up budgets and power in the federal government.
- "Everyone wants to help," Allbaugh told UPI.
"This is a great mechanism for Americans."
- "The idea is that we would have 400,000 new trained
volunteers over the next couple of years."
- FEMA is poised to launch recruitment efforts for the
volunteers and dispense a massive $3.5 billion in grants to local emergency
agencies unveiled in President Bush's new budget proposal.
- In an interview with UPI, Allbaugh for the first time
laid out the scope of the program and the size of the volunteer corps.
He said the role designated for his agency in Bush's 2003 security plan
will virtually transform FEMA and double its budget to $6.5 billion, making
it the go-to agency for helping state and local governments prepare for
terrorist attacks and other emergencies.
- Allbaugh said his agency would absorb the Justice
Office of National Preparedness, and at FEMA this office is already working
on plans to help recruit, train and field the citizen volunteers across
America and dole out grant money to states.
- This would be the largest federally led volunteer effort
since the Air Raid wardens of World War II and will enlist the outpouring
of private citizens anxious to take part in the defense of their
- Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon, this relatively little known agency became key
to Bush's effort to protect Americans against terrorist attack and his
main connection to the heroic "first responders," the
police and emergency technicians, who led the rescues.
- "I work directly for the president of the United
States," Allbaugh explains, "so he has a person, when an incident
takes place, he can pick up the phone and say, 'What is going on? What
are we doing? How are we responding to this?' I am that
- With the new directions ordered by Bush, "We have
an opportunity to become the agency that FEMA can be," Allbaugh said
from his office in southwest Washington. "We can't miss this
- Under Bush's budget proposal released Monday, the agency
will become the sole source of a $3.5 billion flood in grants to state
and local government "first responders" and will oversee the
establishment of a new army of citizen volunteers, designed after the Peace
Corps to be called the Citizen Corps.
- Allbaugh has been for a decade one of the president's
closest advisers, serving Bush as chief of staff when Bush was governor
of Texas and Bush's National Campaign manager during the campaign.
- With his cowboy boots, close-cropped hair and easy-going
style, the native of Oklahoma jokes that he just "doesn't fit in"
in Washington. But his figure became familiar at Ground Zero in New York
and the other hotspots of the terrorist attack.
- In a lengthy interview in his spacious Washington office,
Allbaugh said FEMA was dedicated to a central and expanding role making
sure the country takes whatever steps are necessary to be ready when and
if the next disaster comes.
- "This is just the first step of many steps to
Allbaugh said of Bush's aggressive agenda for FEMA. "We are better
off than we were on Sept. 11. But it is a baby step. We still have a long
way to go."
- Bush has proposed increasing FEMA's budget by 114
Most of that money comes in grants to state and local "first
Allbaugh said Tuesday his agency will actually increase in size relatively
little as he commits his staff to getting that money "out the
to the states.
- "I want to get that money out the door and on the
street and not have it sucked up in government bureaucracy," Allbaugh
- In the rush to revamp Bush's budget in the months after
Sept. 11, Allbaugh acknowledged Tuesday that the agency had not decided
the criteria for doling out the unprecedented funds, but he said giving
state and local governments the utmost flexibility deciding how to use
the money will be the hallmark of the plan.
- The current plan is to send $105 million to states for
planning, $2 billion for equipment, $1.1 billion for training and $245
million on exercises to help get ready for disasters. The agency will try
to move 75 percent to 85 percent of that money to states and local
next fiscal year.
- FEMA would train community leaders like fire officials
and police officers on how to train other volunteers. Those leaders would,
in turn, train other community volunteers in emergency medical care and
- He said that initially the agency will use its training
facility in Emmitsburg, Md., and later may open training centers in other
parts of the country.
- Workers at the Department of Justice will move to FEMA's
Office of National Preparedness to help dole out the grants and manage
Citizen Corps and Allbaugh said FEMA might also receive parts of DOJ's
"Office of Justice Programs" that helps prepare for attacks by
weapons of mass destruction.
- "That, for the time being, is at DOJ," Allbaugh
said. "But there is a possibility it'll move here."
- Horrock is UPI's Chief White House Correspondent and
Benjamin is UPI's Congressional Bureau Chief.
- Copyright © 2002 United Press International. All
- From Kim
- Ah, here it is. The formation of the American SA. I
knew this was coming. Imagine the Feds training 400,000 informants,
SWAT thugs, future death squad members, and general mind controlled robots
to do the bidding of the fascist NWO oligarchs. Unbelievable.