What if Hurricane Katrina Hit in 2020? The Need for Strategic Management of Disasters

Authors


Michael McGuire is a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Bloomington. His current research examines collaborative leadership in the public and nonprofit sectors.
E-mail:mcguirem@indiana.edu

Debra Schneck is a doctoral student in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Bloomington.
E-mail:dschneck@indiana.edu

Abstract

What would another Hurricane Katrina bring in 2020? Is government at all levels ready for such an event? This essay argues that learning to manage actions supporting disaster response and recovery operations consistently and effectively requires strategic, not reactive, thinking. It adopts a framework based in issues focused thinking, externally focused management, and opportunity-seeking behavior to examine the complex mix of individuals, organizations, and actions involved in response and recovery. The authors conclude that strides have been made since Katrina, but the development of greater strategic capacity is a necessary prerequisite to effective disaster management in the future.

Wise and fortunate indeed is that community that has so analyzed its problems and needs, and has so prepared to make use of catastrophe should it come by plans for carrying out programs of improvements, that the aftermath of tragedy finds its victims as well cared for as humanly possible and in addition some tangible new advance in the equipment and life of the community.

—John Gaus, 1947

Ancillary