Statutory authority is critical to any emergency management system. The Stafford Act in the United States clearly establishes the authority for FEMA operations. It establishes the agency’s principal mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery programs and their eligibility requirements. It provides FEMA will the legal authority to function inside the Federal government and in partnership with State and local emergency management agencies.
The authority would be meaningless without the budget appropriation provided to FEMA annually by the U.S. Congress. The regular appropriation of funds ensures that FEMA can fund its programs and activities as well as reimburse its Federal, State and local partners for actions taken as part of the Federal Response Plan. Regular and consistent budget appropriations have ensured that FEMA programs and activities are conducted efficiently and effectively.
No emergency management system anywhere in the world can properly function without statutory authority and consistent budget appropriations. Both must be in place for the system to function properly. In many countries throughout the world, statutory authority for an emergency management system is in place but regular and consistent budget appropriations are not. A successful emergency management system cannot have one or the other; it must have both statutory authority and regular budget appropriations to sustain operational consistency.