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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, two of the most powerful storms in history, devastated the Gulf Coast region in 2005. These natural disasters not only destroyed lives, neighborhoods and communities but also challenged the local, state and federal governments' emergency response infrastructure. To learn from these events and the government's response to them, The George Washington University School of Public Policy and Public Administration (SPPPA) held a symposium on December 2, 2005, which featured the following keynote address by then Vice Admiral Thad Allen, the principal federal official managing the federal government's response efforts to Hurricane Katrina. In his speech, Admiral Allen described his own efforts and the federal government's efforts to respond to the hurricanes in a timely and efficient manner. For the audience, the chance to hear Admiral Allen – who spoke from the Gulf Coast region via remote technology – provided an opportunity to hear an in-person, first-hand account of the value of public administration.

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