According to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security’s 2008 Strategic Plan, they “do not operate in a vacuum”. They were formed to help unify and facilitate our nation’s efforts to respond to emergencies quickly and effectively in order to reduce loss of life and property during crisis. They are our country’s leading disaster management team and should be responsible for organizing a structured disaster relief plan that makes full use of all local and state agency resources.
While they may be improving the existing system, I don’t believe they’ve quite mastered it yet. There still seems to be a slight disconnect between local, state and federal disaster management groups. Incidents like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 demonstrate the imperative need for improved response plans to natural disasters and other emergency situations.