[JURIST] A US Senate panel conducting an investigation into the federal response to Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] has concluded that the Federal Emergency Management Agency [official website] should be abolished and replaced with a new federal agency [recommendations, PDF] with more authority over emergency preparedness. The bipartisan panel recommended 86 changes, including the creation of the National Preparedness and Response Authority, which would be part of the Department of Homeland Security [official website], but with increased congressional oversight over funding and staffing. Some members of the Department of Homeland Security and former FEMA chief Michael Brown [Wikipedia profile], forced to step down over his handling of Katrina, were critical of the suggested change as merely bureaucratic reshuffling.
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs [official website] conducted the bipartisan investigation [committee hearings]. A White House report [JURIST report] on Katrina called for an increased role for the military in cases of national emergency. AP has more.