Brown reassigned. (Photo: Dept. of Homeland Security)
Allen is Coast Guard's third-ranking officer. (Photo: U.S.Coast Guard)

The embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael Brown, has been replaced as the chief of the federal effort to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Sept. 9 that he had "directed Mike Brown to return to administering FEMA nationally...." Chertoff said he had named Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen as the "principal federal official" for the hurricane response.

FEMA, formerly an independent agency, became part of DHS when the new department began operations in 2003.

Allen is the third-ranking officer at the Coast Guard, which was moved to DHS from the Transportation Dept. Allen is the Coast Guard's chief of staff and also commanding officer of its Washington headquarters.

Chertoff said of Brown that "Hurricane Katrina will go down as the largest natural disaster in American history and Mike has done everything he possibly could to coordinate the federal response to this unprecedented challenge."

FEMA, and Brown, have been criticized for not responding faster to the hurricane, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called for Brown's resignation.

Brown, who is DHS under secretary for emergency preparedness and response, previously was FEMA's deputy director and general counsel.

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