The fire service got some of what it wanted when politicians and members of the Bush administration discussed with them the direction and future of the service. Members had gathered in Washington, D.C. for the CFSI dinner with the Vice President as keynote speaker, and a presentation of prestigious awards.
At the invitation of the White House, three key administration members spoke to a group of about 100, describing the focus of the administration toward the fire service. Dave Paulison, USFA Administrator, Richard Falkenrath, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, and Sue Mencer, Director of the Office of Domestic Preparedness.
It was Falkenrath and Mencer who emphasized that the fire service should expect terrorism to be the bottom line when the administration talks about first responders. Falkenrath reiterated that his boss calls himself "a war president". And Mencer said the focus at ODP is weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
With the administration