Reports have surfaced recently of the Federal Emergency Management Agency working closely with the Russian government to cross-train and share resources in efforts to build a stronger response to catastrophic world disasters. The article attached came from a very conservatively biased article that uses this partnership to attack the current U.S. leadership. However, taking the political conversation out of the picture, this cases is a perfect example to examine the project management capacities of the United States and Russia.
According to the article, the partnership includes “exchanging of ‘experts’ and ‘experience,’ ‘provision of security at mass events,’ and ‘cooperation in disaster response operations.'”
While to this day there are still several political disputes between the U.S. and Russia, there are also several glimmers of hope. Both of these countries have, over the years been a part of some of the largest projects ever managed by a world government. In perhaps one of the largest projects of all time, the Space Race captured the attention of the world. As both countries raced to see which nation would land a man on the moon first, the Soviets and Americans sprung forward in innovation and technology until the US landed on the Moon in 1969.
In a free-market, technology and innovation are rewarded, but attacks on innovation seems to create hostility that only hinders the forward human progress. A book entitled Macrowikinomics by Tapscott and Williams underlines this idea in its entirety. Having read Macrowikinomics, I have to disagree with the author’s thrashing of our current administration for partnering with Russia in terms of Emergency Management and other humanitarian causes that have partnered with Russia under the Obama Administration.
While I don’t believe Russia is a nation that can fully be trusted due to a complicated political history between the United States and Russia, the forward progress of humanity can benefit from the best minds in any nations collaborating to bring new technologies and techniques to solving some of the most difficult mysteries known to man, and in FEMA’s case, to solve some of the most challenging projects we face as a society.
While the Space Race was something that each country handled their own ways, a full collaboration would have likely brought humanity to the moon sooner than 1969. The same is true with the project management involved in deploying a team to help a natural disaster recovery. Sometimes response time is crucial, and creating partnerships to help with the aid can be the difference between life or death.
In closing, the author mentions that this partnership isn’t a popular one, but I believe if both countries proceed cautiously, they will both benefit from it.