Nominee for deputy FEMA head Joseph Nimmich testifies at Senate panel

Joseph Nimmich, President Barack Obama's nominee for the deputy administrator post at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, testified on Thursday in front of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Nimmich cited his more than three decades as a U.S. Coast Guard officer as part of his qualifications for the job at FEMA.

"When in command you must be able to rapidly and correctly assess any situation and effectively make critical decisions," Nimmich said. "My experience in the Coast Guard helped me develop quick decision-making ability, based on the best information available, that I continue to use to achieve FEMA's mission in support of disaster survivors."

Nimmich also discussed his tenure over the past year as FEMA's associate administrator for response and recovery. The nominee oversaw disaster responses in Alaska, Colorado and Oklahoma in that role.

Nimmich identified a threefold focus area if he was confirmed as deputy administrator: steadying FEMA's disaster workforce, stabilizing FEMA's policies and developing data analytics to support the agency's decision making.

"It is my hope that if I am confirmed, I can continue to help strengthen FEMA's workforce and develop and improve upon its core capabilities, sustaining the organization into the future as a well-managed, performance-focused agency able to meet the expectations of the nation," Nimmich said.