Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security (D.P.S.)


Division of Criminal Justice and Homeland Security

First Advisor

Jie Xu

Second Advisor

Linda Di Desidero

Third Advisor

Bernard Jones


Guided by the four theories of disaster, two civil-military theories, and two communication theories, this mixed methods study was an investigation of whether hurricanes in the North Atlantic basin are increasing in frequency and whether Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) practitioners perceive the DoD is prepared to assist FEMA when the next major hurricane strikes. The DoD is a last resort with a unique and tremendous capability to support FEMA during hurricane response. To better understand hurricane trends and DoD’s hurricane response posture, this study was an analysis of 171 years of tropical cyclone data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, followed by an evaluation of 30 DSCA professionals’ semistructured interview responses. Disagreement about the frequency of hurricanes and responses from interviews indicated the DoD is ready; however, there are a few gaps in overall readiness to address before the next response. This research is timely and significant because property damage from hurricanes is costly, with increasing death rates. A thorough study of the actual frequency of hurricanes and the feedback from DSCA experts regarding the DoD’s hurricane readiness posture offers a pathway toward efficacious disaster preparedness and response. The results of this study provide critical information for decision-makers and policymakers in the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to make sound decisions before the next major hurricane.