It’s a new field, and the research is growing. I heard a very interesting talk a couple of years ago by a candidate for a tenure track position. It was about a fast food chain (i believe it was Waffle Shop, but could be mis-remembering) disaster planning. Her research studied how to let the chain be the first to open in each area so it could not only be a good citizen by providing food, but also reap the profits by being the only one for a while. Her problem was, guess what, inventory of portable generators. They could stage food in early, but without power they were cooked.how many, and where should they locate, a supply of portable generators so they could be deployed quickly as the storm was advancing? This research was done at Georgia Tech, who has a very active program in Humanitarian Logistics and Operations Management.
Some of you might be interested in this important field as we get better at planning for disasters of all kinds. We will need professionals who can understand and implement successful programs, unlike Katrina.