It Was a Failure to Communicate:

According to the head of US Northern Command, Adm. Timothy Keating, a lack of adequate communication between military and civilian relief agencies responding to Hurricane Katrina made it extremely difficult to discover what was being done and where to send help. Speaking to reporters in Washington last week, Keating said the damage was “so complete, so comprehensive,” that it was some time before authorities figured out how bad it really was. NORTHCOM and civil agencies are still in the midst of developing lessons learned from Katrina, but Keating said one thing the Pentagon did differently for Hurricane Rita was to get USAF’s E-3 AWACS in the air to provide air traffic control to military aircraft.