Former Joint Task Force Katrina Commander Russel Honore said Wednesday the military's rescue efforts in states affected by Hurricane Harvey resembles "amateur hour" because the federal government lacks a strategy for how to respond to large-scale natural disasters.
"The American people have put too much confidence in us," Honore told CNN host Erin Burnett. "We have been too successful overseas to come out in amateur hour and incrementally deploy the force."
The retired Army lieutenant general said the federal government should have "come in big" and arrived at the "edge of the storm" so that rescue efforts could begin immediately after it passes.
"We don't have 100 helicopters here as of last night," said Honore, who handled the response in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago.
Despite an extensive study by the Army Corps of Engineers on how to handle these types of disasters, Honore said the government has left it to the states to create and carry out their own responses.
"The problem is we have 50 different solutions," Honore added. "The federal government took their hand off it and went off to fight terrorism — and each time we have a Sandy or Harvey, the solution is different ... It's cooked up locally by the state."
Earlier Wednesday, President Trump praised Gov. Greg Abbott and other federal, state and local officials, for their work.
"To the people of Houston and across Texas and Louisiana, we are here with you today," Trump told supporters at an unrelated event in Springfield, Mo. "We are with you tomorrow — and we will be with you every single day after to restore, recover, and rebuild."
Honore said, "It is going to get worse before it gets better — and we have a lot of citizens out there that are hanging on by the thread of their life."