The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is authorized under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act , as amended, to expand its staff size temporarily to respond to major disasters and emergencies. Disaster assistance employees (DAEs) fulfill this role by performing key program, technical, and administrative functions during disasters. DAEs are excepted-service intermittent employees, either cadre reservists or local hires. Cadre reservists have an initial appointment of no more than 24 months that expires on September 30 of each year ending in an even number (e.g., 2010), and may not work for more than 78 weeks (or 18 months) during the 104-week appointment period. FEMA measures deployments during the same 2-year period from October 1 through September 30 of each even-numbered year, regardless of whether an employee was already a FEMA employee at the beginning of the period or was hired during the period. Local hires have an initial appointment of 120 days, which is renewable.