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July 15, 2008: 

The Honorable Bennie G. Thompson: 
Chairman: 
Committee on Homeland Security: 
U.S. House of Representatives: 

Subject: Emergency Management: GAO Responses to Post-hearing Questions 
for the Record: 

Dear Mr. Chairman: 

On June 11, 2008, I testified before the Subcommittee on Management, 
Investigations, and Oversight on the Department of Homeland Security's 
(DHS) Preparedness for Catastrophic Disasters.[Footnote 1] Members of 
the Committee requested that GAO provide additional comments to a 
number of post-hearing questions. The questions and our answers are 
provided in the enclosure. The responses are generally based on work 
associated with previously issued GAO products, which were conducted in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 
Because the responses are based on prior work, we did not obtain 
comments from DHS. 

We will make copies of this letter available to others upon request, 
and it will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. If you have any questions about this 
letter or need additional information please contact me on: 

(202) 512-8757 or jenkinswo@gao.gov. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this letter. Key contributors to this letter were Orlando 
Copeland, Christopher Keisling, and Perry Lusk. 

Sincerely yours, 

Signed by: 

William O. Jenkins, Jr. 

Director: 

Homeland Security and Justice: 

[End of section] 

Enclosure: 

GAO Responses to Questions for the Record: 

1. Based on your years of work, is there a time when FEMA was more 
successful at working within the interagency? If so, when was it and 
what do you think was different then? 

While Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has always faced 
challenges in managing interagency working relationships with other 
federal organizations, we reported favorably on FEMA's inter- 
governmental efforts as the lead federal agency responsible for 
consequence management in 2001 prior to 9/11 and FEMA's incorporation 
into DHS.[Footnote 2] Specifically, we reviewed FEMA's efforts to 
enhance preparedness for a terrorist attack and concluded that, in 
policy and practice, FEMA had generally addressed the key lessons 
learned from its experience in coordinating federal consequence 
management activities after the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995. As 
we reported, in analyzing the lessons learned after the bombing, FEMA 
updated the Federal Response Plan to address how federal agencies, 
states, and localities would work together to respond to an act of 
terrorism. 

In May 2001, as one approach to achieving a more integrated federal 
terrorism preparedness response, the President created an Office of 
National Preparedness within FEMA to coordinate all federal programs 
that support state and local preparedness. In our September 2001 
testimony after the events of 9/11, we recommended a move beyond 
coordination--program consolidation.[Footnote 3] We believed that 
consolidation of assistance programs would best eliminate overlapping 
assistance programs and provide a single federal liaison for state and 
local officials. The need for consolidation of preparedness and 
response assistance efforts had been similarly expressed in the Gilmore 
Commission's reports on assessing domestic response capabilities for 
terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction. Likewise, the Post- 
Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (Post-Katrina Act) 
restored FEMA's preparedness functions, which DHS had transferred to 
another component in July 2005, thereby consolidating within FEMA the 
spectrum of emergency management functions from preparedness to 
response and recovery.[Footnote 4] 

2. Do you agree that a basic "roles and responsibilities" document like 
the NRF is important? If so, why? And do you think it would have been 
useful in the days immediately before and after Katrina? 

A basic "roles and responsibilities" document like the National 
Response Framework (NRF) is an important guiding document for national 
response. It is important because many stakeholders can and do have 
unique and potentially overlapping responsibilities, depending on the 
scale of the incident and the response required. Such a document has 
been in place since April 1992 when FEMA issued the Federal Response 
Plan which outlined how the federal government would implement the 
Stafford Act.[Footnote 5] The Homeland Security Act of 2002[Footnote 6] 
required DHS to consolidate existing federal government emergency 
response plans, such as the Federal Response Plan, into a single, 
coordinated national response plan. In December 2004, DHS responded 
with the 2004 National Response Plan. Thus, a basic "roles and 
responsibilities" document was in place and was useful in the days 
immediately before and after Katrina and provided basic doctrine for 
the federal response. However, Katrina revealed unresolved issues in 
the National Response Plan regarding lines of authority with respect to 
the Secretary of Homeland Security and the FEMA Administrator, as well 
as the key officials reporting to them, the Principal Federal Officer 
(PFO) to the secretary, and the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) to 
the FEMA Administrator. For example, in response to Katrina, the 
Secretary of Homeland Security initially designated the FEMA 
Administrator as the PFO, who appointed separate FCOs for Alabama, 
Louisiana, and Mississippi. It was not, however, clear who was 
responsible for coordinating the overall federal effort at a strategic 
level. Our fieldwork indicated that this lack of clarity in leadership 
roles and responsibilities resulted in disjointed efforts of many 
federal agencies involved in the response, a myriad of approaches and 
processes for requesting and providing assistance, and confusion about 
who should be advised of requests and what resources would be provided 
within specific time frames. Because of confusion concerning the key 
leadership roles of the secretary, the administrator, the PFO and the 
FCO, we recommended in March 2006 that DHS clarify these roles[Footnote 
7] and test, train and exercise its clarification of them.[Footnote 8] 

On October 4, 2006, Congress enacted the Post-Katrina Act. The act 
designated the FEMA Administrator--the new title of the official who 
leads FEMA--as the principal advisor to the President, the Homeland 
Security Council, and the Secretary for all matters relating to 
emergency management. In January 2008, DHS issued the final NRF that 
generally describes the doctrine that guides national response actions 
and the roles and responsibilities of officials and entities involved 
in response efforts. However, the NRF is not an operational document so 
it is important that it be supplemented by documents that provide more 
detail on the operational implementation of the roles and 
responsibilities it describes. Accordingly, the NRF also includes 
Emergency Support and Incident Annexes that provide additional detail 
on the roles and responsibilities and functions for specific emergency 
support functions, such as mass care and shelter, and for catastrophic 
incidents (although, the catastrophic incident annex has not yet been 
revised to reflect the changes in the NRF). In addition, FEMA plans to 
include four partner guides to the NRF that describe key roles and 
actions for local, tribal, state, federal and private sector entities 
involved in response activities. These supplemental planning documents 
should enhance the usefulness of the NRF by providing needed 
clarification and specificity, but FEMA has set no firm date for their 
completion. 

3. What is the impact on state, local, and tribal governments when 
interagency disputes break out during disaster preparedness and 
response? 

Interagency disputes during disaster preparedness and response can 
impair partnership and coordination and, thereby, the speed and 
effectiveness of the overall response and recovery effort. After 
Hurricane Katrina, many states sent supplies, first responders, 
National Guard personnel, and other resources to assist the areas 
hardest hit by the disasters. But coordinating the implementation of 
the assistance was faulty and the timeliness of needed resources and 
assistance was affected. As events unfolded in the immediate aftermath 
and ensuing days after Hurricane Katrina's final landfall, responders 
at all levels of government--many victims themselves--encountered 
significant breakdowns in vital areas such as emergency communications 
as well as obtaining and deploying essential supplies and equipment. 

4. Mr. Jenkins, in your testimony you talked about DHS and FEMA working 
together to develop the Integrated Planning System. From what you've 
seen, are DHS and FEMA coordinating well in this area, or have you seen 
problems? 

We have not identified any problems with DHS and FEMA coordination in 
developing the new integrated system, based on our discussions with 
FEMA and DHS officials. Officials from FEMA's National Preparedness 
Directorate, in coordination with the Disaster Operations Directorate 
and DHS's Office of Operations Coordination, said they have begun to 
develop a common federal planning process that will support a family of 
related planning documents; these related planning documents are to 
include strategic guidance statements, strategic plans, concept plans, 
operations plans, and tactical plans. They said the outline of the 
system is currently undergoing final review prior to approval. The 
effectiveness of DHS's and FEMA's coordination efforts will be 
reflected, in my view, in the timeliness and quality of the system that 
is developed and implemented. 

5. Would you please elaborate on how direct line authority with respect 
to DHS operations centers would strengthen not just departmental 
coordination but also interagency coordination efforts? 

While GAO has not recommended that the Operations Directorate have 
direct line authority for all DHS operations centers, we have reported 
that the Directorate, established in November 2005 to improve 
operational efficiency and coordination, does provide DHS with an 
opportunity to more fully implement the key practices that are 
important to enhancing and sustaining collaboration at its multi-agency 
operations centers. Although the Operations Directorate does not 
possess administrative, budgetary, or operational control over the 
other component's operations centers, guidance from the Operations 
Directorate could help the other components responsible for multi- 
agency operations centers make key advances in each collaborative 
practice. To provide a setting for enhanced collaboration among the 
staff at each operations center, we recommended in October 2006 that 
the Director of the Operations Directorate provide guidance and help 
ensure the component agencies of the multi-agency operations centers 
take the following actions: define common goals and joint strategies; 
clarify the roles and responsibilities for watchstanders;[Footnote 9] 
apply standards, policies, and procedures for using DHS's information 
network; conduct staffing needs assessments; prepare mechanisms to 
monitor, evaluate, and report on the results of collaborative efforts; 
and address collaborative efforts at the four multi-agency operations 
centers in plans and reports.[Footnote 10] 

As we reported last month, integration of operations centers is 
essential for effective planning and response capabilities.[Footnote 
11] We noted that DHS has taken the first of three steps toward 
integrating its operations centers responsible for planning for, 
monitoring, and responding to disruptions to the communications 
infrastructure, including voice and data networks, and the security of 
data and applications that use these networks. Specifically, in 
November 2007, DHS moved the operations center for communications 
infrastructure to office space adjacent to the center for data and 
applications. This close proximity allows the approximately 41 
coordination center and 95 readiness team analysts to, among other 
things, readily collaborate on planned and ongoing activities. We 
reported that a key factor contributing to DHS's lack of progress in 
implementing the latter two steps is that completing the integration 
has not been a top DHS priority. Ultimately, the better DHS coordinates 
its own operations (and operations centers), the better equipped it 
will be to coordinate with other departments and agencies. 

6. Based on your review, do you believe the current coordination among 
departmental operations centers is sufficient to avoid unnecessary 
duplication or confusion in response to a catastrophic incident? 

In conducting the most recent assessment of DHS's management of its 
operations centers in June 2008, as discussed above, we concluded that 
until DHS completes the integration of the two centers, it risks being 
unable to efficiently plan for and respond to disruptions to 
communications infrastructure, and the data and applications that 
travel on this infrastructure, increasing the probability that 
communications will be unavailable or limited in times of 
need.[Footnote 12] The objective of our October 2006 was to assess the 
collaboration among the 4 operations centers that employed staff from 
multiple DHS organizations, rather than the effectiveness of their 
response capabilities.[Footnote 13] Nonetheless, we found that the 
centers lack joint strategies for collaboration and staffing needs 
assessments, and also lacked standards and procedures for using DHS's 
primary information-sharing network. GAO's previous work has shown that 
such practices are effective in enhancing and sustaining collaboration 
among federal agencies. These practices could also help DHS avoid 
unnecessary duplication or confusion in response to a catastrophic 
incident. 

7. According to your work reviewing DHS, in which areas do you believe 
the department has been most effective in leading national preparedness 
efforts? Has the department been more effective in leading preparedness 
efforts at the federal level as opposed to the state or local level? 

In comprehensively assessing DHS's progress in implementing its mission 
and management functions in August 2007, we concluded that DHS had made 
limited progress in its emergency preparedness and response 
efforts.[Footnote 14] DHS and FEMA have had mixed success at both the 
federal and state and local levels. Among the successes are the 
development of pre-scripted mission assignments for federal agencies 
that can be activated as needed following a disaster. However, DHS and 
FEMA are still developing operational plans to guide other federal 
agencies' response efforts and metrics for assessing federal 
capabilities. Two essential supplements to the new National Response 
Framework--response guides for federal partners and an integrated 
planning system--are still under development and federal agencies must 
develop also operational plans to reflect the roles and 
responsibilities described in the NRF, these partner guides, and the 
more detailed functional and incident annexes that accompany the NRF. 
At the most fundamental level, DHS has not yet developed a means of 
measuring the nation's overall preparedness--at federal, state, and 
local levels--based on a list of targeted capabilities and has not yet 
completed an inventory of all federal response capabilities required by 
the Post-Katrina Act. 

8. In what areas of needed capabilities are we as a nation most 
prepared for a catastrophic disaster and why? In what areas are we 
least prepared and why? 

One of the key concerns that our work has identified is that DHS, as 
the federal organization with primary responsibility for assessing and 
reporting on the status of national capabilities, cannot with any 
certainty answer that question. As I testified in March 2008,[Footnote 
15] DHS's and FEMA's current efforts do not provide information on the 
effectiveness of homeland security funds in improving the nation's 
capabilities or reducing risk. According to FEMA officials, DHS 
leadership has identified this issue as a high priority and is trying 
to develop a more quantitative approach to accomplish the goal of 
capturing and using information for the more strategic purpose of 
monitoring the achievement of program goals. 

Following Katrina, we reported that there were major capability 
problems in several key areas, including: (1) situational assessment 
and awareness; (2) emergency communications; (3) evacuations, 
particularly for those who do not have transportation or otherwise have 
mobility limitations; (4) search and rescue; (5) logistics; and (6) 
mass care and sheltering.[Footnote 16] These areas continue to present 
challenges, although DHS and FEMA have taken actions to address the 
problems that surfaced in Katrina. Our recent discussions with DHS and 
FEMA officials indicate that FEMA has initiated a Catastrophic Disaster 
Response Planning Initiative to ensure that FEMA and its federal, 
tribal, state and local partners are well prepared to affect an 
appropriate, timely, and efficient response to such a catastrophic 
disaster. According to DHS, the Disaster Operations Directorate is 
continuing venue-specific catastrophic planning and disaster readiness 
initiatives focused on four specific areas - Southeast Louisiana, New 
Madrid Seismic Zone, the State of Florida, and the State of California. 

Key areas of potential concern regarding national preparedness for 
catastrophic events include pandemic influenza and response to nuclear 
attack: 

* In reporting on the issue of pandemic influenza preparation in 2007, 
we noted that federal government leadership roles and responsibilities 
for preparing for and responding to a pandemic continue to evolve, and 
will require further clarification and testing before the relationships 
of the many leadership positions are well understood.[Footnote 17] 
Although the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Secretary 
is to lead the public health and medical response and the DHS Secretary 
is to lead overall nonmedical support and response actions, the 
National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan (Plan) 
does not clearly address how these roles and responsibilities are to 
work together or simultaneously, particularly over an extended period 
and at multiple locations across the country. We reported that 
important gaps exist that could hinder the ability of key stakeholders 
to effectively execute their responsibilities. State and local 
jurisdictions that will play crucial roles in preparing for and 
responding to a pandemic were not directly involved in developing the 
Plan, relationships and priorities among actions were not clearly 
described, performance measures focused on activities that are not 
always linked to results, insufficient information is provided about 
how the documents are integrated with other key related plans, and no 
process is provided for monitoring and reporting on progress. 

* Regarding the nation's preparedness for a nuclear incident, we 
reported in June 2008 that, while DHS and other agencies have taken 
steps to improve homeland defense, local first responders do not have 
tools to accurately and immediately identify what, when, where, and how 
much chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) materials 
are released in U.S. urban areas, either accidentally or by 
terrorists.[Footnote 18] We reported that DHS's Domestic Nuclear 
Detection Office (DNDO) is responsible for acquiring and supporting the 
deployment of radiation detection equipment. However, this DNDO has 
primarily emphasized developing and deploying radiation detection 
equipment to secure cargo container shipments at U.S. ports of entry to 
prevent smuggling radioactive material into the United States. DNDO's 
Chief of Staff told us that it does not consider its mission to include 
the development of radiological detection equipment for local first 
responders to use in identifying the release of radiological materials 
in the atmosphere. It does not evaluate radiological detection 
equipment for first responder use in consequence management. Among 
other things, we recommended that the Secretary of Homeland Security 
reach agreement with other agencies on which agency should have the 
mission and responsibility to develop, test, and certify detection 
equipment that first responders use to detect hazardous material 
releases in the atmosphere. DHS concurred with our recommendations but 
stated that GAO should consider other scenarios as alternative ways of 
looking at the present national capabilities for CBRN response and the 
current status of testing and certification of detection equipment. 

9. Do you believe that DHS is prepared for the 2008 Hurricane season? 

Planning and exercising of capabilities at the federal, state, and 
local levels is essential for developing and assessing national 
response capabilities. Because FEMA has not yet issued its plans or the 
results of its recent hurricane preparedness exercises, there is no way 
to objectively determine whether DHS is prepared for the 2008 Hurricane 
season. 

* Planning: According to FEMA officials, the agency is coordinating 
closely with its federal interagency partners to develop the 2008 
National Hurricane Season Contingency Plan. However, we are already 
into the hurricane season, and have found no evidence of an approved 
plan. 

* Exercising: The Department of Homeland Security's National Exercise 
Program (NEP), the nation's overarching homeland security exercise 
program, conducted a combined exercise in May 2008 to test hurricane 
preparedness planning, assess federal interagency Continuity of 
Operations procedures, exercise a response to terrorist attacks in 
Washington State and test Defense Support of Civil Authorities. These 
linked exercises were referred to as National Level Exercise 2-08. The 
exercise took place May 1 to 8 with a wide range of participants from 
federal and state departments and agencies. The evaluation of this 
exercise with regard to hurricane preparedness has not yet been 
released. 

10. What is your assessment of the roles and responsibilities of the 
Principal Federal Office (PFO) and Federal Coordinating Office (FCO)? 
Do you believe these roles have been sufficiently clarified? Do you 
think DHS is taking the necessary steps to ensure that state and local 
responders and emergency management personnel are aware of the 
distinctions? 

The experience of Hurricane Katrina revealed problems with the National 
Response Plan (NRP), identifying uncertainty and confusion regarding 
the roles, responsibilities and lines of authority with respect to the 
DHS Secretary and the FEMA Administrator as well as the key officials 
reporting to them, the PFO to the Secretary and the FCO to the 
Administrator. In our March 8, 2006 testimony, we recommended that DHS 
clarify these key leadership roles consistent with the provisions of 
the Stafford Act and the Homeland Security Act of 2002.[Footnote 19] 
Shortly after our testimony, in May 2006, DHS issued revisions to the 
NRP that addressed the PFO and FCO roles, pending a more comprehensive 
review of the NRP. In light of the persistent confusion regarding key 
leadership roles, we recommended in our September 2006 report on 
catastrophic disasters that DHS should rigorously re-test, train, and 
exercise its recent clarification of roles, responsibilities and lines 
of authority in the NRP and implement changes to remedy any identified 
coordination problems.[Footnote 20] 

In October 2006, Congress enacted the Post-Katrina Act, which, among 
other things, addressed the PFO's relationship with the FCO and other 
federal and state officials. Specifically, the Post-Katrina Act 
provided that the PFO shall not direct or replace the incident command 
structure established at the incident or have directive authority over 
the FCO or other federal and state officials.[Footnote 21] The 
enactment of the Post-Katrina Act coincided with the start of DHS's 
comprehensive review of the NRP, which culminated with the issuance of 
the NRF in January 2008. The NRF repeats the Post-Katrina Act's 
prohibition that the PFO shall not direct or replace the incident 
command structure or have directive authority over the FCO or other 
federal and state officials. The NRF also generally distinguishes 
between the PFO and the FCO. For example, the NRF describes the PFO as 
representing the Secretary of Homeland Security in the field to provide 
a primary point of contact and situational awareness for the secretary. 
The PFO's duties include promoting federal interagency collaboration 
and conflict resolution where possible, presenting to the secretary any 
policy issues that require resolution, and acting as the primary 
federal spokesperson for coordinated media and public communications. 
The FCO, on the other hand, represents the FEMA Administrator in the 
field to coordinate Stafford Act support to state, local and tribal 
governments. The FCO's duties include the commitment of FEMA resources 
and the issuance of mission assignments to other federal departments or 
agencies. The FCO is the primary federal representative with whom the 
State Coordinating Officer and other state, tribal and local response 
officials interact to determine most urgent needs and to set objectives 
for meeting them. 

Whether the NRF revisions will be effective in promoting a common 
understanding of the PFO and FCO roles remains to be seen. As I 
discussed in response to Question 2, the NRF is not an operational 
document, so it is important that it be supplemented by documents that 
provide more detail on the operational implementation of the roles and 
responsibilities it describes--operational roles and responsibilities 
that must be tested and evaluated in realistic exercises. Unlike the 
NRP, the NRF is to include four partner guides that will supplement the 
core NRF document and further describe key roles for local, tribal, 
state, federal and private sector entities involved in response 
activities. These supplemental planning documents should enhance the 
usefulness of the NRF by providing needed clarification and 
specificity, but FEMA has set no firm date for their completion. In 
addition to the need for supplemental planning documents, FEMA also 
needs to engage in rigorous testing, training and exercising of the 
recently issued NRF, just as we recommended following the May 2006 
revisions to the NRP. Without testing, training and exercising, it is a 
matter of speculation as to whether state and local responders and 
emergency management personnel have a common understanding of the 
revised PFO and FCO roles and responsibilities, or whether further 
refinements need to be made to remedy any identified coordination 
issues. 

We have ongoing work that will assess actions FEMA and DHS have taken 
to define the roles and responsibilities of key governmental and 
nongovernmental stakeholders to promote a more consistent national 
response and the extent to which related issues have surfaced in 
national preparedness exercises. The results of this work should 
provide more information for evaluating the extent to which the roles 
and responsibilities of the PFO and FCO are clearly understood at the 
federal, state, and local levels. 

11. What do you believe are DHS's greatest challenges in effectively 
preparing for and responding to catastrophic disasters? 

Effective federal preparation for and response to a catastrophic event 
requires planning, coordination, cooperation, and leadership within DHS 
and between DHS and other federal agencies--both civilian and military-
-as well as state and local governments, and the private and nonprofit 
sectors that have resources and capabilities needed for the response. 
The single biggest challenge is getting all those who have major 
responsibilities for responding to a major or catastrophic disaster to 
work together to identify the capabilities each participant needs for 
effective response, then to develop, test, and maintain those 
capabilities. DHS must provide leadership across a broad spectrum of 
stakeholders including federal agencies and departments, and DHS's own 
components; state, local and tribal governments, their emergency 
management agencies and other state agencies; sector-specific 
businesses and industry; voluntary organizations; and academia. It is 
an enormous challenge and responsibility. In leading national 
preparedness efforts, DHS through FEMA is responsible for developing 
national-level policies and doctrine to guide the efforts of these 
stakeholders to establish operational plans to carry out their roles 
and responsibilities and to build, measure, and sustain their ability 
to do so effectively. However, DHS's efforts to develop operational 
plans to guide other federal agencies' response efforts and metrics for 
assessing federal capabilities are incomplete. In addition, DHS is 
still establishing a process to measure the nation's overall 
preparedness and has not yet developed a complete inventory of all 
federal response capabilities. These are significant challenges, not 
likely to be easily or quickly resolved. 

12. What are you views on the role of detection canines in responding 
to catastrophes? 

The 28 Urban Search and Rescue teams have detection canines (primarily 
to detect people in rubble). However, we have not examined the 
prevention (e.g., explosive detection) and response requirements for 
which canine teams would be needed nor have we evaluated the 
performance of canine teams, whether for weapon(s) of mass destruction 
(WMD) detection or search and rescue operations. Consequently, we have 
no basis on which to assess whether DHS has the appropriate number of 
canine teams. 

However, GAO currently has a review underway of the Transportation 
Security Administration's (TSA) National Explosives Detection Canine 
Team Program whose explosives detection canine teams (each of which 
consist of a dog and a handler) are trained, certified, and deployed to 
airports and mass transit systems nationwide. Section 1307 of the 
Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 
2007[Footnote 22] requires increases in the number of TSA-certified 
canine teams over the next 3 years. The Act also requires GAO to report 
on the use of these teams and the capacity of TSA's canine program. Our 
objective is to determine if TSA has a plan to increase its number of 
teams as required by statute and, if so, to evaluate the extent to 
which TSA has the capacity to do so and is on track with its plan. We 
plan to report on the results of this review later this year. 

13. Do you believe we have enough canine teams for the homeland 
security mission? If not, how many should DHS acquire? 

See the response to Question 12. 

14. Based on your experience, what recommendations do you have to 
develop training and certification standards for detection canines? 

See the response to Question 12. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] GAO Emergency Management: Observations on DHS's Preparedness for 
Catastrophic Disasters, GAO-08-868T (Washington, D.C., June 11, 2008).

[2] GAO, Combating Terrorism: FEMA Continues to Make Progress in 
Coordinating Preparedness and Response, GAO-01-15 (Washington, D.C.: 
Mar. 20, 2001). 

[3] GAO, Homeland Security: A Framework for Addressing the Nation's 
Issues, GAO-01-1158T (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 21, 2001). 

[4] Pub. L. No. 109-295, 120 Stat. 1355 (2006). Section 611 of the 
Post- Katrina Act (6 U.S.C. 315) gave FEMA all its responsibilities and 
programs as constituted on June 1, 2006, as well as those of the 
Preparedness Directorate, with certain exceptions. 

[5] The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act 
(Stafford Act), 42 U.S.C.  5121-5206. 

[6] Pub. L. No. 107-296, 115 Stat. 2135 (2002). 

[7] GAO, Hurricane Katrina: GAO's Preliminary Observations Regarding 
Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, GAO-06-442T (Washington, D.C.: 
Mar. 8, 2006). 

[8] GAO, Catastrophic Disasters: Enhanced Leadership, Capabilities, and 
Accountability Controls Will Improve the Effectiveness of the Nation's 
Preparedness, Response, and Recovery System, GAO-06-618 (Washington, 
D.C.: Sept. 6, 2006). 

[9] The term "watchstander" refers to an individual required to work 
full-time on a rotating 24-hour schedule, 7 days per week, to maintain 
situational awareness, conduct information assessment and threat 
monitoring to deter, detect, and prevent terrorist incidents. A 
watchstander may also act as a liaison between his agency and other 
agency representatives at the center, and may manage response to 
critical threats and incidents. 

[10] GAO, Homeland Security: Opportunities Exist to Enhance 
Collaboration at 24/7 Operations Centers Staffed by Multiple DHS 
Agencies, GAO-07-89 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 20, 2006). 

[11] GAO, Critical Infrastructure Protection: Further Efforts Needed to 
Integrate Planning for and Response to Disruptions on Converged Voice 
and Data Networks, GAO-08-607 (Washington, D.C.: June 26, 2008). 

[12] GAO-08-607. 

[13] GAO-07-89. 

[14] GAO, Department of Homeland Security: Progress Report on 
Implementation of Mission and Management Functions, GAO-07-454 
(Washington, D.C.: Aug. 17, 2007). 

[15] GAO, Homeland Security: DHS Improved its Risk-Based Grant 
Programs' Allocation and Management Methods, But Measuring Programs' 
Impact on National Capabilities Remains a Challenge, GAO-08-488T 
(Washington, D.C., Mar. 15, 2008). 

[16] GAO-06-618. 

[17] GAO, Influenza Pandemic: Further Efforts Are Needed to Ensure 
Clearer Federal Leadership Roles and an Effective National Strategy, 
GAO-07-781 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 14, 2007). 

[18] GAO, Homeland Security: First Responders' Ability to Detect and 
Model Hazardous Releases in Urban Areas Is Significantly Limited, GAO- 
08-180 (Washington, D.C.: June 27, 2008). 

[19] GAO, Hurricane Katrina: GAO's Preliminary Observations Regarding 
Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, GAO-06-442T (Washington, D.C.: 
March 8, 2006). 

[20] GAO, Catastrophic Disasters: Enhanced Leadership, Capabilities, 
and Accountability Controls Will Improve the Effectiveness of the 
Nation's Preparedness, Response, and Recovery System, GAO-06-618 
(Washington, D.C.: Sept. 6, 2006) 

[21] 6 U.S.C.  319(c)(2). 

[22] Pub. L. No. 110-53, 121 Stat. 266 (2007). 

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