Chemical Weapons:

Army's Emergency Preparedness Program Has Financial Management Weaknesses

NSIAD-95-94: Published: Mar 15, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 17, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed how Army Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) funds were spent between fiscal years (FY) 1988 and 1994, focusing on: (1) the purposes for which funds were allocated; (2) how funds were allocated to states and counties associated with four chemical weapons storage sites; and (3) CSEPP financial reporting and internal control systems.

GAO found that: (1) weaknesses in CSEPP financial management reporting and internal control systems have resulted in a lack of accurate financial information on program expenditures; (2) over $145 million was allocated to states and counties, $127 million was allocated to the Army and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and almost $8.9 million was unallocated between FY 1988 to 1994; (3) over $67 million of all program funds appropriated in FY 1989 to 1994 remained unexpended; (4) the states allocated $35.1 million for communications, $28.4 million for alert and notification, $18.3 million for salaries and benefits, $15.8 million for automation, and $12.7 million for emergency operations centers; (5) the amounts allocated to 10 states varied from $2.4 million to $30.7 million; and (6) the lack of adequate internal controls has left the program susceptible to fraud, waste, and abuse.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the recommendation, the Army restructured the overall management of CSEPP and established the CSEPP Core Team office, which includes FEMA and Army staff, in the Chemical and Biological Defense Command. The Army also streamlined procedures, took actions to improve responsiveness to the states and counties, and enhanced the budget process.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should consolidate financial as well as programmatic functions at the new joint CSEPP office in the Chemical and Biological Defense Command.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the recommendation, the Army restructured the overall management of CSEPP and established the CSEPP Core Team office, which includes FEMA and Army staff, in the Chemical and Biological Defense Command. The Army also streamlined procedures, took actions to improve responsiveness to the states and counties, and enhanced the budget process. In addition, GAO reported that the states and the Army held $67 million in unexpended funds at the end of fiscal year 1994. Those unexpended funds have been accounted for and are no longer outstanding.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should strengthen the new office's procedures for financial reporting and accountability, including requiring regions, states, and counties to report financial data with the format used to award allocations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: FEMA manages CSEPP through a separate cooperative agreement consistent with the procedures established in its Performance Partnership Agreement Program with the states. It does not plan to change this process.

    Recommendation: The Director, FEMA, should remove CSEPP from the agency's comprehensive cooperative agreements umbrella and administer the program separately, not commingled with other agency programs.

    Agency Affected: Federal Emergency Management Agency

 

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