Chemical Weapons Stockpile:

Changes Needed in the Management of the Emergency Preparedness Program

NSIAD-97-91: Published: Jun 11, 1997. Publicly Released: Jun 11, 1997.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

David R. Warren
(202) 512-8412
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO conducted a follow-up review to: (1) assess the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program's (CSEPP) progress in enhancing emergency preparedness in all 10 states participating in the program; and (2) identify opportunities to improve program management.

GAO noted that: (1) although it has taken longer than it should, CSEPP officials expect that most critical items will be in place by the end of 1998; (2) after 9 years and funding of $431.4 million, states and local communities surrounding the chemical stockpile storage sites still lack some items critical to responding to a chemical stockpile emergency; (3) as GAO has reported since 1992, CSEPP's slow progress has been due largely to long-standing management weaknesses, including disagreement between the Army and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over their respective roles and responsibilities; (4) the FEMA Inspector General, members of Congress, and state and local officials have also expressed concern about these management weaknesses; (5) moreover, the Congress has expressed concern that states and communities lack critical CSEPP items and that program costs continue to increase; (6) although the Army and FEMA have taken actions in response to this criticism, opportunities still exist to improve program management; (7) specifically, disagreements between Army and FEMA officials on their respective roles and responsibilities continue to hamper program effectiveness; (8) for example, the Army is still working to respond to the requirement of the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act to report on the integrated process teams because FEMA questions the efficiency of the Army's involvement; (9) as a result of this and other differences, the Army and FEMA have not reached agreement on a long-term management structure for the program; (10) in his March 1997 letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on National Security, the Assistant Secretary of the Army said that, if the Army and FEMA were unsuccessful in reaching an agreement on the long-term management structure for CSEPP and integrated process teams, the Army would assume full control and responsibility for the program; and (11) until the Army and FEMA leadership take steps to delineate their agencies' roles and responsibilities and reach agreement on a long-term management structure for CSEPP, the future effectiveness for CSEPP is at risk.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On July 9, 1997, the Secretary of the Army notified the Congress that the Army and FEMA were in agreement on the successful implementation of the Integrated Process Team process. The Secretary reported that site-specific Integrated Process Teams were in place and functioning at all eight Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program communities and were proving to be an invaluable management tool. According to the Secretary, the Integrated Process Teams were strengthening communications and partnership among federal, state and local Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program participants.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Army and the Director, FEMA, should work together to complete the mandated assessment of the implementation and success of integrated process teams by July 15, 1997.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: See comments for Army.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Army and the Director, FEMA, should work together to complete the mandated assessment of the implementation and success of integrated process teams by July 15, 1997.

    Agency Affected: Federal Emergency Management Agency

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army and FEMA established a framework of cooperation for CSEPP management with a long-term agreement that the Army will retain responsibility for managing and directing the on-post aspects of CSEPP, while FEMA will be responsible for off-post emergency preparedness. The agreement clearly defines the agencies' roles and responsibilities, and joint efforts for emergency response preparedness. The Army agreed to conduct site-specific risk analyses and provide FEMA technical assistance and support and annual funding for off-post emergency preparedness. FEMA agreed to: (1) assume total authority, responsibility, and accountability for working with state and local governments to develop off-post emergency preparedness; (2) administer CSEPP funds; (3) provide technical assistance to state and local governments; and (4) assist state and local governments in developing preparedness plans, upgrading emergency response capabilities, and conducting necessary training.

    Recommendation: As part of this assessment, the Secretary of Army and the Director, FEMA, should reach agreement on a long-term management structure for CSEPP that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of Army and FEMA personnel.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army and FEMA established a framework of cooperation for CSEPP management with a long-term agreement that the Army will retain responsibility for managing and directing the on-post aspects of CSEPP, while FEMA will be responsible for off-post emergency preparedness. The agreement clearly defines the agencies' roles and responsibilities, and joint efforts for emergency response preparedness. The Army agreed to conduct site-specific risk analyses and provide FEMA technical assistance and support and annual funding for off-post emergency preparedness. FEMA agreed to: (1) assume total authority, responsibility, and accountability for working with state and local governments to develop off-post emergency preparedness; (2) administer CSEPP funds; (3) provide technical assistance to state and local governments; and (4) assist state and local governments in developing preparedness plans, upgrading emergency response capabilities, and conducting necessary training.

    Recommendation: As part of this assessment, the Secretary of Army and the Director, FEMA, should reach agreement on a long-term management structure for CSEPP that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of Army and FEMA personnel.

    Agency Affected: Federal Emergency Management Agency

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On July 9, 1997, the Secretary of the Army notified the Congress that the Army and FEMA were in agreement on the successful implementation of the Integrated Process Team process. The Secretary reported that the Army and FEMA were preparing a new memorandum of understanding to clarify management roles, responsibilities, authority, and accountability. According to the Secretary, the Army and FEMA are committed to begin implementing the new memorandum of understanding at the start of FY1998.

    Recommendation: Should the Secretary and the Director be unable to complete their assessment and issue a report that includes a plan for revising CSEPP's management structure, the Secretary of the Army should implement the requirements of the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act to: (1) assume full control and responsibility for the program and eliminate the role of the FEMA Director as a joint manager; (2) clearly define the goals of the program; (3) establish fiscal constraints for the program; and (4) agree with each of the participating states regarding program requirements, implementation schedules, training and exercise requirements, and funding to include direct grants for program support.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 19, 2016

Sep 12, 2016

Sep 8, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here