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    Federal Agency: "Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency"

    12 publications with a total of 18 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Joe Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As DHS, through FEMA, plans to respond to a pandemic, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA to use FEMA's existing coordination mechanisms with DOD and HHS to explore opportunities to improve their preparedness and response to a pandemic if DOD's capabilities are limited.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency and accountability over the compensation paid to WYO companies and set appropriate compensation rates, the FEMA administrator should take into account WYO company characteristics that may impact companies' expenses and profits when developing the new compensation methodology and rates.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address a potential challenge for consumers who wish to opt for private flood insurance and who must have insurance under the mandatory purchase requirement, the FEMA Administrator should consider reinstating the cancellation reason code allowing policyholders to cancel their NFIP policy and be eligible for premium refunds, on a prorated basis, if they obtain a non-NFIP policy after their NFIP policy became effective. If changes are needed to NFIP's standard flood insurance policy to allow such refunds, FEMA should take the necessary steps to amend its standard flood insurance policy.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that FEMA adequately manages the selected emergency management systems, the FEMA Administrator should direct the DAIP, EMMIE, and IPAWS program offices, in conjunction with the FEMA CIO, to implement complete program plans that define overall budget and schedule, key deliverables and milestones, assumptions and constraints, description and assignment of roles and responsibilities, staffing and training plans, and an approach for maintaining these plans.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security concurred with our recommendation and in response updated its program management plans that support the program offices of the Disaster Assistance Improvement Plan, Emergency Management Mission Integrated Environment, and Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. The program plans addressed some of the weaknesses we identified in our report. For example, the program management plans identified and described the overall program management processes and methods to be used during all phases of projects and defined key deliverables and milestones, roles and responsibilities, staffing and training and an approach for maintaining the plans. However, the plans did not clearly define the knowledge and skills needed to carry out the program or provide sufficient details on the budget and scheduling for the programs under review. We will follow-up with the department to obtain supporting documentation and continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that FEMA adequately manages the selected emergency management systems, the FEMA Administrator should direct the DAIP, EMMIE, and IPAWS program offices, in conjunction with the FEMA CIO, to implement a system integration plan that include all systems to be integrated with the system, roles and responsibilities for all relevant participants, the sequence and schedule for every integration step, and how integration problems are to be documented and resolved.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security concurred with, and has taken steps to implement our recommendation. For example, the department reported that the system owner for DAIP, EMMIE, and IPAWS programs have updated their respective system integration plans to address the risks identified within the recommendation. In addition, the agency provided documentation such as the IPAWS Integrated Logistics Support Plan, as well as the quality control plan, and test execution plans for both the DAIP and EMMIE programs. However, we have not yet completed our analysis and validated the agency actions on this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As part of the effort of improving IT management at the three programs, the FEMA Administrator should direct the CIO to ensure that FEMA policy for managing IT programs includes guidance for implementing the key management practices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security concurred with the recommendation. In its November 2016 update, FEMA reported that the System Owner for DAIP, EMMIE, and IPAWS have updated their respective IT management program and plans and coordinated with the FEMA CIO to address the risks identified within the recommendation. However, we have not yet validated the agency actions on this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further build on the efforts to improve emergency communications interoperability in the NCR, as part of its efforts to restructure the JFC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator should direct the Director of ONCRC to clearly articulate in a written agreement the roles and responsibilities of the participating agencies and specify how these agencies are to work together across agency boundaries.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve coordination and communication between FEMA OCPO and region mission support officials region mission support officials, the FEMA Administrator should establish a plan to ensure that the agreement is reviewed on an annual basis as intended.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on this report, DHS concurred with this recommendation. According to FEMA officials, the Office of Procurement Operations has since formed a team that will address this recommendation. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.
    Recommendation: To improve coordination and communication between FEMA Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) and region mission support officials region mission support officials, the FEMA Administrator should direct OCPO and the regional administrators to revisit the 2011 service level agreement to: add details about the extent of operational control headquarters and regional supervisors should exercise to minimize potential competing interests experienced by regional contracting officers; further detail headquarters and regional supervisors' roles and responsibilities for managing regional contracting officers to improve coordination and communication; and ensure that the agreement reflects any new requirements, including recent changes in training that may require travel funds.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on this report, DHS concurred with this recommendation. According to FEMA officials, the Office of Procurement Operations has since formed a team that will address this recommendation. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To increase states' abilities to improve disaster resilience and mitigate future damage when using federal funding in the wake of disasters, the FEMA Administrator should, consistent with the goals of the NDRF to integrate hazard mitigation and risk reduction opportunities into all major decisions and reinvestments during the recovery process, assess the challenges state and local officials reported, including the extent to which the challenges can be addressed and implement corrective actions, as needed.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2017, FEMA officials provided a corrective action plan that included interim actions and milestones leading to the establishment of procedures and training to assist in implementing policy changes through the end of calendar year 2016. In September 2016, FEMA issued new policies to establish minimum standards for Public Assistance projects that are intended to promote resilience and achieve risk reduction. The April 2017 update indicates that FEMA plans to complete actions to implement this recommendation by May 2017. GAO will assess the actions taken when they are complete.
    Director: Seto J. Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help FEMA prevent improper payments, the Administrator of FEMA should assess the cost and feasibility of addressing limitations in FEMA's control for identifying duplicate information in applications in high-risk data fields--such as SSN, bank-account information, address, and phone number--that may currently allow individuals or households to improperly receive multiple payments, and if determined to be costbeneficial take steps to address the system design limitation.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, FEMA reported that the agency had reviewed its software system's controls for identifying duplicate SSNs, bank account, address, and phone information. FEMA reported that it would be cost effective and feasible to improve its software system's controls for identifying duplicate address information, and the agency expects to deploy these system changes in the summer of 2017. FEMA also reported that, based on its review of the cases GAO referred to FEMA, errors in SSN and bank account information were related to human casework processing rather than software system limitations. Consequently, FEMA reported that it was reviewing and updating its casework training, guidance, and quality control documentation. We will continue to monitor FEMA's efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help FEMA prevent improper payments, the Administrator of FEMA should collaborate with SSA to assess the cost and feasibility of checking recipient SSNs against the Enumeration Verification System and the full death file to more accurately identify recipients who used Social Security numbers (SSNs) that were ineligible or belonged to likely deceased individuals, document the results of this assessment, and if determined to be cost-beneficial take steps to implement a partnership to use SSA data.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, FEMA reported that the agency completed a cost estimate for system changes needed to include a direct data exchange with SSA. FEMA further reported that the agency was continuing to explore alternative means of conducting a direct data exchange that would help FEMA verify if an SSN belongs to a deceased person. We will continue to monitor FEMA's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Caldwell, Stephen L
    Phone: (202)512-9610

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address long-standing challenges that continue to hinder regional preparedness efforts in the NCR, the FEMA Administrator should require that the Director of NCRC assist regional officials in developing measures to better assess the implementation of the NCR's strategic plan.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, FEMA officials reported that (1) efforts to update the NCR Homeland Security Strategic Plan had been delayed o provide more time to determine targets for each core capability, and in light of anticipated changes in the NCR homeland security and emergency management governance structure; (2) FEMA's 's Office of National Capital Region Coordination (ONCRC) held a kick-off meeting of a new NCR Strategic Plan Working Group in February 2017; and (3) the working group will continue development of the new plan with a revised estimated completion date of November 2017.
    Director: Currie, Christopher
    Phone: (404)679-3000

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the process for disaster declarations, the FEMA Administrator should develop and implement a methodology that provides a more comprehensive assessment of a jurisdiction's capability to respond to and recover from a disaster without federal assistance. This should include one or more measures of a jurisdiction's fiscal capacity, such as TTR, and consideration of the jurisdiction's response and recovery capabilities. If FEMA continues to use the PA per capita indicator to assist in identifying a jurisdiction's capabilities to respond to and recover from a disaster, it should adjust the indicator to accurately reflect the annual changes in the U.S. economy since 1986, when the current indicator was first adopted for use. In addition, implementing the adjustment by raising the indicator in steps over several years would give jurisdictions more time to plan for and adjust to the change.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On January 20, 2016, FEMA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit comments on an option FEMA is considering to establish a disaster deductible, which would require a predetermined level of financial or other commitment from a recipient, generally the state or territorial government, before FEMA would provide assistance under the Public Assistance Program. According to FEMA, the agency received 150 responses during the 60-day public comment period, which ended on March 21, 2016, and used this input to develop a plan for further engagement on a more detailed proposal for public comment. The Supplemental Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, published on January 12, 2017, provided another opportunity for stakeholder input prior to any changes to the Public Assistance program. This proposal included an explanation of how deductible amounts might be calculated, identified specific credits that states could apply for, and detailed how the deductible would be applied post-declaration. Comments on the Supplemental Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking must be submitted by April 12, 2017. Until FEMA implements a new methodology, FEMA will not have an accurate assessment of a jurisdiction's capabilities to respond to and recover from a disaster without federal assistance and runs the risk of recommending that the President award Public Assistance to jurisdictions that have the capability to respond and recover on their own.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FEMA's agencywide workforce planning and training efforts are conducted in a comprehensive and integrated manner, the FEMA Administrator should identify and document long-term and quantifiable mission critical goals that reflect the agency's priorities for workforce planning and training.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, agency officials said they had contracted for the development of a Workforce Strategic Plan that is intended to assess current steady state staffing needs based on mission requirements and establish workforce models capable of determining future needs based on workload drivers. Further, they said the plan will monitor and evaluate FEMA's progress towards mission critical goals and the contribution that human capital results have made towards achieving programmatic priorities. In July 2017, they provided an updated estimate that the plan will be completed by June 2020. Pending completion of this effort, the recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FEMA's agencywide workforce planning and training efforts are conducted in a comprehensive and integrated manner, the FEMA Administrator should establish a time frame for completing the development of quantifiable performance measures related to workforce planning and training efforts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, agency officials said they had contracted for the development of a Workforce Strategic Plan that is intended to assess current steady state staffing needs based on mission requirements and establish workforce models capable of determining future needs based on workload drivers. Once complete, they said the plan will identify performance metrics to track FEMA's progress towards mission critical goals regarding workforce planning and training efforts. In July 2017, they provided an updated estimate that the plan will be completed by September 2020. Pending completion of this effort, the recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To better inform FEMA's decision-making related to agencywide workforce planning and training efforts, the FEMA Administrator should develop systematic processes to collect and analyze workforce and training data.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, officials reported that FEMA's Chief Component Human Capital Office was preparing a Training Plan that will outline the collection and analysis methodology of training data with an estimated completion date of September 2018. Pending documentation of the results of these efforts this recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help reduce the risk of duplication by strengthening DHS's administration and oversight of these programs, and to better identify and reduce the risk of duplication through improved data collection and coordination, the FEMA Administrator should take steps, when developing non disaster grant management system (ND Grants) and responding to the May 2011 FEMA report recommendations on data requirements, to ensure that FEMA collects project information with the level of detail needed to better position the agency to identify any potential unnecessary duplication within and across the four grant programs, weighing any additional costs of collecting these data.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, FEMA had taken steps to address GAO's February 2012 recommendation, but actions were not complete. For example, in fiscal year 2014, FEMA modified its existing grants data system to capture more robust project-level data--such as project budget data--for the Homeland Security Grant Program, which includes the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative. However, FEMA stated that it will not be able to use ND grants to cross-check for redundant projects across all preparedness grant programs until project-based applications are deployed for all preparedness grant programs in the system. For example, Port Security Grant Program and Transit Security Grant Program applications are not housed in the legacy grants data system that was modified to collect more specific project data. To mitigate this issue, FEMA reported that its program officers manually cross-check for redundant projects across all preparedness grant programs. Further, grant program policies call for applicants to coordinate across all preparedness grant stakeholders to help ensure unity of effort and avoid redundant investment proposals. Although future upgrades over several years to ND Grants are planned to eliminate duplication during the application process, FEMA believes the most efficient use of resources is to use current legacy systems to identify duplication in the meantime. Using this interim approach to collect more specific project-level data during the grant application process should help FEMA strengthen the administration and oversight of its grant programs until FEMA implements its long-term solution to upgrade ND Grants. However, implementing ND Grants as previously planned would better position FEMA to identify potentially unnecessary duplication within and across grant programs, as ND Grants was designed to have greater project-level enhancement capability than the legacy system.