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    Subject Term: "Emergency management"

    20 publications with a total of 50 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve employee misconduct policies and procedures, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to document policies and procedures to address potential Surge Capacity Force misconduct.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had developed and documented misconduct policies and procedures for most employees, but not its entire workforce. Specifically, FEMA had not documented misconduct policies and procedures for Surge Capacity Force members, who may augment FEMA's workforce in the event of a catastrophic disaster. As a result, we recommended that FEMA document policies and procedures to address potential Surge Capacity Force misconduct. In September 2017, FEMA officials reported taking action to address this recommendation. Specifically, FEMA distributed a memorandum to Federal Coordinating Officers and Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators providing guidance on how and to whom to report allegations of misconduct by Surge Capacity Force members, coordination efforts regarding investigations, and how to address the member's duty status during the course of an investigation. FEMA stated that it will further address this recommendation by updating the FEMA Human Capital Plan for the Surge Capacity Force. FEMA expects to complete this effort by June 30, 2018. This recommendation will remain open until the Human Capital Plan is updated.
    Recommendation: In order to improve employee misconduct policies and procedures, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to document Reservist disciplinary options and appeals policies and procedures that are currently in practice at the agency.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) policies and procedures for Reservist employees did not outline disciplinary options to address misconduct or address the appeals process available for Reservists. As a result, we recommended that FEMA document Reservist disciplinary options and appeals policies and procedures that are currently in practice at the agency. In September 2017, FEMA reported that the Office of Response and Recovery was drafting an addendum to the FEMA Reservist program manual. FEMA expects to complete this action by December 31, 2017. This recommendation will remain open until the addendum is complete.
    Recommendation: In order to improve employee misconduct policies and procedures, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to communicate the range of penalties for specific misconduct offenses to all employees and supervisors.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not communicate a range of offenses and penalties for misconduct to its entire workforce. Rather, such information was communicated to supervisors and employees on a case-by-case basis. To improve transparency we recommended that FEMA communicate the range of penalties for specific misconduct offenses to all supervisors and employees. As of September 2017, FEMA officials reported that they had drafted a new table of penalties, which was undergoing internal review within FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA expects this process to be complete by December 31, 2017. This recommendation will remain open until the table is finalized and communicated to supervisors and employees.
    Recommendation: In order to better identify and address trends in employee misconduct, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to improve the quality and usefulness of the misconduct data it collects by implementing quality control measures, such as adding additional drop-down fields with standardized entries, adding unique case identifier fields, developing documented guidance for data entry, or considering the adoption of database software.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found limitations related to the quality and usefulness of employee misconduct data collected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA). For example, we found data collection differed across the agency, there was limited standardization of data fields, and a lack of documented guidance on data entry. As a result, we recommended that FEMA improve its employee misconduct data by implementing quality control measures or considering the adoption of database software that would help standardize data collection across FEMA. In September 2017, FEMA officials reported they had secured funding to purchase hardware and software for a case management system to track misconduct complaints. If implemented, this system should improve FEMA's ability to more efficiently and effectively manage and track case information. FEMA estimates that it will complete this action by March 31, 2018. This recommendation will remain open until the new case management system is in place and operational.
    Recommendation: In order to better identify and address trends in employee misconduct, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to, once the quality of the data is improved, conduct routine reporting on employee misconduct trends.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not regularly conduct trend analysis on misconduct cases, and that quality of the data restricted the agency's ability to identify and address trends. As a result, we recommended that, once steps were taken to improve the quality of the data, FEMA should conduct routine reporting on employee misconduct trends. In September 2017, FEMA officials reported they were procuring a case management system to track misconduct complaints. If implemented, this system should improve FEMA's ability to analyze misconduct data and identify and report on trends. FEMA estimates that it will complete this action by March 31, 2018. This recommendation will remain open until FEMA generates trend analysis and reports from the new system.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that all allegations of employee misconduct referred by DHS OIG are reviewed and addressed, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop reconciliation procedures to consistently track referred cases.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not establish effective procedures to ensure that all misconduct cases referred to FEMA by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) were accounted for and subsequently reviewed and addressed. As a result, we recommended that FEMA develop reconciliation procedures to consistently track referred cases. In September 2017, FEMA officials reported they had secured funding to purchase hardware and software for a case management system to track misconduct complaints. In addition, officials reported that they are working with DHS OIG to coordinate case management coding across systems. FEMA estimates that it will complete these actions by March 31, 2018. If implemented, the new system should improve FEMA's ability to track OIG referred cases. In order to fully address this recommendation, FEMA must complete these steps and also demonstrate that reconciliation procedures are in place.
    Director: Kay Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure FEMA's regional activities effectively support individuals with disabilities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to take steps to establish written procedures for how regions should involve the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination in clarifying disability integration staff's roles, evaluating staff performance, and setting expectations for how staff communicate with headquarters and the regions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FEMA agreed with this recommendation and FEMA's Office of Disability Integration and Coordination is in the process of establishing a working group that will clarify and codify the roles, responsibilities, and expectations among the various agency offices and personnel involved in carrying out the agency's disability integration mission. GAO will monitor the progress of these efforts. FEMA expects to complete these efforts by December 31, 2017. At that time, GAO will await documentation of the agency's procedures for carrying out its disability integration mission.
    Recommendation: To better position FEMA to expand access to key training on incorporating access and functional needs into emergency planning for state, local, and voluntary organization emergency management officials, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to evaluate alternative cost-effective methods for delivering its course on access and functional needs, such as via virtual classes.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FEMA agreed with this recommendation and reported that it will explore options for updating one of its existing online courses--IS-368 "Including People with Disabilities and Other with Access and Functional Needs in Disaster Operations"--to tailor the content for a broader audience, including members of the public. The agency also reported that it will evaluate the need for alternative cost-effective methods for delivering other courses on inclusive emergency management it currently offers, such as its classroom course, "Integrating Access and Functional Need into Emergency Planning." The agency anticipates completing these efforts by December 31, 2017. When these efforts are complete, GAO will await documentation that the agency has evaluated its delivery of key training on incorporating access and functional needs into emergency planning.
    Recommendation: To help ensure its key training on incorporating access and functional needs into emergency planning reaches a sufficiently wide audience, the Secretary should direct the FEMA Administrator to collect information about the potential pool of participants, set general goals for the number of state and local emergency managers that will take this course, and implement the delivery methods needed to meet these goals.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FEMA agreed with this recommendation and reported that it will work with its regional staff to map potential training participants in each state and set goals for delivery of the course to state and local emergency managers. The agency also reported that it may be able to use data in the State Preparedness Report and states' self-reporting on the need for training on integrating the needs of people with access and functional needs into emergency management. GAO will monitor the progress of these efforts. The agency anticipates completing these efforts by December 31, 2017.
    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: According to FEMA officials, FEMA is responding to this recommendation as part of its development of a final rule on WYO compensation practices, required by the Biggert-Waters Act.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To continue the agency's efforts to improve state and local emergency preparedness for rail accidents involving hazardous materials, the Secretary of Transportation should, after the rulemaking is finalized, develop a process for regularly collecting information from state emergency response commissions on the distribution of the railroad-provided hazardous-materials-shipping information to local planning entities.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Shea, Rebecca
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve federal agency LMR procurement practices, the Director of OMB should direct the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to examine the feasibility of including LMR technology in the category management initiative.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OMB generally agreed with this recommendation and noted that it is working to identify which information-technology strategies will produce the best return on investment and that it continues to evaluate its category-specific plans. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from OMB.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agency LMR procurement practices, the Director of OMB should direct the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to, if warranted, include LMR technology within the appropriate spend category.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OMB generally agreed with this recommendation and noted that it is working to identify which information-technology strategies will produce the best return on investment and that it continues to evaluate its category-specific plans. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from OMB.
    Director: Currie, Christopher P
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better assess the impact of the fire grants program, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to establish measurable performance targets linked to AFG and SAFER program goals, such as the desired percentage of awardees who used grants to achieve compliance with equipment standards.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to officials, FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate is reviewing the current set of program metrics to determine the feasibility of establishing performance targets. FEMA plans to include approved targets in its annual report to Congress that will be issued for fiscal year 2016; the report was undergoing internal review for approval and release as of November 2016. Pending issuance of the report with measurable performance targets linked to AFG and SAFER program goals, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To enhance FEMA's efforts to assess and integrate the fire grant programs' contributions to national preparedness, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to use the National Preparedness Goal's definition of critical infrastructure as the basis of collecting information from applicants and using the National Critical Infrastructure Prioritization Program list to measure fire grant programs' performance in addressing national priorities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to officials, FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate plans to incorporate the National Preparedness Goal definition of national critical infrastructure into fire grant performance measures in FEMA's fiscal year 2017 Annual Report to Congress. Specifically, they said FEMA plans to conduct an assessment of data from AFG program application and awards in order to verify recipients are reporting infrastructure that aligns with the National Preparedness Goal definition of critical infrastructure. In addition, FEMA plans to meet as needed with the National Programs and Protection Directorate's Office of Critical Infrastructure Analysis to determine how the Critical Infrastructure Prioritization Program list can be used in the application process. Pending completion of these efforts, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To enhance FEMA's efforts to incorporate new National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) and Fire Community Assessment Response Evaluation System (FireCARES) data elements into fire grants program management activities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a project management plan for identifying relevant data elements in the new NFORS and FireCARES systems and determining how they can be used to improve fire grant applications and awards processes and the performance assessment system.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to officials, FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate intends to develop a plan to assess the data collected to determine feasibility for integration of NFORS and FireCARES data into the AFG programs. The plan will incorporate ways to improve the applications, awards processes, and tracking of performance. This plan should be completed by March 2017, and FEMA will continue to collaborate with stakeholders for the improvement of the AFG application, awards processes, and performance management. According to FEMA, the estimated completion of this effort is September 2017.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of the ECPC's efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security, as the administrative leader of the ECPC, should clearly document the ECPC's strategic goals.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of the ECPC's efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security, as the administrative leader of the ECPC, should establish a mechanism to track progress by the ECPC's member agencies in implementing the ECPC's recommendations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of the ECPC's efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security, as the administrative leader of the ECPC, should clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the ECPC's member agencies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Michelle Sager
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enable a more effective approach in working with states to adopt the NDRF, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA to conduct a systematic analysis of the information generated from FEMA's readiness assessments to determine the extent of regional office efforts to help states implement the NDRF, including conducting education and outreach.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. According to FEMA, its Office of Readiness Assessment (ORA) launched the 2016 bi-annual FEMA Readiness Assessment Program in April 2016, which includes NDRF related assessment discussions in five FEMA regions. We met with officials in April 2017, who told us that ORA plans to incorporate into this year's assessments, a retrospective review of NDRF findings and progress made in implementing the NDRF since 2013. We will continue to monitor this to see what additional actions the agency takes in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enable a more effective approach in working with states to adopt the NDRF, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA to develop best practices and lessons learned with regard to conducting NDRF education and outreach to states based on the analysis of readiness assessments and create a mechanism to disseminate and share those best practices and lessons learned to FEMA regional offices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. According to FEMA, its Recovery Support Function Leadership Group initiated an information management workgroup, which shares best practices information as one of its objectives. The workgroup has piloted the use of an existing interagency portal as a potential platform for improved information sharing. We met with officials in April 2017, who told us that FEMA will incorporate its 2016 readiness review findings and best practices from regional Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators for stakeholder outreach and education into the final platform build-out. We will continue to monitor this to see what additional actions the agency takes in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enable a more effective approach in working with states to adopt the NDRF, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA to clarify with regional offices and Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators (FDRCs) the role of the regional implementation plans in FDRC performance plans and how they will be used to assess NDRF regional implementation efforts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. According to FEMA, to achieve greater integration of FEMA's field leadership components, FEMA's Field Operations Directorate (FOD) convened a Field Leadership Working Group of senior subject matter experts to conduct a mission analysis of FEMA's Field Leadership function (which includes Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators as well as Federal Coordinating Officers and Incident Management Assistance Teams team leads). According to FEMA, one of the assigned tasks of the group involves developing performance metrics to define a steady state and operational performance framework for field leaders, to include Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators. According to FEMA, the Working Group is currently underway and is preparing a Field Leader Manual for review by FOD leadership. We will continue to monitor this to see what additional actions the agency takes in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enable a more effective approach in working with states to adopt the NDRF, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA to align the annual FDRC performance expectations with clearly defined organizational goals and priorities, consistent with key management practices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. According to FEMA, the Field Leadership Working Group will implement the elements of this recommendation alongside efforts to clarify the role of the regional National Disaster Recovery Framework implementation plans. FEMA also provided documentation to GAO noting that the Working Group is progressing in its work on its Field Leadership Professional Development Plan. We will continue to monitor this to see what additional actions the agency takes in response to this recommendation.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that FEMA's IT systems can adequately support its ability to respond to major disasters, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to define the scope, implementation strategy, and schedule of the agency's overall modernization approach, with related goals and measures for effectively overseeing the effort. At a minimum, the agency should update its IT strategic plan and complete its modernization plan.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security concurred with this recommendation, and reported on actions taken to update its IT Modernization Plan such as conducting cross-functional work sessions to establish an actionable implementation roadmap in line with agency priorities. However, as of April 2017, we have not yet obtained evidence that FEMA has fully updated its IT strategic plan and completed its modernization plan to address the weaknesses identified in our report. 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's IT systems can adequately support its ability to respond to major disasters, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to establish time frames for current and future IT workforce planning during its modernization efforts and ensure all regions and offices are included in these initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security concurred with, and has taken steps to implement our recommendation. For example, the department stated that FEMA completed the assessment of skills gap and identified and prioritized the skills required to staff and sustain the core competencies required to successfully implement FEMA's IT modernization efforts. However, we have not yet validated the agency actions to establish time frames for current and future IT workforce planning during its modernization efforts. 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 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: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enable FEMA to and more effectively respond to disasters, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a workforce strategy to manage and improve retention that includes a process for systematically gathering attrition data and a plan to retain IMAT Cadre-of On-Call Response Employees.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, FEMA provided an update on the status of actions taken in response to our report. In the update, FEMA officials said they had issued a new FEMA Human Capital Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2016-2020 that includes an objective to build a scalable and skilled workforce with associated measures including a decrease in attrition rate for permanent full time employees, and an increase in disaster workforce through improvements in the recruitment and retention of incident management employees. FEMA also stated that pay issues and work-life balance have been identified as contributing to retention on National Type I and Regional Type II IMATs. FEMA is actively addressing the pay issues. FEMA provided a brief summary of the actions being taken--which includes development of a policy that provides information on establishing base pay under the new pay system, movement within the pay bands, and merit-based increases is in development. Until completion of the action items, this recommendation will remain open. FEMA officials plan to provide a status update in October 2017.
    Director: Chris P. Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote more effective grant management coordination, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a plan with time frames, goals, metrics and milestones detailing how Grant Programs Directorate intends to resolve longstanding challenges associated with its existing hybrid grants management model, which divides responsibilities between regional and headquarters staff.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, FEMA did not believe a plan was warranted to address long-standing coordination issues associated with its existing hybrid grants management model, as recommended in GAO's February 2016 report. According to the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA believes strongly in the importance of close and collaborative relationships between headquarters and regional grants staff. Further, FEMA stated the Grant Programs Directorate at headquarters already has in place numerous steps to ensure coordination and collaboration with regional grants staff. However, these steps by FEMA were already in place when GAO conducted its review in 2015 and early 2016, yet GAO identified continuing challenges related to coordination between headquarters and regions in conducting monitoring visits and providing consistent guidance to state grantees. As a result, GAO continues to believe that without a plan with time frames, goals, metrics, and milestones detailing how officials intend to resolve long-standing challenges associated with FEMA's existing hybrid grants management model, these challenges will continue to hamper the effectiveness of interactions between FEMA and state and local stakeholders in implementing the grant programs.
    Recommendation: To enable more sophisticated and comprehensive awareness of states' NIMS implementation, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop policies and procedures for regional staff to review after-action reports from preparedness exercises within their region, and headquarters staff to review these evaluations in order to have a better understanding of NIMS implementation.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, FEMA officials provided an update on the status of actions taken in response to our report. In the update, FEMA officials said the National Integration Center (NIC) is holding consultative sessions with state and local emergency managers to ensure the revised National Incident Management System (NIMS) doctrine and implementation objectives is operationally sound from the perspective of FEMA's stakeholders. They expect to complete this effort by September 30, 2017. Pending completion of this effort, the recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 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.
    Recommendation: To address PKEMRA, the Secretary of Homeland Security should take action to address the requirements of Section 692 to implement subcontractor limitations or request that Congress amend the law to delete Section 692.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, DHS took steps to ask Congress to repeal PKEMRA Section 692, which prohibits the use of subcontracts for more than 65 percent of the cost of cost-reimbursement type contracts that exceed the simplified acquisition threshold. DHS submitted a legislative change proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), who approves such proposals before they are submitted to Congress. OMB approved the proposed change for PKEMRA Section 692 in April 2016. We will provide additional updates as information becomes available.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that adequate data collection efforts by state insurance regulators produce sufficient, reliable data to oversee the LPI market, NAIC should work with the state insurance regulators to develop and implement more robust policies and procedures for the collection of annual data from LPI insurers to ensure they are complete and reliable.

    Agency: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that adequate data collection efforts by state insurance regulators produce sufficient, reliable data to oversee the LPI market, NAIC should work with the state insurance regulators to complete efforts to obtain more detailed national data from LPI insurers.

    Agency: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better facilitate the coordination of--and accountability for--the estimated billions of dollars in federal geospatial investments, to reduce duplication, and, specifically, to make progress toward an effective national infrastructure and to improve oversight on federal spending on geospatial data and assets, the Director of OMB should improve oversight of progress on the NSDI by requiring federal agencies to report on their efforts to establish and implement policies for identifying geospatial metadata on the Geospatial Platform and their procedures for utilizing the Marketplace feature of the Geospatial Platform before making new investments in geospatial data.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 7, 2017, OMB had not yet taken steps to require all federal agencies that invest in geospatial data to report on their efforts to establish and implement policies and procedures for utilizing the Geospatial Platform before making new investments in geospatial data. OMB officials in stated in December 2016 that they were in discussion with the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) on how to best address this issue, possibly in future guidance. On September 7, 2017, OMB officials stated that there have been no changes to the status of this recommendation, but that they anticipate the recommendation will be considered further once the new FGDC Steering Committee leadership and membership are in place; and the NSDI Strategic Plan actions and the potential for a new geospatial policy update are determined. However, OMB did not provide anticipated dates for these activities.
    Recommendation: To better facilitate the coordination of--and accountability for--the estimated billions of dollars in federal geospatial investments, to reduce duplication, and to help ensure the success of departmental efforts to improve geospatial coordination and reduce duplication, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the designated senior agency official for geospatial information to develop and implement internal procedures to ensure that it accesses the Geospatial Platform Marketplace before it expends funds to collect or produce new geospatial data to determine (1) whether the information has already been collected by others and (2) whether cooperative efforts to obtain the data are possible.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The United States Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) issued a departmental regulation in August 2016 covering enterprise geospatial data management. The regulation applies to all Agriculture agencies, organizations and contractors, and addresses all geospatial authoritative data sources. It states that all Agriculture agencies and staff offices will follow documented procedures approved by the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to conduct a formal search of the Geospatial Marketplace prior to expending funds for geospatial data acquisitions. However, Agriculture has yet to provide the OCIO-approved documented procedures, or evidence of their implementation. According to an Agriculture official in July 2017, the new procedures are under review, and they hope to have implemented them by the end of December 2017.
    Recommendation: To increase coordination between various levels of government and reduce duplication of effort, resources, and costs associated with collecting and maintaining accurate address data, Congress should consider assessing the impact of the disclosure restrictions of Section 9 of Title 13 and Section 412 of Title 39 of the U.S. Code in moving toward a national geospatial address database. If warranted, Congress should consider revising those statutes to authorize the limited release of addresses, without any personally identifiable information, specifically for geospatial purposes. Such a change, if deemed appropriate, could potentially result in significant savings across federal, state, and local governments.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: There has been no legislative action identified as of August 16, 2017. Addressing this action, which GAO suggested in February 2015, could increase coordination between various levels of government and reduce duplication of effort, resources, and costs associated with collecting and maintaining accurate address data.
    Director: Chris P. Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the Secretary of Homeland Security's ability to assess national preparedness and provide management oversight of federal interagency efforts to close previously identified capability gaps, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA--in coordination and collaboration with the National Security Council Staff and other federal departments and agencies--to collect information on and regularly report to the Secretary the status of federal interagency implementation of corrective actions identified (1) through prior national-level exercises and (2) following real-world incidents, specifically major disasters.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, FEMA officials reported that the agency had developed an approach for collecting and reporting on the status of federal interagency corrective actions from Level I disasters to add to the current practice of reporting on national level exercises. According to officials, the proposed approach was under review and the agency plans to coordinate with the other federal departments and agencies before submitting their proposal to DHS for final approval. In August 2017, FEMA's National Preparedness Directorate reported an expected completion date of December 29, 2017. Pending completion of this effort, this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote forward-looking construction and rebuilding efforts while FEMA phases out most subsidies, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should direct FEMA to consider amending NFIP minimum standards for floodplain management to incorporate, as appropriate, forward-looking standards, similar to the minimum standard adopted by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, the Department of Homeland Security reaffirmed that they agreed with the recommendation, and would begin implementing it after implementing the statutory mandates in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The Department estimated that it would begin implementing our recommendation in 2018 and complete its implementation by 2020.
    Recommendation: To promote greater resilience to climate change effects in U.S. agriculture, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RMA to consider working with agricultural experts to recommend or incorporate resilient agricultural practices into their expert guidance for growers, so that good farming practices take into account longterm agricultural resilience to climate change.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2016, USDA issued Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry: Implementation Plan and Progress Report as USDA's framework for helping farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners respond to climate change, through voluntary and incentive-based actions. The report establishes long-term goals for improving agricultural resilience to climate change, which could reduce federal fiscal exposure for federally-insured crops. However, USDA has framed its resilience-building actions for producers as voluntary, rather than incorporating them into the good farming practices required to be eligible for insurance payouts. As a result, it is unclear to what extent federal crop insurance policyholders will use the information provided to improve their resilience.
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To establish full-risk rates for properties with previously subsidized rates that reflect their risk for flooding, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop and implement a plan, including a timeline, to obtain needed elevation information as soon as practicable.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As we reported in February 2016 in GAO-16-190, FEMA has taken limited action to implement this recommendation. For example, FEMA noted that the agency would evaluate the appropriate approach for obtaining or requiring the submittal of information needed to determine full-risk rates for subsidized properties. FEMA also said it would explore technological advancements and engage with industry to determine the availability of technology, building information data, readily available elevation data, and current flood hazard data that could be used to implement the recommendation. However, FEMA officials also said that the agency faced a cost challenge with respect to elevation certificates and that obtaining these certificates could take considerable time and cost. They noted that requiring policyholders to incur the cost of obtaining elevation certificates would not be consistent with NFIP's policy objective to promote affordability. The officials added that the agency encourages subsidized policyholders who seek to ensure the appropriateness of their NFIP rates to voluntarily submit elevation documentation.
    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: 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: Brown, Orice Williams
    Phone: (202)512-5837

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve strategic planning, performance management, and program oversight within and related to NFIP, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a comprehensive workforce plan according to PKEMRA that identifies agency staffing and skills requirements, addresses turnover and staff vacancies, and analyzes FEMA's use of contractors.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to FEMA officials, as of July 2016, FEMA is in the process of developing a Workforce Strategic Plan they say will contribute to organizational performance and mission by enabling FEMA to align the overall workforce with strategic priorities. FEMA expected to complete the plan by the first quarter of FY2017. As of December 2016, FEMA officials said they were still working to implement this recommendation and agreed to provide us with an update of their progress.
    Recommendation: To improve FEMA's policies, procedures, and systems for achieving NFIP's program goals, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to consider the costs and benefits of implementing an interim system for FEMA and updating its document management policies and procedures while waiting for DHS to implement an agencywide electronic document management system.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FEMA officials stated that, as of July 2016, FEMA is working to pilot an Electronic Records Management System (ERMS). They said that they expected to have all email records in an electronic state by December 31, 2016, and all records in an electronic state by December 31, 2019. They said that they expect the end state in 2019 to meet the Presidential Directive and NARA guidelines. As of December 2016, FEMA officials said they were still working to implement this recommendation and agreed to provide us with an update of their progress.
    Recommendation: To improve FEMA's policies, procedures, and systems for achieving NFIP's program goals, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to establish timelines for and complete the development and implementation of FEMA's revised acquisition process, in line with the DHS Acquisition Directive 102-01, including a rollout process with staff training and a mechanism to better ensure that all acquisitions undergo the necessary reviews.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FEMA officials stated that, as of July 2016, a Disaster Acquisitions Response Team (DART) was in place along with metrics in place to monitor the team's success. They said they had also awarded a contract to serve as a contract file repository and that previously scanned contract files would be uploaded by December 31, 2016. As of December 2016, FEMA officials said they were still working to implement this recommendation and agreed to provide us with an update of their progress.