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    Subject Term: "Emergency preparedness"

    30 publications with a total of 65 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Valerie C. Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure progress is made toward the implementation of any IT enhancements needed to establish electronic public health situational awareness network capabilities mandated by PAHPRA, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to task an integrated project team, made up of an IT project manager and business owner, with including specific actions in the Public Health and Medical Situational Awareness Strategy Implementation Plan for conducting all activities required to establish and operate the network.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure progress is made toward the implementation of any IT enhancements needed to establish electronic public health situational awareness network capabilities mandated by PAHPRA, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to task the integrated project team with developing a project management plan that includes measurable steps--including a timeline of tasks, resource requirements, estimates of costs, and performance metrics--that can be used to guide and monitor HHS's actions to establish the network defined in the plans.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure progress is made toward the implementation of any IT enhancements needed to establish electronic public health situational awareness network capabilities mandated by PAHPRA, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to conduct all IT management and oversight processes related to the establishment of the network in accordance with Enterprise Performance Life Cycle Framework guidance, under the leadership of the HHS CIO.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Michael J. Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take additional steps to ensure that overseas posts complete annual updates of their EAPs within required time frames, such as identifying posts that are late in completing their annual updates and continuing to follow up with those posts until they complete their annual EAP updates.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by generating outreach e-mails to mission staff and expanding the audience for monthly overdue list for those posts overdue in certifying their Emergency Action Plans. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should establish a monitoring and tracking process to ensure that DS fully reviews and documents the review of key sections of EAPs submitted to it during the annual EAP review cycle.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by adding a feature to their Post Emergency Guidance and Authorizing System due for release in 2018. This feature would consolidate their Emergency Action Plan (EAP) review and publication history for individual EAP sections into a single report for review and tracking. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take steps to make the EAP more readily usable during emergency situations. For example, State could develop a more streamlined version of the EAP--consisting of key sections, checklists, and contact lists--that could be used by overseas post staff, in addition to the full EAP. In addition, for its new system planned for later this year, State could consider including requirements for streamlined EAPs.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by incorporating a streamlined Emergency Action Plan format into their Post Emergency Guidance and Authorizing System due for release in 2018. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that overseas posts complete and report completion of required drills within mandated time frames.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by incorporating the drill reporting requirement into their Post Emergency Guidance and Authorizing System due for release in 2018. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that overseas posts complete required lessons learned reports following authorized or ordered departures and submit the reports to State headquarters for analysis.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by developing resources to guide embassies' efforts to conduct post-crisis lesson learned discussions, including a cable sent to embassies providing a list of questions for consideration. State indicated these steps should be completed by the end of fiscal year 2017. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Joe Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As DOD plans to respond to a pandemic, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and other DOD officials, as appropriate, to use DOD's existing coordination mechanisms with HHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to explore opportunities to improve their preparedness and response to a pandemic if DOD's capabilities are limited.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As HHS plans to respond to a pandemic, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to use HHS's existing coordination mechanisms with DOD and FEMA to explore opportunities to improve their preparedness and response to a pandemic if DOD's capabilities are limited.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    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: 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: Elizabeth H. Curda
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that HHS agencies and offices fully understand the requirements and processes for the temporary reassignment authority, their responsibilities under the authority, and that ASPR is adequately and comprehensively assessing the effect of the authority on public health emergency response and medical surge, the Secretary of HHS should direct ASPR to conduct outreach to HHS agencies and offices that administer programs eligible for the reassignment authority to inform them of their responsibilities and ASPR's expected time frames for reviewing and approving states' and tribes' requests for personnel reassignments, and inform them of their responsibilities and ASPR's expectations for reviewing states' and tribes' after-action reports.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    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 HHS agencies and offices fully understand the requirements and processes for the temporary reassignment authority, their responsibilities under the authority, and that ASPR is adequately and comprehensively assessing the effect of the authority on public health emergency response and medical surge, the Secretary of HHS should direct ASPR to develop a plan to evaluate states' and tribes' after-action reports to assess the impact of the reassignment authority on states' public health emergency response and medical surge and to provide technical assistance as necessary.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    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: David B. Gootnick
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that USAID reimburses funds in accordance with section 9002 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015, the Administrator of USAID should reverse reimbursements that were not made to the same appropriation account as the account from which USAID obligated the funds.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: USAID concurred with the recommendation. In written comments on a draft of this report, USAID noted that it is examining whether sufficient appropriate resources exist to support all of the obligations against the accounts that were improperly reimbursed. As of September 2017, USAID is in the process of reversing the improper reimbursements. We will continue to monitor USAID's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that USAID reimburses funds in accordance with section 9002 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015, the Administrator of USAID should reverse reimbursements for which there is no documentary evidence that the obligation was incurred to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Ebola outbreak.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: USAID concurred with the recommendation. In written comments on a draft of this report, USAID stated that it would reverse reimbursements for which the documentation was lacking that the obligation was incurred to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Ebola outbreak. As of September 2017, USAID is in the process of reversing the reimbursements. We will continue to monitor USAID's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that USAID reimburses funds in accordance with section 9002 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015, the Administrator of USAID should determine whether reversing any of these reimbursements results in the obligation of funds in excess of appropriations in violation of the Antideficiency Act and, if so, report any violations in accordance with law.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: USAID concurred with the recommendation. In written comments on a draft of this report, USAID noted that USAID's Office of the Chief Financial Officer has been notified of a potential funds control violation and that USAID's ongoing review will determine whether an Antideficiency Act violation occurred. USAID further noted that, in the event it finds an Antideficiency Act violation, the agency would notify the violation in accordance with the law. In September 2017, USAID told GAO that it is finalizing the determination regarding the potential Antideficiency Act violation. We will continue to monitor USAID's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that USAID complies with reimbursement provisions that may arise in future appropriations laws, the Administrator of USAID should develop written policies and procedures for the agency's reimbursement process.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: USAID concurred with the recommendation. In written comments on a draft of this report, USAID noted that the agency will develop written policies and procedures that adequately address reimbursement provisions of applicable appropriations laws. In September 2017, USAID told GAO that it is in the process of finalizing the written policies and procedures for the agency's reimbursement process. We will continue to monitor USAID's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen USAID's monitoring and evaluation of cash transfer and food voucher projects and help ensure improved program oversight of these projects, the USAID Administrator should take steps to ensure that final reports submitted for cash transfer and food voucher projects comply with USAID's minimum data requirements.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, USAID said it had entered into an institutional support contract in December 2016 to address this recommendation. Support staff under this contract will be responsible for assisting each geographic team to ensure that implementing partners adhere to existing award processes and procedures, including compliance with reporting on minimum data requirements. USAID noted that the revised target completion date is 9/30/2017.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USAID's monitoring and evaluation of cash transfer and food voucher projects and help ensure improved program oversight of these projects, the USAID Administrator should strengthen the indicators USAID uses to measure the timeliness, cost-effectiveness, and appropriateness of Emergency Food Security Program cash transfer and food voucher projects.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, USAID stated that it released an updated Annual Program Statement for Emergency Food Assistance Programs in December 2016, which addresses this recommendation. As implementation provides data to support a closure request, USAID anticipates completing this recommendation in Fiscal Year 2017. The revised target completion date is 9/30/2017.
    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: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that decision makers have immediate visibility into all capabilities of the National Guard that could support civil authorities in a cyber incident, the Secretary of Defense should maintain a database that can fully and quickly identify the cyber capabilities that the National Guard in the 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia have and could be used--if requested and approved--to support civil authorities in a cyber incident.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better prepare DOD to support civil authorities in a cyber incident, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, the Commander of U.S. Northern Command, and the Commander of U.S. Cyber Command to conduct a tier 1 exercise that will improve DOD's planning efforts to support civil authorities in a cyber incident. Such an exercise should also address challenges from prior exercises, such as limited participant access to exercise environment, inclusion of other federal agencies and private-sector cybersecurity vendors, and incorporation of emergency or disaster scenarios concurrent to cyber incidents.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: 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

    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: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As part of their ongoing efforts to strengthen oversight and improve the overall quality of information included in DOD's annual prepositioning reports in order to provide congressional decision makers with complete and relevant information, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to disclose in the report the fact that reconstitution funding data are current as of the end of the fiscal year, identify significant changes reported in these data from year to year, and provide explanations as to the reasons for the changes.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, DOD has not included any language in its annual prepositioning report that addresses this recommendation.
    Recommendation: As part of their ongoing efforts to strengthen oversight and improve the overall quality of information included in DOD's annual prepositioning reports in order to provide congressional decision makers with complete and relevant information, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in its planned update to its War Reserve Materiel Policy document, to add language to clarify when and how risk assessments should be performed.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, DOD has not updated its DODI 3110.06 War Reserve Policy document.
    Recommendation: As part of their ongoing efforts to strengthen oversight and improve the overall quality of information included in DOD's annual prepositioning reports in order to provide congressional decision makers with complete and relevant information, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to include in the annual prepositioned stock report a section that identifies omitted prepositioned stock information and indicates where that information can be found.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, DOD has not included in its annual report a secton that identifies omitted prepositioned stock information and where that information can be found.
    Director: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD's planning and processes for supporting civil authorities in a cyber incident, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to issue or update guidance that clarifies roles and responsibilities for relevant entities and officials--including the DOD components, supported and supporting commands, and dual-status commander--to support civil authorities as needed in a cyber incident.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Defense concurred with the recommendation and indicated that, in response, it would update existing agency guidance (e.g., doctrine, directives, instructions) or develop new guidance as appropriate. As of October 2016, DOD has not provided additional information concerning the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance accountability for key risk-management activities and facilitate coordination with federal and industry stakeholders regarding electromagnetic risks, the Secretary of Homeland Security should designate roles and responsibilities within the department for addressing electromagnetic risks and communicate these to federal and industry partners.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 2016 update to our proposed recommendation, DHS reported that the Cyber, Infrastructure and Resilience (CIR) Policy Office within the DHS Office of Policy is working with DHS components to identify and articulate the roles of the National Protection and Programs Directorate, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Science and Technology Directorate, and others regarding to address electromagnetic risks. As part of this effort, CIR is to coordinate the development of a joint roles and responsibilities document to be communicated through existing partnership structures with internal and external entities.
    Recommendation: To more fully leverage critical infrastructure expertise and address responsibilities to identify critical electrical infrastructure assets as called for in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Energy direct responsible officials to review FERC's electrical infrastructure analysis and collaborate to determine whether further assessment is needed to adequately identify critical electric infrastructure assets, potentially to include additional elements of criticality that might be considered.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 2016 update to our proposed recommendation, DHS reported that the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) will increase collaborative outreach activities with FERC staff that will include a review of identified critical substations developed by FERC. The intended outcome of this review is to inform DHS activities regarding identification and prioritization of critical infrastructure assets for use during steady state and response activities. NPPD is also to inform FERC of its criticality modeling capabilities through the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) to enhance engagement with FERC's electric power subject matter expertise and inform future capability developments regarding response to and recovery from events such as electromagnetic pulse.
    Recommendation: To more fully leverage critical infrastructure expertise and address responsibilities to identify critical electrical infrastructure assets as called for in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Energy direct responsible officials to review FERC's electrical infrastructure analysis and collaborate to determine whether further assessment is needed to adequately identify critical electric infrastructure assets, potentially to include additional elements of criticality that might be considered.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOE provided an update (60-day letter) reiterating their intent to continue with actions identified previously to address the GAO recommendation, namely that the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability was to review the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's electrical infrastructure analysis, and subsequently engage with FERC and DHS to identify if any additional elements of criticality should be considered.
    Recommendation: To enhance federal efforts to assess electromagnetic risks and help determine protection priorities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for National Protection and Programs Directorate and the Assistant Secretary for the IP to work with other federal and industry partners to collect and analyze key inputs on threat, vulnerability, and consequence related to electromagnetic risks--potentially to include collecting additional information from DOD sources and leveraging existing assessment programs such as the Infrastructure Survey Tool, Regional Resiliency Assessment Program, and DCIP.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 2016 update, DHS reported that the department had completed the planned refresh of the Strategic National Risk Assessment, which was intended to incorporate potential impacts to the power system from electromagnetic events. In addition, DHS reported that the Electricity Sub-sector Coordinating Council created an Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) task force, which met in April 2016 and is currently working to develop a joint industry and government approach to address EMP. It was further noted that DHS and DOE initiated a joint study on the effects of EMP on the electric power sector - led by Los Alamos National Laboratory and the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) - to analyze the hazard environments, impacts, and consequences of EMP and GMD on U.S. electric power infrastructure. In addition, DHS noted their support of a new effort by the Electric Power Research Institute and 39 industry partners to further study EMP vulnerabilities.
    Recommendation: To facilitate federal and industry efforts to coordinate risk-management activities to address an EMP attack, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Energy should direct responsible officials to engage with federal partners and industry stakeholders to identify and implement key EMP research and development priorities, including opportunities for further testing and evaluation of potential EMP protection and mitigation options.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: On March 9, 2016 DOE provided agency comments on GAO-16-243 concurring with the recommendation and identifying related actions. Specifically, DOE reported collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop a joint DOE/Industry EMP Strategy to include key goals and objectives and identification of R&D priorities. The Strategy is expected to be completed by August 31, 2016 to be followed by more detailed action plans. DOE reported that they will collaborate with DHS and DOD in development of the Strategy and action plans. DOE further noted that a report by the Idaho National Laboratory report also identifies potential technology gaps and includes recommendations for further R&D efforts, which will be incorporated when developing the forthcoming action plans.
    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: 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: Gerald Dillingham, Ph.D
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve the U.S. aviation sector's preparedness for future communicable disease threats from abroad, the Secretary of Transportation should work with relevant stakeholders, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, to develop a national aviation-preparedness plan for communicable disease outbreaks. Such a plan could establish a mechanism for coordination between the aviation and public health sectors and provides clear and transparent planning assumptions for a variety of types and levels of communicable disease threats.

    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: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen FCC's data collection efforts, the Chairman of FCC should develop a strategy to gather additional information on the IP transition to assess the transition's potential effects on public safety and consumers.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: FCC stated it will continue to use its existing strategy to obtain data necessary to ensure that core values remain intact through the tech transitions with present resource commitment levels. FCC plans to dedicate resources toward upgrading FCC systems and software to better use "big-data" capabilities.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the agencies have sufficient information to understand the effectiveness of their approach to wildland fires, and to better position them to develop appropriate and effective strategies for wildland fire management, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Director of the Office of Wildland Fire to develop specific criteria for selecting wildland fires for review and for conducting the reviews as part of their efforts to improve their approach to reviewing fires.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Forest Service amended its policy to reflect criteria it developed for selecting wildland fires for review. In addition, in August 2017, Forest Service officials told us the agency will host a "Risk Learning Summit" in November 2017 during which they plan to begin developing criteria for conducting fire reviews. They told us that once criteria are agreed upon, they will be reflected in Forest Service policy (through the Forest Service Manual) within a year or so of the summit (around November 2018).
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the agencies have sufficient information to understand the effectiveness of their approach to wildland fires, and to better position them to develop appropriate and effective strategies for wildland fire management, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Director of the Office of Wildland Fire to, once such criteria are established, revise agency policies to align with the specific criteria developed by the agencies.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Forest Service amended its policy to reflect criteria it developed for selecting wildland fires for review. In addition, in August 2017, Forest Service officials told us the agency will host a "Risk Learning Summit" in November 2017 during which they plan to begin developing criteria for conducting fire reviews. They told us that once criteria are agreed upon, they will be reflected in Forest Service policy (through the Forest Service Manual) within a year or so of the summit (around November 2018).
    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: Brown Barnes, Cindy S
    Phone: (202) 512-9345

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health to take steps to identify high risk facilities working with ammonium nitrate and develop options to target them for inspection.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In 2016, OSHA officials reported that implementation of their planned local emphasis programs focused on safe use and storage of ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia at fertilizer facilities was delayed due to litigation regarding process safety management enforcement in the fertilizer industry. As of July 2017, OSHA officials stated that with the recent conclusion of that litigation, OSHA is considering initiation of local emphasis programs focused on the storage and handling of ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia at fertilizer facilities. Once initiated, a local emphasis program requires a focused inspection program with facilities chosen at random from the list of facilities in appropriate industry codes. OSHA previously (December 3, 2014) issued guidance to Regional Administrators to assist OSHA officials in enforcing the ammonium nitrate storage requirements in the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard. We will close this recommendation when the local emphasis programs are initiated.
    Recommendation: To strengthen federal oversight of facilities with ammonium nitrate, the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator of EPA should direct OSHA and EPA, respectively, to consider revising their related regulations to cover ammonium nitrate and jointly develop a plan to require high risk facilities with ammonium nitrate to assess the risks and implement safeguards to prevent accidents involving this chemical.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 9, 2013, OSHA issued a Request for Information seeking, among other things, comments on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management standard and its Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard. The Request for Information specifically invited comments on safe work practices for storing, handling, and managing ammonium nitrate and on regulatory requirements to improve its approach to preventing the hazards associated with ammonium nitrate. As of July 2017, OSHA reports it has completed a Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Review Act panel to gather feedback from small businesses on updating its Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation. During the panel, the agency discussed the option of adding ammonium nitrate to the list of chemicals covered by PSM and collected comments. Currently, the PSM rulemaking is on the regulatory agenda under Long Term Action. According to OSHA officials, the agency will continue to collect comments on the option of adding ammonium nitrate to the list of highly hazardous chemicals covered by the PSM regulations as dictated by the rulemaking process. We will close this recommendation when OSHA decides what action to take as a result of the requests for information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen federal oversight of facilities with ammonium nitrate, the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator of EPA should direct OSHA and EPA, respectively, to consider revising their related regulations to cover ammonium nitrate and jointly develop a plan to require high risk facilities with ammonium nitrate to assess the risks and implement safeguards to prevent accidents involving this chemical.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, EPA issued a final rule to modify its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations. The agency decided not to propose any revisions to the list of regulated substances and therefore, did not address ammonium nitrate in the revised regulations. In a June 2016 update from EPA, EPA stated that OSHA is considering whether ammonium nitrate should be added to the list of chemicals subject to OSHA Process Safety Management regulations. According to the June 2016 update, EPA stated that while the agency is not presently proposing that ammonium nitrate be added to the list of substances subject to the RMP rule, the agency may elect to propose such a listing at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health to consider updating regulations for the storage of ammonium nitrate taking into consideration, as appropriate, other related standards and current practices.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: OSHA previously (December 3, 2014) issued guidance to Regional Administrators to assist OSHA officials in enforcing the ammonium nitrate storage requirements in the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard. In addition, on December 9, 2013, OSHA issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking, among other things, comments on potential revisions to the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard, which includes ammonium nitrate storage requirements. The RFI specifically invited comments on safe work practices for storing, handling, and managing ammonium nitrate and on regulatory requirements to improve its approach to preventing the hazards associated with ammonium nitrate. As of July 2017, this rulemaking is on the regulatory agenda under Long Term Action. We will close this recommendation when the agency decides what action to take as a result of the request for information.
    Director: Crosse, Marcia G
    Phone: (202)512-3407

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that HHS is adequately and comprehensively assessing HPP and PHEP awardees' performance and progress in meeting the medical and public health preparedness goals of the cooperative agreements, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct ASPR and CDC to develop objective and quantifiable performance targets and incremental milestones that correspond to the new HPP and PHEP performance measures, against which HHS can gauge progress toward the medical and public health preparedness goals of the cooperative agreements and direct technical assistance, as needed.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: Since we examined the HPP and PHEP cooperative agreements in 2012, ASPR had developed few targets for the HPP program measures or their corresponding indicators that were contained in the HPP performance measurement guidance documents issued for Budget Periods (BP) 2-5, ending June 30, 2017. Additionally, the new HPP performance measure implementation guidance for the 5-year project cycle from 2017-2022 introduces 28 performance measures, with few having targets?the guidance notes that corresponding goals or targets may be set at a later date after data from the first budget period of this new project cycle has been reviewed. Regarding PHEP, CDC had developed performance targets for about half of the performance measures as of the PHEP BP5 performance measurement guidance (BP5 ended June 30, 2017). These performance measures generally remain the same, with existing targets, for BP1 (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018) of the new 5-year budget cycle. GAO recognizes that it may not be appropriate to develop performance targets for every performance measure depending on the desired process or outcome; however, both agencies still have work to do in this area.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that HHS is adequately and comprehensively assessing HPP and PHEP awardees' performance and progress in meeting the medical and public health preparedness goals of the cooperative agreements, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should ensure that performance measures and targets remain consistent across the 5-year project cycle and that any future measures be comparable to determine whether awardees are making progress toward meeting short- and long-term medical and public health preparedness goals of the cooperative agreements.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: Since we first examined the HPP and PHEP cooperative agreements in 2012, ASPR and CDC had made efforts to maintain consistency in their performance measures, particularly in the last 3 years of the prior project cycle which ended June 30, 2017. However, because part of the recommendation includes consistency of performance measures into future project cycles, we also examined whether both cooperative agreements continued to use basically the same performance measures into the current 5-year cycle, which began July 1, 2017. ASPR's HPP has made a significant change in its performance measures, introducing a new set of 28 performance measures for this new 5-year cycle. CDC's PHEP performance measures generally remained consistent in the last two budget periods of the prior 5-year cycle, and remained generally the same for the first year of the new 5-year cycle (some measures were "retired," though key components from a measure may continue to be used by CDC in other types of reviews). As a result of the change to HPP's measures, GAO anticipates keeping this recommendation open at least for the next few budget periods, in order to determine whether HPP maintains consistency with its new performance measures during the new project cycle.
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better inform efforts for nuclear power plant emergency preparedness and planning, NRC Commissioners should obtain information on public awareness of radiological emergency preparedness for communities outside the 10-mile emergency planning zone and the likely response of those communities in the event of a radiological incident at a nuclear facility and consider how these results may affect estimates for shadow evacuations outside the zone.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    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
    Recommendation: In order to help build and maintain a national biosurveillance capability in a manner that accounts for the particular challenges and opportunities of reliance on state and local partnerships, we recommend the Homeland Security Council direct the National Security Staff to take the following action as part of its implementation of our previous recommendation for a national biosurveillance strategy: Ensure that the national biosurveillance strategy (1) incorporates a means to leverage existing efforts that support nonfederal biosurveillance capabilities, (2) considers challenges that nonfederal jurisdictions face in building and maintaining biosurveillance capabilities, and (3) includes a framework to develop a baseline and gap assessment of nonfederal jurisdictions' biosurveillance capabilities.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Homeland Security Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2010, GAO recommended a national biosurveillance strategy to provide a framework for building and maintaining a national biosurveillance capability. In October 2011, building on that recommendation, we called for such a strategy to address key challenges we identified in state and local biosurveillance by accounting for the need to leverage nonfederal resources. In July 2012, the White House released the National Strategy for Biosurveillance. A strategic implementation plan was to be published within 120 days of strategy issuance. The July 2012 strategy did not adequately address the issues we raised related to state and local biosurveillance and acknowledged but did not meaningfully address the need to leverage nonfederal resources. As of March 14, 2013 the implementation plan has not been released.
    Director: Currie, Christopher
    Phone: (404)679-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to help build and maintain a national biosurveillance capability---an inherently interagency enterprise---the Homeland Security Council should direct the National Security Staff to, in coordination with relevant federal agencies, charge this focal point with the responsibility for developing, in conjunction with relevant federal agencies, a national biosurveillance strategy that: 1) defines the scope and purpose of a national capability; 2) provides goals, objectives and activities, priorities, milestones, and performance measures; 3) assesses the costs and benefits associated with supporting and building the capability and identifies the resource and investment needs, including investment priorities; 4) clarifies roles and responsibilities of leading, partnering, and supporting a national capability; and 5) articulates how the strategy is integrated with and supports other related strategies' goals, objectives, and activities.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Homeland Security Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2012, the White House released the National Strategy for Biosurveillance to describe the U.S. government's approach to strengthening biosurveillance. A strategic implementation plan was to be completed within 120 days of the strategy issuance. As we testified in September 2012, the strategy did not fully meet the intent of our recommendation; however, when the implementation plan is complete, it may meet our recommendation. Specifically, the strategy did not provide the mechanism GAO recommended to identify resource and investment needs, including investment priorities. As of September 2015, GAO has not received a copy of the implementation plan for review and has not been able to confirm that it has been finalized and is considered operational by the White House and the key interagency partners.
    Director: Dagostino, Davi M
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to conduct its civil support missions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to conduct a review of staffing requirements for the Defense Coordinating Officers, Defense Coordinating Elements, and Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers in both the NORTHCOM and PACOM areas of responsibility that includes but is not limited to an assessment of staff size, subject-matter expertise, and military service composition by FEMA region.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation. DOD indicated several past and ongoing efforts will help address the recommendation. DOD highlighted, in particular, DOD Instruction 3025.16, "Defense Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (EPLO) Programs," published on September 8, 2011; and a draft instruction on "Defense Planning and Coordination in Support of Civil Authorities," which is undergoing substantial revision due to recent updates in the DOD initiative for DOD Support to Complex Catastrophes. DOD stated that is plans to issue the instruction in September 2014. In July 2013, U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) stated that as part of the Secretary of Defense's initiative to Improve DOD support in Complex Catastrophes, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in coordination with the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, based upon the requirements of NORTHCOM and U.S. Pacific Command, are to identify requirements and make recommendations to the Secretary of Defense to support effective DOD coordination and liaison with DOD's Federal, Regional, and State partners on complex catastrophe preparedness and response. As part of this effort, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness will consider the feasibility of joint billets for DCOs, DCEs, EPLOs, JRMPOs, and Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ)-States. As of September 2014, NORTHCOM's IG office stated that despite positive initiatives taken to date, a review of DCO/EPLO staffing requirements has not been completed. DOD, the Combatant Commands, and the Services would benefit from such an analysis. They added that despite positive actions taken to date to improve DCO/EPLO operations, multiple efforts are still ongoing that support this action item. DODD 3025.jj remains in development with OSD, the Services, and USNORTHCOM. A USNORTHCOM operational planning team is in the process of coordinating command and control relationships for DCOs and their Defense Coordinating Elements (DCE). Another effort is underway to revive the annual DSCA/IDR Preparedness Workshop, which provided a vehicle for coordination among all DOD DSCA participants to institutionalize these processes. USNORTHCOM and components are still evaluating requirements and potential solutions for providing additional staff support to the DCOs/DCEs.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202)512-6670

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to provide the Congress and federal and state officials with an accurate assessment of the progress being made toward the goal of full deployment of wireless E911, the Department of Transportation should work with state-level E911 officials, the National Emergency Number Association, and other public safety groups to determine which public safety answering points will need to have their equipment upgraded. This information should then be reflected in the PSAP database managed by NENA under contract with DOT. This will provide the baseline needed to measure progress toward the goal of full nationwide deployment of wireless E911 service.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO has made several attempts to contact DOT to update the status of this recommendation and are awaiting a reply.