Continuity of the Federal Government in a Critical National Emergency, a Neglected Necessity

LCD-78-409: Published: Apr 27, 1978. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 1978.

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The Federal Preparedness Agency (FPA) is responsible for setting policies for planning the continuity of government in a national emergency and for coordinating plans among 30 federal agencies.

FPA does not have the necessary resources or organizational structure to adequately fulfill its responsibilities. Efforts at coordination have been ineffective because groups established for this purpose have met infrequently. Planning assumptions and other guidance provided by FPA were outdated. Deficiencies in preparedness plans were not adequately identified in reports submitted by agencies or in FPA reviews. Participation in the National Defense Executive Reserve established to strengthen preparedness has declined. Because of FPA lack of enforcement capability, the agencies have developed different approaches in developing plans. Some agencies have not identified their essential emergency functions, and guidance in this area has not been adequate. Agencies are required to set up teams of key personnel to carry out essential functions at emergency facilities, but assignment of personnel to teams was incomplete, training was often inadequate, and arrangements for activation of teams was incomplete. Facilities for relocation of teams lack certain basic requirements, and agencies have not made detailed plans for problems that would be encountered in emergencies. FPA ability to assess damage could be limited because of problems in its resource data system.

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