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Project SAFECOM: Key Cross-Agency Emergency Communications Effort Requires Stronger Collaboration

GAO-04-494 Published: Apr 16, 2004. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 2004.
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One of the five priorities in the President's Management Agenda is the expansion of electronic government (e-government)--the use of Internet applications to enhance access to and delivery of government information and services. Project SAFECOM is one of the 25 initiatives sponsored by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to implement this agenda. Managed by the Department of Homeland Security, the project's goal is to achieve interoperability among emergencyresponse communications at all levels of government, while at the same time realizing cost savings. GAO assessed the government's progress in implementing Project SAFECOM.


Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Science and Technology Directorate To enhance the ability of Project SAFECOM to improve communications among emergency personnel from federal, state, local, and tribal agencies, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Science and Technology to complete written agreements with the project's identified stakeholders, including federal agencies and organizations representing state and local governments. These agreements should define the responsibilities and resource commitments that each of those organizations will assume and include specific provisions that measure program performance.
Closed – Not Implemented
Other federal agencies no longer contribute financial resources to the SAFECOM program, since it became solely a DHS program. Regarding performance measures, DHS officials have established some performance measures; however, several key aspects of the program are not being measured. Moreover, none of the program's measures assess the extent to which the first responder community finds the SAFECOM tools helpful or the effectiveness of the program's outreach initiatives.

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E-governmentEmergency preparednessEmergency responseGovernment information disseminationHomeland securityIntergovernmental relationsInternetInteroperabilityProgram evaluationProgram management