On June 25, 2006, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) headquarters building suffered flooding during a period of record rainfall and sustained extensive damage to its infrastructure. IRS officials ordered the closure of the building until December 2006 to allow for repairs to be completed. IRS headquarters officials reported activating several of the agency's emergency operations plans. Within 1 month of the flood, over 2,000 employees normally assigned to the headquarters building were relocated to other facilities throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. GAO was asked to report on (1) how IRS emergency operations plans address federal guidance related to continuity planning and (2) the extent to which IRS emergency operations plans contributed to the actions taken by IRS officials in response to the flood. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed federal continuity guidance, reviewed IRS emergency plans, and interviewed IRS officials.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Internal Revenue Service||1. To strengthen the ability of IRS to respond to the full range of potential disruptions to essential operations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should revise IRS internal emergency planning guidance to fully reflect federal guidance on the elements of a viable continuity capability, including the identification and prioritization of essential functions; the preparation of necessary resources and alternate facilities; and the regular completion of tests, training, and exercises of continuity capabilities.|
|Internal Revenue Service||2. To strengthen the ability of IRS to respond to the full range of potential disruptions to essential operations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should revise IRS emergency plans in accordance with the new internal guidance.|