Homeland Security: DHS Improved its Risk-Based Grant Programs' Allocation and Management Methods, But Measuring Programs' Impact on National Capabilities Remains a Challenge

GAO-08-488T Published: Mar 11, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 2008.
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Since 2002, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has distributed over $19 billion in homeland security grants to enhance the nation's preparedness and response capabilities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for all preparedness efforts including allocating and managing these grants. This testimony examines (1) the process and methods to allocate homeland security grants to state and local governments, (2) how DHS communicates with states and localities in making grant allocation decisions, (3) what challenges affect the expeditious spending of DHS grant funds by states and localities; and (4) the extent that DHS measured program outcomes as part of its efforts to monitor the expenditure of grant dollars. GAO's testimony is based on products issued from April 2005 through July 2007 on DHS's grant management system, and on GAO's ongoing mandated work related to FEMA's risk-based grant distribution processes for fiscal years 2007 and 2008. To conduct this work, GAO reviewed relevant documents on FEMA's risk analysis model and interviewed agency officials.

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