The DHS Inspector Generalâ€™s report on FEMAâ€™s readiness is public. Thanks to reader William Cumming for sending in a copy. The IG identified nine areas in which FEMA must be invested in order to be ready for catastrophic emergencies. The report shows how FEMA fairs in each of the areas using a four-tiered scale of substantial progress, moderate progress, modest progress, and limited or no progress.
FEMA officials told IG investigators â€œthat budget shortfalls, reorganizations, inadequate IT systems, and confusing or limited authorities negatively affected their progressâ€ in these areas researched. While the IG agrees with FEMA, it also suggests that FEMA would benefit from better â€œknowledge managementâ€ and plans for sustaining initiatives.
After a July 31, 2007, hearing on FEMA preparedness, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform tasked the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with providing a high-level assessment of DHS and FEMAâ€™s preparedness for the next catastrophic disaster.
The report identifies key areas for managing catastrophic disasters and determines the progress FEMA has made in these areas since Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. FEMAâ€™s funding spiked following Hurricane Katrina, but is today approaching to pre-Katrina levels.
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The report reveals that FEMA has shown moderate progress across the board, but several FEMA shortcomings identified in the report are vital to managing this yearâ€™s upcoming hurricane season. FEMA was found to have made limited progress in establishing regulations, policies, and operating procedures for major emergencies, in staffing and training, and in the management of mission assignments.
Next, the OIG plans to review the development of FEMAâ€™s plans, policies, and procedures for managing major disasters. This includes the development and implementation of the National Response Framework, community preparedness, and planning for catastrophic scenarios.