FEMA mobilizes to respond to coronavirus pandemic
From NBCNews: Trumps’ Former Pick to Lead of FEMA Resigns from Agency.
From the Office of the Inspector General at DHS: FEMA’s Longstanding IT Deficiencies Hindered 2017 Response and Recovery Operations
GAO Blog article: Marking 40 years of FEMA.
See especially the last section on What’s Needed in the Future?
From Homeland Security Today: CISA’s Brian Harrell Focuses on Building Culture of Resiliency, One Threat at a Time.
On the heels of a “bomb cyclone” that slammed the Missouri River Basin with catastrophic flooding and more than a billion dollars in damage, Brian Harrell heads for Nebraska. The mission of the assistant secretary for infrastructure protection is to visit various critical sectors – from public and private electric utility plants to chemical plants – and to discuss with federal and state emergency management leaders the devastation of the recent severe flooding, address security at a chemical facility, and meet with the Nebraska State Police.
“Today I was able to witness the flooding devastation in Nebraska firsthand,” Harrell told Homeland Security Today on Thursday, adding that his department, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), “is dedicated to providing assistance, expertise, and assessments to our dams, utilities, chemical plants, and infrastructure owners and operators in Nebraska.”
From Homeland Security Today: PERSPECTIVE: The Lingering Scars of the Government Shutdown on Contractors
There was a time when the government was seen as the most stable customers that any company could possess. While not always timely or efficient, government still operated with regularity and dependability. But that is no longer true. Reliable budget and appropriation cycles no longer occur as continuing resolutions and short-term funding bills increasingly provide incremental “pay as you go government.” That’s a dreadful enough environment to operate in as a government but it’s even more precarious if you’re a government contractor who is dedicated to supporting that customer.
DHS has long been a mixed bag in terms of being a dependable customer. While certainly funded with deep pockets for most of its operations, poorly defined requirements, procurement operations challenges, frequent leadership vacuums and less than stellar engagements with the private sector have made DHS a customer with which many companies are refraining from doing business. Add to those conditions the prospect of being obligated to perform government support functions, and then not get paid because the administration and Congress can’t fulfill their budgetary responsibilities, and you can understand why there is a bitter taste in their mouth.
The Diva would add that recent threats to holding back promised federal funds for recovery in Puerto Rico and the CA wildfires, to name just two major disasters, is another reason why the federal government is not a reliable partner.
New report from FEMA: State-Led Public Assistance Guide (68 pp)
From Politico: FEMA’s staffing lags well behind its post-Puerto Rico goals.The disaster agency promised to hire more people and improve training after 2017. It failed to meet its targets for both.
But 15 months after Hurricane Maria crashed into Puerto Rico, killing 2,975 people, and almost six months after FEMA released its after-action assessment, the agency is lagging significantly behind its targets in training and recruiting, according to a POLITICO review.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has directed far less resources to helping California cope with the devastating Camp Fire than it typically sends to states dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane, or other natural disasters. But experts say that’s by design, as California’s robust disaster response planning and operations make the feds less necessary in the early stages of fighting a disaster.