IG: FEMA needs centralized IT for disaster relief
IG recommends investment in IT system
The Federal Emergency Management Agency should centralize how it
buys disaster-aid goods and services into a single system
supported by integrated information technology systems, its parent
department's inspector general recommends.
FEMA, part of the Homeland Security Department, currently uses a
combination of warehoused goods, interagency agreements, new contracts
and existing contracts to get disaster supplies and services, and
decisions about disaster relief sourcing don't allow for centralized
decisions, DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner wrote in a report
published Sept. 1.
Also, FEMA’s processes for disaster relief sourcing are inefficient,
duplicative, not strategic and not transparent, Skinner wrote.
“We recommend that FEMA adopt the single-point ordering concept
and invest in the necessary information technology systems to make
sourcing and supply movement transparent,” Skinner wrote.
FEMA agreed with the recommendation and previously had agreed
in principle that it needs to implement a single-point ordering concept
for disaster relief goods and services, the report said.
“However, implementation of this concept has been limited owing
to existing stovepipes, overreliance on the existing sourcing process,
and poor integration of information technology systems,” Skinner wrote.
Earlier this year, FEMA was seeking a contractor
to help develop its Total Asset Visibility program in its logistics
management unit to provide greater transparency into the purchase and
disbursement of disaster-related goods and services.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.