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.


About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Thu, Sep 3, 2009

Outsource the fuction to the military. DoD already supplies much of the quick-response supplies to FEMA, and has warehouses, contracts, and distribution systems in place.DoD is already chartered to do emergency support to civil agencies in disaster situations, so no new laws needed. And they already have a AV system in place. It isn't perfect, but it works. Why reinvent the wheel?

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group