Lee: FEMA working on biz relationships

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making sure proper business relationships are in place before it responds to this year’s hurricane season, the agency’s new deputy director of operations said today.

“Business relationships established on the fly are not as efficient for the taxpayer as we would like them to be,” Deidre Lee said at a Northern Virginia Government Contractors Council luncheon in Falls Church, Va.

Congress and the public berated FEMA last year after the agency spent millions of dollars on last-minute hurricane relief deals that yielded few results.

FEMA and the Homeland Security and Defense departments have made mistakes in their response to last year’s hurricanes, Lee said. “We have renewed focus to ensure we get it right,” she said.

FEMA is emulating DOD in establishing business relationships before crises occur, she said. “The U.S. goes to war shoulder to shoulder with contractors,” said Lee, former director of defense procurement and acquisition policy at DOD.

DHS and FEMA continue to work on response efforts to last year’s devastating storms, Lee said.

Almost three weeks into her new job, Lee said she expects to spend much of her first year at FEMA on acquisition. The agency must put a lot of money in place quickly to prepare for and react to the 2006 hurricane season, which starts June 1, she said.

FEMA is hiring more contracting officers, Lee said. The agency is hiring staff members under two- and four-year contracts and for permanent positions, she said. It is also hiring contractors.

Lee is responsible for overseeing and reinvigorating FEMA’s acquisition programs to aid its disaster response and recovery operations. She also provides counsel to DHS’ chief procurement officer and the undersecretary for management.

A 30-year veteran of federal government work, Lee left the General Services Administration in March after serving as its assistant commissioner for integrated technology services.

Her departure was another blow to the embattled agency, which has been hemorrhaging senior staff members in recent months since losing revenue and customers to alternative procurement methods.

Lee said she enjoys her new job and is happy at the agency. “It is a wonderful place to be,” she said.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.