IG: FEMA acquisition workforce still not prepared

Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s acquisition workforce has grown in recent years, acquisition employees are not yet fully prepared to handle major disasters, according to an independent audit published Dec. 17 by DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner.

The audit, prepared by the accounting firm Foxx and Co., recommends that FEMA prepare a strategic plan for its acquisition workforce and create policies and procedures for FEMA’s Office of Acquisition Management. The strategic plan should focus on setting standard operating procedures and rules for information sharing and communication, the audit states.

“FEMA has improved the capability of its acquisition workforce in a number of ways,” states the audit, which was posted on the DHS IG’s Web site. “For example, the acquisition organization has been reorganized and management and oversight improved, the number of acquisition staff has been greatly increased, and FEMA has increased training for its acquisition staff.”

“While this is a good first step, FEMA does not have the necessary plans and policies, or the well-prepared acquisition workforce, that it needs to respond to disasters that result in extraordinary levels of casualties, damage or disruptions,” the audit said.

Since 2005, FEMA’s authorized acquisition staff has increased to 155, up from 55 positions three years ago. FEMA has filled about 120 of those positions.

The audit also recommends that FEMA officials:
  • Coordinate with other federal acquisition organizations involved in disaster response.
  • Perform a staffing analysis to determine the appropriate size of the disaster assistance employee contracting cadre.
  • Develop a succession plan for FEMA’s Office of Acquisition Management staff.
  • Initiate a mentoring program.
  • Design a rotation program to move field acquisition staff into headquarters, and vice versa.
  • Provide training and guidance.

About the Author

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

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.