DHS getting better at communications, state officials say

State homeland security directors nearly doubled their satisfaction with communications with the Homeland Security Department in 2008 in comparison to 2007, according to a new survey.

More than 75 percent of the state directors surveyed were satisfied with their communications with DHS in 2008, compared with the 42 percent who reported satisfaction in 2007, according to the survey prepared by the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices.

Eighty-three percent of the state directors prefer electronic communications with DHS, including e-mail messages  and Web communications, in comparison to other means, according to the survey.

Approximately 90 percent of the respondents reported using at least some of DHS' Ready.gov Web-based tools and resources to promote preparedness for emergencies. The most popular Ready.gov tools are the family emergency plan and the emergency supply kit, used by 83 percent and 75 percent, respectively, of the state directors in their state publicity campaigns.

Some respondents said past communications with DHS were erratic. However, last year saw significant improvements in the quality of information, the timeliness of the communications and the use of appropriate channels, the governors association said.

“DHS made an effort throughout the year to communicate regularly and effectively,” Will Ware, policy analyst for the association's Homeland Security and Technology Division, told Federal Computer Week today.

The survey results, released March 6, were based on responses from 43 of the 56 directors of state and territorial homeland security offices, divisions and departments.

About the Author

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

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