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DHS IG: FEMA’s IT Mgmt Deficiencies Resulted in Emergency Response Challenges

Jeff Brody

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a report stating that the Federal Emergency Management Agency failed to implement information technology management practices necessary to support response and recovery operations.

The report, released last week, states that FEMA’s deficiencies in IT management led to challenges in emergency response to hurricanes and wildfires in 2017. According to the report, personnel had to use personal computers rather than FEMA systems to achieve mission goals.

“Amid this management environment, FEMA has not provided its personnel with the IT systems necessary to support response and recovery operations effectively,” the IG stated. “FEMA’s legacy IT systems are not integrated and lack the functionality needed to keep pace with high-volume processing.”

FEMA also failed to establish a strategy for managing its aging IT systems and equipment on a day-to-day basis, according to the IG. Lack of funding for IT modernization also resulted in systems that lack real-time efficiency and interoperability with external platforms.

The IG report cites the FEMA chief information officer’s limited IT management authority and decentralized resource allocation procedures as factors that contributed to the agency’s lack of effective IT management.

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