Emergency Management: Preliminary Observations on FEMA's Community Preparedness Programs Related to the National Preparedness System, Statement of William O. Jenkins, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and Response, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 320KB]

"By law, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), located in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is to develop a national preparedness system (NPS)-FEMA includes community preparedness programs as part of the NPS. FEMA's budget to operate these programs made up less than one half of 1 percent of its $7.9 billion budget for fiscal year 2009. These programs include the Citizen Corps program and its partner programs, such as Fire Corps, and rely on volunteers to coordinate efforts and assist first responders in local communities. DHS's Ready Campaign promotes preparedness through mass media. This testimony provides preliminary observations on (1) challenges FEMA faces in measuring the performance of Citizen Corps, its partner programs, and the Ready Campaign and (2) actions FEMA has taken to develop a strategy to encompass how Citizen Corps, its partner programs, and the Ready Campaign operate within the context of the NPS. This testimony is based on work conducted from February 2008 to October 2009. GAO analyzed documents, such as FEMA's strategic plan, and compared reported performance data with observations from 12 site visits, selected primarily based on the frequency of natural disasters." The results are not projectable, but provide local insights." This document was revised on December 16, 2009.

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