Homeland Security: Management of First Responder Grants in the National Capital Region Reflects the Need for Coordinated Planning and Performance Goals, Report to the Chairman, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 1MB]

Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the National Capital Region (NCR), comprising jurisdictions including the District of Columbia and surrounding jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, has been recognized as a significant potential target for terrorism. GAO was asked to report on (1) what federal funds have been allocated to NCR jurisdictions for emergency preparedness; (2) what challenges exist within NCR to organizing and implementing efficient and effective regional preparedness programs; (3) what gaps, if any, remain in the emergency preparedness of NCR; and (4) what has been the role of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in NCR to date. GAO recommends that the Secretary of DHS (1) work with local NCR jurisdictions to develop a coordinated strategic plan to establish capacity enhancement goals and priorities; (2) monitor the plan's implementation; and (3) identify and address gaps in emergency preparedness and evaluate the effectiveness of expenditures by conducting assessments based on established standards and guidelines. DHS and the ONCRC Senior Policy Group generally agreed with GAO's recommendations and noted that a new governance structure, adopted in February 2004, should accomplish essential coordination.

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