Homeland Security: Actions Needed to Improve Response to Potential Terrorist Attacks and Natural Disasters Affecting Food and Agriculture, Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate [open pdf - 3MB]
"The President issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) -9 in 2004 to establish a national policy to defend the food and agriculture systems against terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. HSPD-9 assigns various emergency response and recovery responsibilities to the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security (DHS), and others. In addition, Emergency Support Function (ESF) -11 addresses the federal food and agriculture response during emergencies and is coordinated by USDA. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to evaluate (1) the extent to which there is oversight of federal agencies' overall progress in implementing HSPD-9; (2) the steps USDA has taken to implement its HSPD-9 responsibilities for response and recovery and challenges, if any; and (3) the circumstances under which USDA has coordinated an ESF-11 response and challenges it faces, if any. GAO reviewed key documents; surveyed states; and interviewed agency, state, and industry officials. GAO's nine recommendations include that (1) DHS resume efforts to coordinate agencies' HSPD-9 implementation efforts, (2) USDA develop a department-wide strategy for implementing its HSPD-9 responsibilities, and (3) USDA ensure that after-action reports are completed. USDA, HHS, and DHS generally agreed with GAO's recommendations. The National Security Staff stated they agree that a review of HSPD-9 is appropriate and will look for an opportunity to do so."