Managing Preparedness Grants and Assessing National Capabilities: Continuing Challenges Impede FEMA's Progress, Statement of William O. Jenkins, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 431KB]

"From fiscal years 2002 through 2011, the federal government appropriated over $37 billion to the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) preparedness grant programs to enhance the capabilities of state and local governments to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks. DHS allocated $20.3 billion of this funding to grant recipients through four of the largest preparedness grant programs--the State Homeland Security Program, the Urban Areas Security Initiative, the Port Security Grant Program, and the Transit Security Grant Program. The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop a national preparedness system and assess preparedness capabilities--capabilities needed to respond effectively to disasters. FEMA could then use such a system to help it prioritize grant funding. This testimony addresses the extent to which DHS and FEMA have made progress in managing preparedness grants and measuring preparedness by assessing capabilities and addressing related challenges. GAO's [Government Accountability Office] comments are based on products issued from April 2002 through February 2012 and selected updates conducted in March 2012. GAO has made recommendations to DHS and FEMA in prior reports to strengthen their management of preparedness grants and enhance their assessment of national preparedness capabilities. DHS and FEMA concurred and have actions underway to address them."

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