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GAO: FEMA Has Taken Steps to Strengthen Grant Management But Some Challenges May Remain

A GAO report has found that FEMA has addressed recommendations to strengthen its grant management programs, but because some efforts will not be complete until 2020 it is too early to assess their full effectiveness.

In 2012, GAO identified coordination challenges among Federal Emergency Management Agency grant programs that share similar goals and fund similar projects, which contribute to the risk of duplication among the programs. It recommended that FEMA take steps, as it develops its new grant management system, to collect project information with sufficient detail to identify potential duplication among the grant programs, which FEMA has done.

In 2014, the agency modified a legacy grants data system to capture more robust grant project-level data, and in fiscal year 2017, procured a software tool and developed a set of standard operating procedures to assist its staff in identifying potentially duplicative projects, which should help strengthen the administration and oversight of its grant programs. FEMA is also developing a new grants management modernization system to consolidate and better manage its grants, which GAO is currently reviewing.

In 2011, GAO recommended that FEMA complete a national preparedness assessment of capability gaps at each level based on tiered, capability-specific performance objectives to enable prioritization of grant funding, and the agency has taken some steps toward this.

In 2018, FEMA reported developing capability-specific performance objectives that will enable a national preparedness assessment of capability gaps, but because these efforts will not be completed till 2020 it is too early to tell how this will impact grant allocations.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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