Monday, December 20, 2010

GAO Speak--DHS/FEMA flunk the QHSR

Interesting how the DOD employment of the Quaddrennial Review process as a management tool has now been mandated for most of the Executive Branch departments. GAO never actually uses the words flunk but in a recent report indicate that DHS met only 3 of 9 statutory taskings in its QHSR. Why is this important? Because several of the taskings are fundamental to DHS/FEMA missions and responsibilities.

While Craig Fugate appears to be fighting well above his weight in the Washington scene, including DHS, his embracing of web 2.0 is of great interest to me. Also his speeches. I did try to post comments three times on the new FEMA blog and they never appeared. I know that my frequent comments and suggestions on the DHS Leadership Journal also were rejected. And in fact that Journal also lapsed into silence after a passage of time. Is any of this important. Only that it suggests that "Not invented here" still rules as a culture in DHS/FEMA. Hoping I am wrong.

One key tasking in the QHSR was to FEMA (as helpfully pointed out by DHS to GAO) and that was forming an ongoing analysis of the capabilities and preparedness of the OFAs [other federal agencies] to conduct their roles in the National Response Framework [NRF]including preparedness metrics for documented roles and missions in that framework and areas where FEMA does not have knowledge or assets.

DHS in its reply to GAO argued over the status of one tasking and said it should be measured accomplished but notbably GAO did not change its report card. Then to further obfuscate, DHS argued that it could not tell GAO more because of its embargo on details of teh FY 2012 budget to be submitted in February after the STATE OF THE UNION address. Well that is not going to save DHS or FEMA since it looks like budget cutting and vicious hearings in the HOUSE under the new Republican Leadership will be well under way long before the expiration of the now expected 100 day extension of the CR for FY 2011 this week.

Not only was the QHSR not view as a management opportunity but now it appears that it mismanagement will be the tip of the spear in Congressional expression of its disatisfaction with DHS and FEMA. The devil as always is in the details.

It does look like DHS and FEMA are not skilled in the basics of dealing with the government as it is much less how their leadership views other branches of government and even the key players in the Executive Branch such as Treasury, DOD, OMB and others. Well these organizations can kill DHS dead as fast as any event so stay tuned.

ON another subject, DEA is looking more and more like it should have been incorporated into DHS and DHS is more and more getting into DEA issues. The only question is how is this situation viewed by the powers that be in DOJ and especially the AG--Eric Holderman?