This fifth annual report updates key information from the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) January 2021 report by examining the status of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) public-private partnership program agreements, including the purposes for which CBP used the funds and donations from these agreements in 2020 and 2021. GAO collected and analyzed information on any new Reimbursable Services Program (RSP) agreements, Donations Acceptance Program (DAP) agreements, and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for both programs for 2020 and 2021, excluding those analyzed in GAO's January 2021 report. GAO also analyzed data on use of the programs and interviewed CBP officials to identify any significant changes to how the programs are administered.
The Secret Service Overtime Pay Extension Act includes a provision for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on the extent of progress made by the Secret Service in implementing the panel's recommendations. This report addresses the progress that the Secret Service has made toward implementing the panel's recommendations. For this report, GAO reviewed relevant Secret Service planning and implementation documents, analyzed agency training data from fiscal years 2014 through 2020, and interviewed agency officials.
The U.S. nuclear enterprise comprises two portfolios managed by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). DOD and NNSA have begun implementing some processes to improve risk management within their respective nuclear portfolios. However, they have not established joint processes to periodically identify, analyze, and respond to risks that affect the joint U.S. nuclear enterprise, and report information about these risks to stakeholders. DOD and NNSA have interdependencies among their nuclear programs, including among the weapon and delivery platform systems of the strategic nuclear triad. These interdependencies may result in additional risks to individual program schedules and costs. Absent a risk management process for the joint enterprise, senior leaders may not be able to effectively manage risks, make informed resource decisions, or accept risks.
One common sentiment that can hold people back from thinking outside the box is, “That’s how it’s always been done.” Lessons learned and best practices are critical components of disaster preparedness efforts. However, no matter how many lessons are learned and best practices are discovered, the pursuit for new lessons and even better practices should never end. In this January 2022 edition of the Domestic Preparedness Journal, a new year begins with four new ways of looking at disaster preparedness.
Collaboration between public entities and private companies is essential to prepare for disasters. However, current partnerships can be formal and cumbersome to the point of detriment, or impromptu and do little to achieve their goals. This unmet need to find appropriate partnership mechanisms could be addressed by the Harvard National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI)’s Predictable Surge framework, a model presented in Domestic Preparedness Journal in August 2019. It aims to inform an emergency manager’s understanding of the response ecosystem and productively engage potential private partners. This model has been further developed through a pilot with the Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), located in Providence, Rhode Island, in the summer of 2021.
A novel plan that offers partnership in keeping the United States electric grid stable and reliable could be a win-win for consumers and utility operators. The largest ever simulation of its kind, modeled on the Texas power grid, concluded that consumers stand to save about 15 percent on their annual electric bill by partnering with utilities. In this system, consumers would coordinate with their electric utility operator to dynamically control big energy users, like heat pumps, water heaters and electric vehicle charging stations.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), today announced $103 million in awards to improve the retention of health care workers and help respond to the nation’s critical staffing needs by reducing burnout and promoting mental health and wellness among the health care workforce.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Department of Education released a toolkit outlining federal resources available to help Puerto Rico recover and rebuild safe, healthy, and modernized school facilities.
The proliferation of climate change, political strife, and general societal divisiveness is changing the nature of the work of emergency managers. The (ongoing) COVID-19 global pandemic, devastating hurricane and wildfire seasons, tenuous political situations, and broad unrest impact local communities in significant ways. Emergency managers are those who officials trust to lead response and recovery to this growing list of emergencies and disasters. They facilitate multi-agency responses to complex incidents, often serving in silence while providing critical backbone services.
The NAC strives for equitable, coordinated, and outcome-driven solutions for the emergency management field. Through important discussions, the report compiled by this diverse body confronts the critical issues facing the field and represents the NAC’s final consensus on them.
Responding to outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases is just one of the many challenges emergency planners and responders in rural localities face. Unfortunately, the infrequent nature of these events makes it easy to put off the planning, training, and research needed to fully prepare for animal disease outbreaks.
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month . Every year since 2010, the President has dedicated the month to raise awareness about human trafficking and to educate the public about how to identify and prevent this crime. The U.S. Department of State raises awareness of human trafficking domestically and abroad, through U.S. embassies and consulates.
Based on GAO’s preliminary results, in fiscal year 2020, the effectiveness of federal agencies’ implementation of requirements set by the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA) varied. For example, more agencies reported meeting goals related to capabilities for the detection and prevention of cybersecurity incidents, as well as those related to access management for users. However, inspectors general (IG) identified uneven implementation of cyber security policies and practices.
Virtual currency is increasingly used illicitly to facilitate human and drug trafficking, according to GAO’s review of agency documentation and data and interviews with officials. For example, the number of suspicious activity reports filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) that involve virtual currency and drug trafficking increased fivefold (from 252 to almost 1,432) from calendar year 2017 to 2020. However, in a sensitive version of this report, GAO found that data from selected federal agencies on virtual currency use for human and drug trafficking may not be consistently captured.
by Eric Kant, Joel Thomas, Chauncia Willis, Sarah K. Miller, Nissim Titan, Tzofit Chen, Brian Kruzan, Camila Tapias & Alexa Squirini -
When incidents are catastrophic and/or happen in compromised environments, complexity can increase rapidly and dramatically, compromising response objectives and resulting in catastrophic failure. The cost of these failures is measured in destruction and human lives, making even minimal reductions in capabilities untenable. A rapidly changing environment requires that the modern emergency manager is capable of quickly understanding community needs, including the needs of underserved populations and traditionally underrepresented groups.
“Human trafficking takes place on every mode of transportation in America – and we must change that,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “I ask all transportation professionals to join this effort, and it’s equally important for commuters and travelers to be empowered to recognize and report signs of human trafficking anywhere it happens in our transportation systems.”
The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the release of nearly $260 million in highway safety grants. The funds will help address the traffic safety crisis on America’s roads by helping states and territories support a broad array of traffic safety priorities. When full-year distributions are completed, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will increase the funding available for these vital life-saving programs by 31% over the previous fiscal year's levels.
The 2021 National Preparedness Report summarizes progress made, and challenges that remain, in building and sustaining the capabilities needed to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats, hazards, and incidents that pose the greatest risk to the nation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of the Interior (DOI) and FEMA today announced the establishment of a Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. Establishing this commission fulfills a key provision of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and represents a critical step in combating the nation’s wildfire crisis and improving resilience in America’s landscapes.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, is announcing the availability of nearly $48 million in American Rescue Plan funding for community-based organizations to expand public health capacity in rural and tribal communities through health care job development, training, and placement.