The government watchdog said it's unclear whether Ohio effectively used federal Homeland Security grants because it didn't have adequate performance measures and accounting practices – and that might leave the state potentially ill-prepared in responding to disasters.
The Homeland Security Department's inspector general summarized 18 audits that were conducted on 13 states, four territories, and the District of Columbia in fiscal 2014. Collectively, they were awarded about $447 million in State Homeland Security Program and Urban Areas Security Initiative grants by FEMA.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency may have provided $177 million in public assistance grants for damages related to 2004 and 2005 Florida hurricanes that a specific private insurance provider should have covered, the department watchdog recently found.
On his last day in the Senate, Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn issued a critical report on the Homeland Security Department, saying it's doing a substandard job from border security to counterterrorism to cybersecurity.
The DHS inspector general said the department has generally improved the security of its information systems – including trusted Internet connections, continuous monitoring and strong authentication – in line with the Federal Information Security Management Act, which provides a standard baseline that agencies should comply with. However, agencies within DHS aren't consistently following certain policies and procedures.
In reviewing and analyzing information from six randomly selected federal agencies, as well as interviewing many others, GAO found a few agencies' websites haven't incorporated responsive design and that could make it harder for users to find content.
The agency is not requiring that established targets for reducing administrative costs during disasters be met, congressional investigators said in Dec. 17 report.
After meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over complaints about flood damage claims from homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy, several U.S. lawmakers said agreed-to reforms should help victims resolve issues and get the benefits they need.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency risks mismanaging disaster relief funds because it doesn't track costs or performance data for offices established to deal with long-term recovery efforts, a recently released internal audit found.
While the Government Accountability Office found that FEMA — which is the Homeland Security Department's lead agency responsible for such grants — required states to provide justification for such funding starting in fiscal 2012, the data is still unreliable.