The review commissioned by FEMA found problems with the typical reimbursement process, stating that among other things, the long interval between debris removal and contractor payments drives up costs. FierceHomelandSecurity obtained an abridged copy of the review through a FOIA request.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized on Aug. 26 the use of federal fire management assistance grants for California to fight the fire, making FEMA money available to reimburse up to 75 percent of its costs.
The recovery from the tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., in 2011 thrived under the guidance of a citizen advisory group, that group's leader said Aug. 22 at an event in Washington, D.C.
In its extensive strategy (.pdf), the task force recommends the federal government provide a forum for the coordination of large-scale, regional infrastructure projects, to map out their interdependencies. The government should also establish guidelines to ensure the projects are built to withstand disasters and future climate change, the strategy says.
Working in an area affected by a disaster means connectivity can be a challenge. Cells on wheels and light trucks only go so far to re-establish connectivity, said Karole Johns, program manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster assistance improvement program.
"Oftentimes, you're the first one there. You're going to have the best infomation. We wanted to give you a way to share that," said Craig Fugate, the head of FEMA.
"With this new initiative, an initial supply of commodities...will reach disaster survivors more quickly and establish the supply chain from more remote centers," Regional Administrator Andrew Velazquez said in his testimony. The food banks will hold enough food for FEMA to respond to a mid-size disaster, he added--at no cost to FEMA for storage.
The new Coast Guard headquarters opened July 29, completing the first phase of the consolidation of the Homeland Security Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. Eventually, DHS plans to consolidate three dozen Washington-area offices at the new headquarters, located on the St. Elizabeths campus in the city's southeast quadrant.
A report from House Homeland Security Committee majority staff sympathetic to fusion centers says the relationship between centers and federal government is inconsistent and in some cases, toxic. The report (.pdf), released July 26, doesn't examine the quality of fusion center analysis, the subject of a critical report released last fall by the majority and minority staff of the permanent subcommittee on investigations within the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The directive sets out goals for the task force, one of which is to identify existing and recommend new policies that would help the expansion of national service and volunteer opportunities, such as AmeriCorps, FEMA Corps and other programs under the CNCS umbrella.