Skinner: FEMA lacks strong IT management

The Federal Emergency Management Agency improved its computer systems in 2006, but still has no strategic plan to guide long-term IT investments, according to a new audit by Homeland Security Department Inspector General Richard L. Skinner.

The audit was performed between December 2005 and April 2006. It found that FEMA made progress in preparing for the 2006 hurricane season, including increasing the capacity of the National Emergency Management Information System, improving online access and strengthening verifications for registration.

However, FEMA did not make any significant headway guiding long-term IT investments and system development, including continued work in developing the complex, customized emergency management information system, the audit said.

"Constrained by limited resources, FEMA has focused its efforts on preparing for the 2006 hurricane season and has made little progress in addressing long-term needs, such as updating strategic plans, defining cross-cutting requirements and evaluating systems alternatives," the report states.

The report said lack of personnel for managing IT system development, as well as funding constraints, have hampered IT planning and development at the agency.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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