GAO: US Homeland Defense and Civil Support Needs Improvement

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–April 29, 2010.  Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced the release of two Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on homeland defense and civil support. The reports, Department of Defense Interagency Coordination for Its Homeland Defense and Civil Support Missions (GAO 10-364) and Department of Defense Capabilities to Support Civil Authorities during Disasters (GAO 10-386) detail progress on Department of Defense (DoD) coordination with other agencies and analyze DoD capabilities in a civil defense capacity.

Department of Defense Interagency Coordination for Its Homeland Defense and Civil Support Missions (GAO 10-364)

• GAO has found that more must be done to improve DoD’s coordination with federal partners – current coordination efforts are outdated, disjointed, and lack the comprehensive approach required by the National Response Framework. Current DoD efforts impede the ability for seamless response operations.

• GAO recommends that DoD create a timeline to modernize and update strategies and to properly track relevant agency liaisons.

Department of Defense Capabilities to Support Civil Authorities during Disasters (GAO 10-386)

• GAO found that DoD’s recent capabilities assessment was not comprehensive and lacked interagency agreement and coordination and its general civil defense mission was outdated, unclear and without clearly defined roles.

• GAO recommends DoD must address capability gaps for its civil support mission by completing a capabilities-based assessment, updating policies, establishing a system to track civilian requests that is accessible to DoD’s interagency partners, and properly staff its civil defense coordination.

Chairman Thompson released the following statement with the release of the reports:

“As Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, I requested that the GAO review the Department of Defense’s (DoD) preparedness and coordination efforts with DHS in support of its homeland defense and civil support missions.

These complimentary GAO reports demonstrate that significant gaps still exist in these vital support missions. From outdated strategies to a lack of coordination with federal partners, GAO describes a number of challenges that must be addressed immediately by DoD and its federal partners.

This month the Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing on WMD, which demonstrated the importance of a coordinated and well-planned homeland defense capability especially in response to large scale disasters. We must be ready to effectively support state and local governments. I look forward to working with DHS and DoD and its federal partners as we try to strengthen our homeland defense system to more effectively coordinate response to catastrophic events.”

 

Source: homeland.house.gov