Systems to Support Response and Recovery Operations Need Improvement
Federal regulations require agency CIOs to promote the effective and efficient
design and operation of major information resources management processes.
They must develop, maintain, and facilitate the implementation of integrated
IT architectures to meet agency missions. The EP&R systems environment,
however, is not integrated and does not support effective information
exchange. Consequently, during disasters, the systems are not able to handle
increased workloads effectively, are not adaptable to change, and lack needed
capabilities. The reactive nature of EP&R's disaster response encourages
short term systems fixes rather than long term IT solutions. Taking the time
to define and document systems requirements fully and evaluate viable
alternatives to its complex, custom designed systems, will enable EP&R to
support its response and recovery operations and meet its mission needs
Unintegrated IT Environment
EP&R is working to complete an enterprise architecture to govern its IT
environment. Currently, however, its systems are unintegrated and do not
effectively share information. IT officials agree that it is essential to integrate
systems to support mission requirements better, but that decision must be
made in collaboration with the systems owners and program officials.
Linking the systems to state emergency management systems that rely upon
FEMA information to carry out state disaster management responsibilities
would also be beneficial.
FEMA Enterprise Architecture Development is Ongoing
Clinger Cohen Act of 1996
requires the CIO to develop, maintain, and
facilitate the implementation of a sound, enterprisewide IT architecture
enterprise architecture provides a blueprint of the hardware, software, and
related policies needed to achieve defined business objectives. Such an
architecture serves as the agency's road map to future systems development,
network updates or changes, and implementation of key federal requirements.
In 2001, FEMA developed an enterprise architecture document to serve as a
guide to creating and implementing e government initiatives. This road map
has served FEMA well, documenting both major successes and key initiatives.
For example, a few such initiatives were identified in the 2001 enterprise
architecture and are still operational today. These initiatives include:
Public Law 104 106
Emergency Preparedness and Response Could Better Integrate Information Technology
with Incident Response and Recovery