Lastly, some users said that if FEMA had adopted an off the shelf product 
instead of NEMIS, it would have the additional functions that they need.  For 
example, multiple off the shelf enterprise resource planning systems 
developed by the private sector could possibly support coordination of 
response and recovery activities.  Once FEMA has completely defined all 
business requirements, it will be in a better position to evaluate available 
commercial products. 
Reactive IT Implementation to Meet Expedited Requests 
Federal regulations require that agencies plan in an integrated manner for 
managing IT throughout its life cycle.  However, EP&R's tendency to rush 
systems acquisition to meet immediate needs has encouraged ad hoc   
development and implementation of IT programs, which has contributed to 
many systems integration and performance problems.  The EP&R CIO budget 
in FY 2004 was approximately $80 million.  About 90 percent of that amount 
was earmarked for operating and maintaining existing systems, leaving only 
10 percent for new IT initiatives.  Consequently, the CIO is dependent on the 
program offices for any new systems funding.   
EP&R has documented plans which propose initiatives and priorities for 
strategic implementation of long term IT solutions.  However, the program 
offices in many cases are the owners of the systems, typically do not fund the 
long term strategic IT initiatives, and take a cursory approach to short term 
systems acquisition.  They often do not authorize or fund IT initiatives until 
disasters occur and specific systems needs become critical.  The CIO is 
working to implement a process for reviewing and approving capital 
investments including IT investments to prevent this from repeating.  Until 
this process is fully implemented, however, the CIO has no means of ensuring 
that IT investments are well integrated or aligned with mission needs.   
For example, nine months prior to the 2004 hurricanes, FEMA's recovery 
program offices provided funding to develop and implement an online 
registration capability for NEMIS.  The online system is to allow disaster 
victims to submit claims via the internet without having to call the National 
Processing Service Centers. When the 2004 hurricanes occurred, the number 
of disaster victims registering for assistance increased significantly, thus 
overloading systems and staff of the National Processing Service Centers.  
The EP&R CIO was able to deploy the online registration system a full three 
months earlier than initially planned.  However, an EP&R CIO official 
involved in development of the online systems said that its implementation 
did not follow standard change management or configuration management 
Emergency Preparedness and Response Could Better Integrate Information Technology  
with Incident Response and Recovery 
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