hurricanes,  both NEMIS and its support staff were stressed to the limit and 
that Herculean efforts were required to meet demands that exceeded several 
design requirements by an order of magnitude.   The tremendous effort 
required to meet the 2004 challenges logically evokes questions about the 
ability of FEMA's IT systems to prevail in supporting future disasters.  
Indeed, senior officials and a lead engineer for one of FEMA's primary 
systems repeatedly shared with us concerns about the system's ability to 
withstand potential multiple or catastrophic events.   
Fourth, given the IT issues expressed above, we believe that the EP&R CIO is 
not justified in referring to EP&R's  highly performing, well managed and 
staffed IT systems  and that our overall message that IT could be better 
managed is warranted.  Though the EP&R CIO suggested in his comments 
that a review with him,  may clear up some of the obvious inaccuracies,  it 
should be pointed out that we maintained ongoing communications with the 
EP&R CIO's office during the course of our audit.  For example, as requested, 
we met on a monthly basis with the EP&R CIO, or representative staff when 
the EP&R CIO was unavailable, to discuss audit progress, IT issues, and 
potential findings.  In addition, as discussed previously, we held an audit exit 
meeting with the EP&R CIO and key IT officials, providing, as a courtesy, the 
opportunity to submit informal comments on a preliminary draft of our report, 
which served as input to the draft subsequently distributed for formal written 
The EP&R CIO neither concurred nor non concurred with our 
recommendations, but instead provided additional detailed comments and 
information to update or supplement issues we outline in our report.  The 
following discussion provides our evaluation of each of the EP&R CIO's 
additional comments. 
FEMA's Support for DHS Strategic Goals:  The EP&R CIO provided a 
number of comments on our treatment of FEMA strategic planning issues, and 
these are discussed below: 
We disagree with the EP&R CIO's statement that our conclusion that 
 FEMA does not support DHS' strategic goals  is based on what the CIO 
calls a  misunderstanding of the relationship between FEMA's plans and 
metrics, and those of DHS.   Our audit did not seek to analyze 
comprehensively FEMA's strategic planning processes.  Rather, our 
objective was to review EP&R's approach for responding to and 
recovering from incidents.  In this context, we examined the strategic and 
IT plans in place to determine whether they are appropriately linked to 
Emergency Preparedness and Response Could Better Integrate Information Technology  
with Incident Response and Recovery 
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