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entitled 'Emergency Management: Preliminary Observations on FEMA's 
Community Preparedness Programs Related to the National Preparedness 
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[Note: This document was revised on December 16, 2009. Subsequent to 
its issuance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identified 
limitations in the national sample FEMA used to develop estimates for 
its 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey. As a result, survey estimates 
cited in the original testimony may not represent the national 
population. FEMA’s estimates were subsequently replaced with data from 
FEMA’s 2007 Citizen Corps National Survey. GAO also mischaracterized 
the results of FEMA’s 2009 survey with regard to survey respondents’ 
possession of disaster supplies and has changed the text to correct 
this error.] 

Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and 
Response, Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
GAO: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT: 
Thursday, October 1, 2009: 

Emergency Management: 

Preliminary Observations on FEMA's Community Preparedness Programs 
Related to the National Preparedness System: 

Statement of William O. Jenkins, Jr., Director: 
Homeland Security and Justice Issues: 

GAO-10-105T: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-10-105T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on 
Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and Response, Committee on 
Homeland Security, House of Representatives. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

By preparing their families and property before an event, individuals 
can reduce a disaster’s impact on them and their need for first 
responder assistance, particularly in the first 72 hours following a 
disaster. By law, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 
located in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is to develop a 
national preparedness system (NPS)—FEMA includes community preparedness 
programs as part of the NPS. FEMA’s budget to operate these programs 
made up less than one half of 1 percent of its $7.9 billion budget for 
fiscal year 2009. These programs include the Citizen Corps program and 
its partner programs, such as Fire Corps, and rely on volunteers to 
coordinate efforts and assist first responders in local communities. 
DHS’s Ready Campaign promotes preparedness through mass media. This 
testimony provides preliminary observations on (1) challenges FEMA 
faces in measuring the performance of Citizen Corps, its partner 
programs, and the Ready Campaign and (2) actions FEMA has taken to 
develop a strategy to encompass how Citizen Corps, its partner 
programs, and the Ready Campaign operate within the context of the NPS. 
This testimony is based on work conducted from February 2008 to October 
2009. GAO analyzed documents, such as FEMA’s strategic plan, and 
compared reported performance data with observations from 12 site 
visits, selected primarily based on the frequency of natural disasters. 
The results are not projectable, but provide local insights. 

What GAO Found: 

FEMA faces challenges measuring performance for Citizen Corps, partner 
programs, and the Ready Campaign because it does not have a process to 
verify that data for its principal performance measure—the registered 
number of established volunteer organizations across the country—are 
accurate and the Ready Campaign is not positioned to control the 
distribution of its message or measure whether its message is changing 
individuals’ behavior. FEMA faces challenges ensuring that the 
information needed to measure the number of established, active 
volunteer units is accurate. For example, officials representing 17 
councils GAO contacted during its site visits stated that 12 were 
active and 5 were not. FEMA officials said that the new online 
registration process FEMA plans to adopt in 2010 will result in some 
programs being removed from FEMA’s registries. They said that FEMA 
expects to use the new process to collect more comprehensive data on 
membership and council activities. FEMA counts requests for literature, 
Web site hits, and the number of television or radio announcements made 
to gauge performance for the Ready Campaign, but FEMA does not control 
when its message is viewed because it relies on donated media, such as 
air time for television and radio announcements. Because changes in 
behavior can result from a variety of factors, including other 
campaigns, it is difficult to measure the campaign’s effect on changes 
in individuals’ behavior. 

FEMA’s challenges measuring the performance of community preparedness 
programs is compounded by the fact that it has not developed a strategy 
to encompass how Citizen Corps, its partner programs, and the Ready 
Campaign are to operate within the context of the NPS. In April 2009, 
GAO reported that FEMA’s National Preparedness Directorate (NPD), which 
is responsible for community preparedness, had not developed a 
strategic plan. GAO reported that instead of a strategic plan, NPD 
officials stated that they used a draft annual operating plan and Post- 
Katrina Act provisions to guide NPD’s efforts. However, the plan’s 
objectives do not include key elements of a strategy, such as how NPD 
will measure its progress meeting goals and objectives or the potential 
costs and types of resources and investments needed. GAO recommended 
that NPD develop a strategic plan to implement the NPS that contains 
these key elements. FEMA concurred with GAO’s recommendation and told 
GAO that it is taking actions to strengthen strategic planning. FEMA 
officials stated that they are reviewing implementation plans and 
policy documents, such as the National Preparedness Guidelines, and 
that community preparedness is a key element being considered in this 
process. FEMA has not set a date for completion of the National 
Preparedness System strategy, and the extent to which Citizen Corps, 
its partner programs, or the Ready Campaign will be included in the 
final strategy is not clear. GAO will continue to assess FEMA’s efforts 
related to community preparedness programs as part of its ongoing work. 
FEMA provided technical comments on a draft of this testimony, which 
GAO incorporated as appropriate. 

View [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-105T] or key 
components. For more information, contact William O. Jenkins, Jr., at 
(202) 512-8777 or jenkinswo@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in today's hearing to 
discuss federal efforts to encourage community involvement in preparing 
for all-hazard emergencies.[Footnote 1] The public plays an important 
role in national emergency preparedness. By preparing their families 
and property before an event, individuals can often reduce a disaster's 
impact on them and their need for first responder assistance, 
particularly in the first 72 hours following a disaster. For example, 
having at least a 72 hour supply of food and drinking water on hand can 
both sustain the individual and family in a disaster's aftermath and 
reduce the immediate demands for food and water delivered by first 
responders whose priority may be search and rescue. They can also 
potentially support first responders as trained volunteers, since the 
average person will likely be the first on the scene of a disaster. 
However, research shows that Americans could be better prepared for 
disasters, particularly based on two key indicators--the degree to 
which people report having disaster supplies set aside and have a 
household emergency plan. According to the Citizen Corps national 
survey for 2007, about half (53 percent) of U.S. households had 
disaster supplies in their homes, and 42 percent reported having a 
household emergency plan.[Footnote 2] More than half (57 percent) of 
the 2007 survey respondents said that they expected to rely on 
emergency responders in the first 72 hours following a disaster. The 
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator and leaders in 
the emergency management community are encouraging citizens to take 
actions to become more involved in preparing themselves and their 
communities, not only to mitigate the effects of a disaster, but to 
decrease their reliance on the federal government for goods and 
services during a catastrophic event and allow governments at all 
levels to target resources where they are most needed. 

FEMA encourages public preparedness through the Community Preparedness 
Division's Citizen Corps program, which is designed to bring together 
government and community leaders to involve citizens in all-hazards 
emergency preparedness and resilience, and the Ready Campaign, which 
makes literature and mass media content available to spread the 
preparedness message to individuals, families, and businesses. 
[Footnote 3] Citizen Corps is designed to promote the collaboration 
between local government and community leaders via local Citizen Corps 
councils. Individual councils are to promote preparedness activities 
and to encourage volunteering with federally sponsored programs that 
support first responders, referred to as Citizen Corps partner 
programs. Citizen Corps promotes five partner programs, two of which 
are supported by FEMA--the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and 
Fire Corps.[Footnote 4] The operating budgets for community 
preparedness programs currently represent less than one-half of 1 
percent of FEMA's total budget. In fiscal year 2009, FEMA's overall 
budget was about $7.9 billion, of which about $5.8 million was 
dedicated to operating community preparedness programs and $2.1 million 
was for the Ready Campaign. 

FEMA's national program office officials encourage state, local, 
regional and tribal governments and private and nonprofit community- 
based organizations to establish and sustain local Citizen Corps 
councils and partner programs, partly through federal funding for local 
efforts. Local Citizen Corps councils, CERTs, and Fire Corps all are 
considered "grass roots" organizations that use volunteers to operate 
programs in their respective communities. Citizen Corps councils and 
CERT programs are registered via the Internet and are potentially 
eligible to apply for federal grant funding through the state to 
support their program.[Footnote 5] According to Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS) data, approximately $269 million in FEMA homeland 
security grants (including grants for Citizen Corps councils, CERT, and 
Fire Corps) were awarded for community preparedness projects from 
fiscal years 2004 through 2008. In fiscal year 2008, funding for 
community preparedness grants represented about 1.9 percent of the 
total FEMA grant funding. Specifically, in fiscal year 2008, 
approximately $56 million went to community preparedness projects, out 
of more than $3 billion awarded in DHS grants to strengthen prevention, 
protection, response, and recovery capabilities at all levels of 
government. Appendix I provides additional information on DHS grants 
awarded for community preparedness purposes from fiscal year 2004 
through fiscal year 2008. 

In April 2009 we issued a report that discussed, among other things, 
the national preparedness system--a continuous cycle of (1) 
establishing policy and doctrine, (2) planning and allocating 
resources, (3) conducting training and exercises to gather lessons 
learned, and (4) assessing and reporting on the training and exercises 
to evaluate preparedness, including identifying any gaps in 
capabilities.[Footnote 6] Assessments and reports resulting from the 
national preparedness system are to be used to inform decision makers 
on what improvements are needed and how to target finite resources to 
improve preparedness for disasters.[Footnote 7] Our report recognized 
that developing and integrating the elements of the national 
preparedness system is a challenge for FEMA, and more specifically the 
National Preparedness Directorate (NPD), the FEMA component responsible 
for carrying out the key elements of the national preparedness system, 
in coordination with other federal, state, local, tribal, nonprofit, 
and private sector organizations. We reported that the size and 
complexity of the nation's preparedness activities and the number of 
organizations involved--both public and private--pose a significant 
challenge to FEMA as it leads the nation's efforts to develop and 
sustain a national preparedness system. We further stated that, to 
develop an effective system, FEMA is to coordinate and partner with a 
broad range of stakeholders. As part of the nation's preparedness 
system, the status of citizen and community preparedness can affect the 
demands on first responders in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. 

As requested, today I will discuss our preliminary observations on (1) 
what challenges, if any, FEMA faces in measuring the performance of 
Citizen Corps, its partner programs, and the Ready Campaign and (2) 
what actions, if any, FEMA has taken to develop a strategy to encompass 
how Citizen Corps, its partner programs, and the Ready Campaign are to 
operate within the context of the national preparedness system. My 
comments are based on our ongoing review of Citizen Corps, its partner 
programs, and the Ready Campaign requested by the Chairman of the 
Committee on Homeland Security, the Chairwoman of its Subcommittee on 
Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection, and the Chairman 
of this Subcommittee. The final results of this review will be issued 
in a report later this year. 

To address our objectives, we reviewed documentation, such as FEMA's 
strategic plan for 2008-2013, and interviewed officials at DHS's 
headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at 12 selected locations in five 
states--California, Florida, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas. We selected 
these states based on the frequency of declared natural disasters. In 
total, we conducted 41 interviews covering 53 organizations in the five 
states.[Footnote 8] The results from our interviews are not 
generalizable; however, they provide insights into the operations of 
local Citizen Corps and partner programs as well as their efforts to 
use Ready Campaign material to promote individual preparedness. We also 
analyzed FEMA's strategic plan and NPD's 2009 Operating Plan and 
compared these documents with criteria in our past work that discusses 
the six characteristics of an effective national strategy.[Footnote 9] 
In addition we reviewed and analyzed data on the number of registered 
Citizen Corps and its partner programs to determine how FEMA measures 
the performance of its programs and compared FEMA's data with the 
results of our work in the five states with criteria discussing best 
practices for performance measurement.[Footnote 10] Furthermore, we 
obtained and analyzed data on homeland security grants awarded from 
fiscal years 2004 through 2008. To determine the reliability of DHS 
grant data and data on the activities of FEMA Citizen Corps and partner 
programs, we interviewed DHS officials about their procedures for 
ensuring the accuracy of performance data and compared DHS's processes 
for compiling data on local community preparedness units with our past 
work on agency performance measurement. With regard to the Ready 
Campaign's tracking survey and data on donated media, we reviewed 
documents and interviewed Ready Campaign officials and Ad Council 
officials to discuss their process for ensuring data accuracy. We 
determined that these data were reliable for the purposes of this 
review. 

We are conducting this performance audit from February 2008 through 
October 2009 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit 
to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable 
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 
We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for 
our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 

In summary, FEMA faces challenges measuring performance for Citizen 
Corps, partner programs, and the Ready Campaign because (1) it relies 
on states to verify that data for its principal performance measure-- 
the registered number of established volunteer organizations across the 
country--are accurate and does not have a process for monitoring state 
validation efforts and (2) although the Ready Campaign controls the 
content of its message, it is not positioned to control the 
distribution of its message or measure whether its message is changing 
the behavior of individuals. FEMA officials said that FEMA expects to 
use a new, 2010 registration process to collect more comprehensive data 
on membership and council activities. Among other things, FEMA counts 
requests for literature, Web site hits, and the number of television 
announcements made to gauge performance for the Ready Campaign, but 
FEMA does not control when its message is viewed in various media 
because it relies on donated media, such as time to air television and 
radio announcements. Because changes in individuals' behavior can be 
the result of a variety of factors, including preparedness campaigns 
sponsored by other organizations, it is difficult to measure the Ready 
Campaign's effect on changes in individuals' preparedness behavior. 
FEMA's challenges in measuring the performance of citizen preparedness 
programs are compounded by the fact that it has not developed a 
strategy to encompass how Citizen Corps, its partner programs, and the 
Ready Campaign are to operate within the context of the national 
preparedness system. In April 2009, we recommended that NPD develop a 
strategic plan to implement the national preparedness system that 
contains such key elements as goals, objectives, and how progress in 
achieving them will be measured. FEMA agreed and reported that it is 
taking actions to strengthen strategic planning. FEMA stated that it is 
reviewing implementation plans and policy documents, such as the 
National Preparedness Guidelines, and that community preparedness is a 
key element being considered in this process. FEMA has not yet set a 
date for completion of the national preparedness system strategy, and 
the extent to which Citizen Corps, its partner programs, or the Ready 
Campaign will be included when the strategy is complete is not clear. 
We will continue to assess FEMA's efforts to measure the performance of 
the community preparedness programs and develop a strategy for 
integrating them into the national preparedness system as part of our 
ongoing work. 

FEMA provided technical comments on a draft of this testimony, which we 
discussed with FEMA officials and incorporated as appropriate. 

Background: 

The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (Post-Katrina 
Act)[Footnote 11] required that FEMA establish the national 
preparedness system to ensure that the nation has the ability to 
prepare for and respond to disasters of all types, whether natural or 
man-made, including terrorist attacks. The Community Preparedness 
Division is responsible for leading activities related to community 
preparedness, including management of the Citizen Corps program. 
According to fiscal year 2008 Homeland Security Grant Guidance, the 
program is to bring together community and government leaders, 
including first responders, nonprofit organizations, and other 
community stakeholders. Serving as a Citizen Corps council, government 
and nongovernment stakeholders are to collaborate in involving 
community members in emergency preparedness, planning, mitigation, 
response, and recovery. Councils and partner programs register online 
to be included in the national program registries. The Division also 
supports the efforts of non-DHS federal "partner programs," such as the 
Medical Reserve Corps, that promote preparedness and the use of 
volunteers to support first responders.[Footnote 12] The CERT program's 
mission is to educate and train people in basic disaster preparedness 
and response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and 
disaster medical operations, using a nationally developed, standardized 
training curriculum. Trained individuals can be recruited to 
participate on neighborhood, business, or government teams to assist 
first responders. The mission of the Fire Corps program is to increase 
the capacity of fire and emergency medical service departments through 
the use of volunteers in nonoperational roles and activities, including 
administrative, public outreach, fire safety, and emergency 
preparedness education. 

FEMA also is responsible for a related program, the Ready Campaign, 
which works in partnership with the Ad Council, an organization that 
creates public service messages, with the goals of raising public 
awareness regarding the need for emergency preparedness, motivating 
individuals to take steps toward preparedness, and ultimately 
increasing the level of national preparedness. The program makes 
preparedness information available to the public through its English 
and Spanish Web sites (www.ready.gov and www.listo.gov), through 
printed material that can be ordered from the program or via toll-free 
phone lines, and through public service announcements (PSA).[Footnote 
13] The Ready Campaign message calls for individuals, families, and 
businesses to (1) get emergency supply kits, (2) make emergency plans, 
and (3) stay informed about emergencies and appropriate responses to 
those emergencies. 

FEMA Faces Challenges Measuring Performance of Citizen Corps Programs 
and the Ready Campaign: 

FEMA faces challenges in measuring the performance of local community 
preparedness efforts because it lacks accurate information on those 
efforts. FEMA is also confronted with challenges in measuring 
performance for the Ready Campaign because the Ready Campaign is not 
positioned to control the placement of its preparedness messages or 
measure whether its message is changing the behavior of individuals. 

FEMA Faces Challenges Measuring Performance of Community Preparedness 
Efforts Because It Lacks Accurate Information on Local Programs: 

According to FEMA officials, FEMA promotes citizen preparedness and 
volunteerism by encouraging collaboration and the creation of community 
Citizen Corps, CERT, and Fire Corps programs. FEMA includes the number 
of Citizen Corps councils, CERTs, and Fire Corps established across the 
country as its principal performance measure. However, FEMA faces 
challenges ensuring that the information needed to measure the number 
of established, active units is accurate. In our past work we reported 
on the importance of ensuring that program data are of sufficient 
quality to document performance and support decision making.[Footnote 
14] Although not a measure under the Government Performance Result Act, 
FEMA programs report the number of local units registered as a 
principal performance measure; however, our work showed that the number 
of active units reported may differ from the number that actually 
exist.[Footnote 15] For example, as of September 2009: 

* Citizen Corps reported having 2,409 registered Citizen Corps councils 
nationwide that encompass jurisdictions where approximately 79 percent 
of the U.S. population resides. However, 12 of the 17 registered 
councils we contacted during our site visits were active and 5 were 
not. 

* The CERT program reported having 3,354 registered CERTs. Of the 12 
registered CERTs we visited, 11 were actively engaged in CERT 
activities, such as drills, exercises, and emergency preparedness 
outreach, or had been deployed to assist in an emergency or disaster 
situation, although 1 had members that had not been trained. One 
registered CERT was no longer active. 

State officials in two of the four states also said that the data on 
number of registered programs might not be accurate.[Footnote 16] One 
state official responsible for the Citizen Corps council and CERT 
programs in the state estimated that as little as 20 percent of the 
registered councils were active, and the state subsequently removed 
more than half of its 40 councils from the national Web site. Officials 
in the other state said that the national database is not accurate and 
they have begun to send e-mails to or call local councils to verify the 
accuracy of registrations in their state. These officials said that 
they plan to follow up with those councils that do not respond, but 
they were not yet certain what they planned to do if the councils were 
no longer active. These results raise questions about the accuracy of 
FEMA's data on the number of councils across the nation, and the 
accuracy of FEMA's measure that registered councils cover 79 percent of 
the population nationwide. 

Some change in the number of active local programs can be expected, 
based on factors including changes in government leadership, voluntary 
participation by civic leaders, and financial support. FEMA officials 
told us that the Homeland Security Grant Program guidance designates 
state officials as responsible for approving initial council and CERT 
registrations and ensure that the data are updated as needed. According 
to FEMA officials, however, in practice this may not occur. Community 
Preparedness Division officials said that they do not monitor whether 
states are regularly updating local unit registration information. 

FEMA officials said that FEMA plans to adopt a new online registration 
process for Citizen Corps councils and CERTs in 2010, which will likely 
result in some programs being removed from FEMA's registries. They said 
that FEMA expects to use the new registration process to collect more 
comprehensive data on membership and council activities. According to 
FEMA officials, updating initial registration information will continue 
to be the responsibility of state officials. The Citizen Corps Director 
noted that the Citizen Corps program does not have the ability to 
require all local units to update information, particularly councils or 
CERTS that receive no federal funding. According to the Fire Corps 
program Acting Director, a state advocacy program initiated in 2007 may 
help identify inactive programs as well as promote the Fire Corps 
program. As of September 2009, there were 53 advocates in 31 states. We 
will continue to assess this issue as part of our ongoing work. 

The Ready Campaign Faces Challenges Measuring Performance Because It Is 
Not Positioned to Control the Distribution of Its Preparedness Messages 
and Measure Whether Its Message Effects Individual Behavior: 

Currently, the Ready Campaign measures its performance based on 
measures such as materials distributed or PSAs shown. For example, 
according to a DHS official, in fiscal year 2008, the Ready Campaign 
had: 

* more than 99 million "hits" on its Web site, 

* more than 12 million pieces of Ready Campaign literature requested or 
downloaded, and: 

* 43,660 calls to the toll-free call numbers. 

The Ready Campaign relies on these measures because it faces two 
different challenges determining whether its efforts are influencing 
individuals to be more prepared. First, the Ready Campaign is not 
positioned to control the when or where its preparedness message is 
viewed. Second, the Ready Campaign is not positioned to measure whether 
its message is changing the behavior of individuals. 

With regard to the Ready Campaign's ability to control the distribution 
of its message, our prior work has shown that agencies whose programs 
rely on others to deliver services face challenges in targeting and 
measuring results in meeting ultimate goals, and when this occurs, 
agencies can use intermediate measures to gauge program activities. 
[Footnote 17] However, according to FEMA's Acting Director for the 
Ready Campaign, funds are not available for the Ready Campaign to 
purchase radio and television time to air its PSAs; rather, the Ready 
Campaign relies on donations of various sources of media. As a result, 
the Ready Campaign does not control what, when, or where Ready Campaign 
materials are placed when the media is donated. For example, what PSA 
is shown and the slots (e.g., a specific channel at a specific time) 
that are donated by television, radio, and other media companies are 
not under the Ready Campaign's control, and these are not always prime 
viewing or listening spots. Based on Ad Council data, the Ready 
Campaign's PSAs in 2008 were aired about 5 percent or less of the time 
by English and Spanish television stations during prime time (8:00 p.m. 
to 10:59 p.m.), and about 25 percent of the PSAs were aired from 1:00 
a.m. to 4:00 a.m. Similarly, about 47 percent of English radio and 
about 27 percent of Spanish radio spots were aired from midnight to 
6:00 a.m. FEMA officials said that with the release of its September 
2009 PSAs, they expect increased placement during hours where there are 
more viewers and listeners. 

Just as the Ready Campaign has no control over the time PSAs are aired, 
it does not control the type of media (e.g., radio and television) 
donated. Based on Ad Council data on the dollar value of media donated 
to show Ready Campaign materials (the value of the donated media is 
generally based on what it would cost the Ready Campaign if the media 
space were purchased), much of the value from donated media is based on 
space donated in the yellow pages. Figure 1 shows the value of various 
types of media donated to the Ready Campaign to distribute its message 
during 2008. 

Figure 1: Value of Media Donated in 2008 to Distribute Ready Campaign 
Message (in Millions of Dollars): 

[Refer to PDF for image: pie-chart] 

Yellow pages, $22.8: 50%; 
English radio, $8.1: 17%; 
Outdoor and transit, $7.4: 16%; 
Interactive media, $1.7: 4%; 
Spanish radio, $2.0: 4%; 
Cable television, $1.5: 3%; 
Broadcast television, $1.5: 3%; 
Other media, $1.6: 3%. 

Source: GAO analysis of Ad Council data. 

[End of figure] 

The Ready Campaign also faces a challenge determining the extent to 
which it contributes to individuals taking action to become more 
prepared--the program's goal. Measuring the Ready Campaign's progress 
toward its goal is problematic because it can be difficult to isolate 
the specific effect of exposure to Ready Campaign materials on an 
individual's level of emergency preparedness. Research indicates that 
there may be a number of factors that are involved in an individual 
taking action to become prepared, such as his or her beliefs as to 
vulnerability to disaster, geographic location, or income.[Footnote 18] 
A basic question in establishing whether the Ready Campaign is changing 
behavior is, first, determining the extent to which the Ready 
Campaign's message has been received by the general population. The Ad 
Council conducts an annual survey to determine public awareness of the 
Ready Campaign, among other things. For example, in the Ad Council's 
2008 survey: 

* When asked if they had heard of a Web site called Ready.gov that 
provides information about steps to take to prepare in the event of a 
natural disaster or terrorist attack, 21 percent of those surveyed said 
that they were aware of the Ready.gov Web site. 

* When asked a similar question about television, radio, and print 
PSAs, 37 percent of those surveyed said that they have seen or heard at 
least one Ready Campaign PSA. 

Another factor is isolating the Ready Campaign's message from other 
preparedness messages that individuals might have received. The Ad 
Council's 2008 survey found that 30 percent of those surveyed 
identified the American Red Cross as the primary source of emergency 
preparedness information; 11 percent identified the Ad Council. 

While the Ad Council survey may give a general indication as to the 
population's familiarity with the Ready Campaign, it does not provide a 
measure of preparedness actions taken based on the Ready Campaign's 
promotion, that is, a clear link from the program to achieving program 
goals. The Ad Council reported that those who were aware of Ready 
Campaign's advertising were significantly more likely to say that they 
had taken steps to prepare for disaster, but acknowledged that the 
Ready Campaign could not claim full credit for the differences. 
Further, as the 2009 Citizen Corps survey showed, the degree to which 
individuals are prepared may be less than indicated because 
preparedness drops substantially when more detailed questions about 
supplies are asked.[Footnote 19] We will continue to assess FEMA's 
efforts to measure the performance of the Ready Campaign as part of our 
ongoing work. 

FEMA Has Not Developed a Strategy Encompassing How Citizen Corps, Its 
Partner Programs, and the Ready Campaign Are to Operate within the 
Context of the National Preparedness System: 

While DHS's and FEMA's strategic plans have incorporated efforts to 
promote community preparedness, FEMA has not developed a strategy 
encompassing how Citizen Corps, its partner programs, and the Ready 
Campaign are to operate within the context of the national preparedness 
system. An objective in DHS's Strategic Plan for 2008-2013 to "Ensure 
Preparedness" envisions empowering Americans to take individual and 
community actions before and after disasters strike. Similarly, FEMA's 
Strategic Plan for 2008-2013 envisions a strategy to "Lead the Nation's 
efforts for greater personal and community responsibility for 
preparedness through public education and awareness, and community 
engagement and planning, including outreach to vulnerable populations." 
FEMA's Strategic Plan delegates to the agency's components the 
responsibility for developing their own strategic plans, which are to 
include goals, objectives, and strategies. FEMA's Strategic Plan states 
that the components' strategic plans are to focus on identifying 
outcomes and measuring performance. 

NPD has not clearly articulated goals for FEMA's community preparedness 
programs or a strategy to show how Citizen Corps, its partner programs, 
and the Ready Campaign are to achieve those goals within the context of 
the national preparedness system. In our past work, we reported that 
desirable characteristics of an effective national strategy include 
articulating the strategy's purpose and goals; followed by subordinate 
objectives and specific activities to achieve results; and defining 
organizational roles, responsibilities, and coordination, including a 
discussion of resources needed to reach strategy goals.[Footnote 20] In 
April 2009, we reported that NPD had not developed a strategic plan 
that defines program roles and responsibilities, integration and 
coordination processes, and goals and performance measures for its 
programs.[Footnote 21] We reported that instead of a strategic plan, 
NPD officials stated that they used a draft annual operating plan and 
Post-Katrina Act provisions to guide NPD's efforts. The draft operating 
plan identifies NPD goals and NPD subcomponents responsible for 
carrying out segments of the operating plan, including eight objectives 
identified for the Division under NPD's goal to "enhance the 
preparedness of individuals, families, and special needs populations 
through awareness planning and training." NPD's objectives for meeting 
this goal do not describe desired outcomes. 

For example, one of NPD's objectives for the Community Preparedness 
Division is to increase "the number of functions that CERTs will be 
able to perform effectively during emergency response," but the plan 
does not describe how many and what type of functions CERTs currently 
perform, what additional functions they could perform, and what it 
means to be effective.[Footnote 22] NPD's draft operating plan also 
does not include other key elements of an effective national strategy, 
such as how it will measure progress in meeting its goals and 
objectives; the roles and responsibilities of those who will be 
implementing specific programs within the Community Preparedness 
Division, such as Citizen Corps or Fire Corps; or potential costs and 
types of resources and investments needed to meet goals and objectives 
needed to implement civilian preparedness programs.[Footnote 23] As a 
result, NPD is unable to provide a picture of priorities or how 
adjustments might be made in view of resource constraints. 

In our April 2009 report we recommended that NPD take a more strategic 
approach to implementing the national preparedness system to include 
the development of a strategic plan that contains such key elements as 
goals, objectives, and how progress in achieving them will be measured. 
DHS concurred with our recommendation and, in commenting on our report, 
stated that it reported making progress in this area and is continuing 
to work to fully implement the recommendation. NPD officials stated in 
September 2009 that DHS, FEMA, and NPD, in coordination with national 
security staff, were discussing Homeland Security Presidential 
Directive 8 (National Preparedness), including the development of a 
preparedness strategy and an implementation strategy.[Footnote 24] They 
said that community and individual preparedness were key elements of 
those discussions. However, NPD officials did not state when the 
strategy will be completed; thus, it is not clear to what extent it 
will integrate Citizen Corps, its partner programs, and the Ready 
Campaign. NPD officials stated that work is under way on revising the 
target capabilities, which are to include specific outcomes, measures, 
and resources. NPD officials said that the draft for public comment is 
expected to be issued in fiscal year 2010. 

The Ready Campaign is also working to enhance its strategic direction. 
According to the FEMA Director of External Affairs, the Ready 
Campaign's strategy is being revised to reflect the transition of the 
program from DHS's Office of Public Affairs to FEMA's Office of 
External Affairs, and the new FEMA Director's approach to preparedness. 
Program officials said that the Ready Campaign will have increased 
access to staff and resources and is to be guided by a FEMA-wide 
strategic plan for external communications. As of September 2009 the 
plan was still being developed and no date has been set for completion. 
We will continue to monitor this issue as well FEMA's effort to develop 
a strategy encompassing how Citizen Corps and its partner programs are 
to operate within the context of the national preparedness system. 

Mr. Chairman, this completes my prepared statement. I would be happy to 
respond to any questions you or other members of the subommittee may 
have. 

Contacts and Acknowledgments: 

For further information about this testimony, please contact William O. 
Jenkins, Jr., Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, at (202) 
512-8777 or JenkinsWO@gao.gov. Contact points for our offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this testimony. Major contributors to this testimony included 
John Mortin, Assistant Director, and Monica Kelly, Analyst-in-Charge. 
Carla Brown, Qahira El'Amin, Lara Kaskie, Amanda Miller, Cristina 
Ruggiero-Mendoza, and Janet Temko made significant contributions to the 
work. 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Homeland Security Grant Funding for Community Preparedness, 
2004 through 2008: 

Department of Homeland Security support for local community 
preparedness activities is provided through homeland security grants, 
specifically the Citizen Corps grant program, but community 
preparedness activities are also eligible for support under other 
homeland security grants. Citizen Corps grants are awarded to states 
based on a formula of 0.75 percent of the total amount available to 
each state (including the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico) and 0.25 percent of the total amount available for each 
U.S. territory, with the balance of funding being distributed on a 
population basis. 

For other DHS homeland security grants, a state prepares a request for 
funding, which can include support for the state's community 
preparedness efforts, as allowed under the guidance for a particular 
grant. For example, the 2009 Homeland Security Grant Guidance lists 
"Conducting public education and outreach campaigns, including 
promoting individual, family and business emergency preparedness" as an 
allowable cost for state homeland security grants. Grant funding can be 
used to support Citizen Corps, Citizen Corps partner programs, or other 
state community preparedness priorities. The Federal Emergency 
Management Agency's (FEMA) grant reporting database does not categorize 
grants in a way that allows identification of the amount of funding 
going to a particular community preparedness program. 

Table 1 summarizes the approximately $269 million in DHS grants that 
were identified by grantees as supporting community preparedness 
projects from fiscal years 2004 through 2008. The amount is an 
approximation because of limitations in identifying grants for such 
projects. Our selection of projects for inclusion relied on grantees 
identifying their projects under one of three predefined project types 
that FEMA officials said are relevant for community preparedness or 
were projects funded with a Citizen Corps program grant. Not all 
grantees may have used these descriptions. We worked with grant 
officials to identify the most appropriate grant selection criteria. 

Table 1: 2004-2008 Homeland Security Grants for Community Preparedness 
Projects: 

Year: 2004; 
Citizen Corps: $33,955,176; 
Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)[A]: $8,306,020; 
State homeland security: $7,735,800; 
Emergency Management Performance Grant: [Empty]; 
Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Grant: $1,093,911; 
Other homeland security grants[B]: [Empty]; 
Total: $51,090,907. 

Year: 2005; 
Citizen Corps: $13,485,705; 
Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)[A]: $8,687,292; 
State homeland security: $11,775,517; 
Emergency Management Performance Grant: $595,825; 
Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Grant: $248,988; 
Other homeland security grants[B]: $414,329; 
Total: $35,207,655. 

Year: 2006; 
Citizen Corps: $19,205,985; 
Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)[A]: $16,345,381; 
State homeland security: $15,074,053; 
Emergency Management Performance Grant: $6,545,092; 
Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Grant: $969,561; 
Other homeland security grants[B]: $2,028,071; 
Total: $60,168,142. 

Year: 2007; 
Citizen Corps: $14,549,998; 
Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)[A]: $23,608,893; 
State homeland security: $15,754,809; 
Emergency Management Performance Grant: $1,026,336; 
Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Grant: $6,705,907; 
Other homeland security grants[B]: $4,895,079; 
Total: $66,541,022. 

Year: 2008; 
Citizen Corps: $14,572,500; 
Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)[A]: $13,498,514; 
State homeland security: $16,640,267; 
Emergency Management Performance Grant: $8,620,774; 
Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Grant: $0; 
Other homeland security grants[B]: $2,645,852; 
Total: $55,977,906. 

Total: 
Citizen Corps: Citizen Corps: $95,769,364; 
Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)[A]: $70,446,099; 
State homeland security: $66,980,446; 
Emergency Management Performance Grant: $16,788,026; 
Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Grant: $9,018,367; 
Other homeland security grants[B]: $9,983,331; 
Total: $268,985,634. 

Source: GAO analysis of FEMA grant reporting data for fiscal years 2004 
through 2008. 

Notes: Homeland Security grant projects included in this summary met at 
least one of the following four criteria: indicated the project was to 
establish or enhance (1) citizen or volunteer initiatives; (2) citizen 
awareness of emergency preparedness, prevention, and response measures; 
(3) Citizen Corps councils; or (4) was supported by the Citizen Corps 
program grant. For years with a zero value, a particular grant may not 
have been part of the Homeland Security grant package (e.g., the 
Emergency Management Performance Grant was not part of the 2004 grants 
package, and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Grant in 2008 was 
not available for community preparedness purposes). 

[A] Includes UASI and UASI transit and nonprofit grants. The UASI grant 
program provides federal assistance to high-risk urban areas to (1) 
address unique planning, equipment, training, and exercise needs and 
(2) assist them in building an enhanced and sustainable capacity to 
prevent, prepare for, and respond to threats or acts of terrorism. 

[B] Includes grants for transit security programs, Metropolitan Medical 
Response System, Intercity Passenger Rail Security, Interoperable 
Emergency Communications, Non-Profit Security, Regional Catastrophic 
Preparedness, and Buffer Zone Protection. The Buffer Zone Protection 
Program supports the implementation of preventive and protective 
measures outside the perimeter of selected critical infrastructure and 
key resource (CI/KR) sites throughout the United States. The program 
provides grant funding to jurisdictions to purchase equipment to extend 
the zone of protection around CI/KR facilities, expand preparedness 
capabilities, and enhance the security of surrounding communities. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] Individuals, the public, and community are used interchangeably in 
this testimony when discussing preparedness for nongovernment community 
members. The terms encompass both citizens and noncitizens. Community 
nonprofit and private businesses are part of community preparedness, 
but were not within the scope of our work. 

[2] Federal Emergency Management Agency, Personal Preparedness in 
America: Findings From the (2007) Citizen Corps National Survey 
(Washington, D.C.: June 2009). 

[3] According to FEMA officials, FEMA also encourages public 
preparedness through speaking engagements, the media, and social 
networking tools that were beyond the scope of our review. Regarding 
the Ready Campaign we focused on its efforts for individual and family 
preparedness. The Ready Campaign's Business and Kid Campaign were not 
within the scope of our review. 

[4] The Department of Health and Human Service's Office of the Surgeon 
General within the Office of Public Health and Science administers a 
third partner program, the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). Also, the 
Department of Justice sponsors two other partner programs--Volunteers 
in Police Service and Neighborhood Watch. 

[5] Under FEMA's Homeland Security Grant Program, states, territories, 
urban areas and transportation authorities are eligible for FEMA grants 
to bolster national preparedness capabilities and protect critical 
infrastructure. These grants can be used to establish and sustain 
Citizen Corps councils; purchase equipment for CERTs, Fire Corps, or 
MRC; and support planning or training efforts. Local community 
preparedness organizations can also receive funding from state, local, 
or tribal governments or private and nonprofit community-based 
preparedness organizations. 

[6] GAO, National Preparedness: FEMA Has Made Progress, but Needs to 
Complete and Integrate Planning, Exercise, and Assessment Efforts, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-369] (Washington, D.C.: 
Apr. 30, 2009). 

[7] A key part of the system involves the development of quantifiable 
standards and metrics--called target capabilities, defined as the level 
of capability needed to prevent, respond to, and recover from natural 
and man-made disasters--that can be used to assess existing capability 
levels compared with target capability levels. 

[8] This included 17 Citizen Corps councils, 12 CERT, 5 Fire Corps 
programs, and officials representing 19 other preparedness and 
emergency management organizations, such as local emergency managers 
and state officials in four of the five states we visited. 

[9] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-369 and GAO, 
Combating Terrorism: Evaluation of Selected Characteristics in National 
Strategies Related to Terrorism, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-408T (Washington, D.C: February 3, 
2004). 

[10] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-369]; [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-408T]; GAO, Results-Oriented 
Management: Strengthening Key Practices at FEMA and Interior Could 
Promote Greater Use of Performance Information, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-676]; (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 17, 
2009); Influenza Pandemic: Gaps in Pandemic Planning and Preparedness 
Need to Be Addressed, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-909T] (Washington, D.C.: July 29, 
2009); Information Sharing Environment: Definition of the Results to Be 
Achieved in Improving Terrorism-Related Information Sharing Is Needed 
to Guide Implementation and Assess Progress, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-492] (Washington, D.C.: June 25, 
2008); Combating Terrorism: Evaluation of Selected Characteristics in 
National Strategies Related to Terrorism, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-408T] (Washington, D.C: Feb. 3, 
2004); Tax Administration: IRS Needs to Further Refine Its Tax Filing 
Season Performance Measures, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-143] (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 22, 
2002); Agency Performance Plans: Examples of Practices That Can Improve 
Usefulness to Decisionmakers, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-69] (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 
26, 1999); Performance Plans: Selected Approaches for Verification and 
Validation of Agency Performance Information, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/GGD-99-139] (Washington, D.C.: July 30, 
1999); Agencies' Annual Performance Plans Under the Reform Act: An 
Assessment Guide to Facilitate Congressional Decisionmaking, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/GGD/AIMD-10.1.18] 
(Washington, D.C.: February 1998); and Executive Guide: Effectively 
Implementing the Government Performance and Results Act, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/GGD-96-118] (Washington, D.C.: June 1, 
1996). 

[11] The Post-Katrina Act was enacted as title VI of the Department of 
Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007, Pub. L. No. 109-295, 120 
Stat. 1355, 1394-1463 (2006). 

[12] Citizen Corps also identifies program "affiliates" that may be 
available to help advance Citizen Corps's goals, such as the American 
Red Cross and Home Safety Council. 

[13] See [hyperlnk, http://www.ready.gov/america/about/psa.html] for an 
example of a Ready Campaign PSA. 

[14] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-143]. 

[15] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/GGD-96-118]. 

[16] We interviewed state officials in four of the five states we 
visited--California, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas. We did not interview 
state officials in Nevada. Our Nevada site visit interviews were 
related to observing exercises with CERT participation. 

[17] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-69]. 

[18] FEMA, Citizen Preparedness Review: A Review of Citizen 
Preparedness Research, Fall 2007. 

[19] Similarly, public knowledge of the Ready Campaign may be less than 
indicated, based on the 2007 Citizen Corps survey. For example, the 
2007 survey asked respondents about familiarity with federal 
preparedness programs and estimated that 16 percent of respondents had 
heard about Ready.gov. However when asked to describe the program, only 
2 percent of respondents reported that they had a firm understanding of 
the program. 

[20] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-408T] and 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-369]. 

[21] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-369]. 

[22] NPD's other objectives relate to enhancing preparedness 
capabilities, strengthening partnerships, conducting emergency 
preparedness research, integrating community preparedness into grant 
guidance, holding a national conference, ensuring local implementation 
of the NET Guard Pilot Program, and developing a national strategy to 
collaborate with law enforcement partners. 

[23] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-369]. 

[24] Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8--National Preparedness 
(Dec. 17, 2003). In December 2003, the President issued guidance that 
called on the Secretary of Homeland Security to carry out and 
coordinate preparedness activities with public, private, and nonprofit 
organizations involved in such activities. 

[End of section] 

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