FEMA’s Advance Contract Strategy for Disasters in Puerto Rico March 23, 2020 OIG-20-20 DHS OIG HIGHLIGHTS FEMA’s Advance Contract Strategy for Disasters in Puerto Rico March 23, 2020 What We Found Why We Did Following Hurricane Maria, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not maximize the use of This Audit advance contracts to address identified capability deficiencies and needs in Puerto Rico. Specifically, we The Post-Katrina Emergency identified 49 of 241 new contracts issued in the aftermath Management Reform Act of of Hurricane Maria for the same goods or services covered 2006 requires FEMA to by existing advance contracts. In addition, FEMA Region maximize the use of advance II did not issue any new advance contracts prior to contracts to expedite the Hurricane Maria and did not perform analysis to identify acquisition of supplies and goods or services to obtain through advance contracts. services during emergencies. We attributed FEMA’s limited use of advance contracts to FEMA introduced advance its lack of strategy and documented planning process for contracts as a way to ensuring maximum use of advance contracts. Although expedite the acquisition of FEMA reported to Congress in December 2007 it had a supplies and services during strategy in place, we determined it was a one-time strategy emergencies. Our objective that did not meet the intent of the Post-Katrina Emergency was to determine to what Management Reform Act of 2006. Without advance extent FEMA’s planning for contracts to expedite acquisitions, goods and services for advance contracts in Puerto people in need may have been delayed or were more costly Rico addresses identified to the Government. capability deficiencies and needs. Further, FEMA did not maintain contract files in accordance with Federal acquisition regulations and What We departmental or its own policy. This occurred because Recommend FEMA’s Office of the Chief Procurement Officer did not have controls in place to ensure contract personnel follow We made four Federal regulations and departmental or its own internal recommendations to help policy. As a result, FEMA’s ability to hold contractors FEMA improve its strategy accountable for deliverables is hindered if contract files for advance contracts, its are not easily located. process for identifying capability needs and gaps, and its contract file FEMA’s Response management practices. FEMA concurred with all four recommendations and For Further Information: described corrective actions it plans to take. However, Contact our Office of Public Affairs at FEMA’s corrective actions do not meet the intent of the (202) 981-6000, or email us at DHS-OIG.OfficePublicAffairs@oig.dhs.gov recommendations. Therefore, we consider all four recommendations open and unresolved. www.oig.dhs.gov OIG-20-20 March 23, 2020 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security Table of Contents Background .................................................................................................... 2 Results of Audit .............................................................................................. 4 FEMA Region II/JFO Did Not Maximize the Use of Advance Contracts ... 4 FEMA Did Not Manage Contract Files in Accordance with Regulations and Policy............................................................................................ 10 Recommendations......................................................................................... 12 Appendixes Appendix A: Objective, Scope, and Methodology ................................. 16 Appendix B: FEMA Comments to the Draft Report ............................... 19 Appendix C: Office of Audits Major Contributors to This Report ........... 22 Appendix D: Report Distribution .......................................................... 23 Abbreviations FAR Federal Acquisition Regulation FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency HSAM Homeland Security Acquisition Manual JFO Joint Field Office OCPO Office of the Chief Procurement Officer OIG Office of Inspector General www.oig.dhs.gov OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security Background The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) mission is to support citizens and first responders and ensure, as a Nation, we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. To fulfill its mission, FEMA must thoroughly plan responses to different natural and manmade disasters. These disasters require timely response to begin recovery efforts in the affected communities. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended, Pub. L. No. 93-288 (1974) (Stafford Act), authorizes the Federal Government to provide necessary relief and assistance prior to and during a natural disaster. It directs the Government to provide work and services to save lives and protect property, such as debris removal, search and rescue, emergency medical care, shelter, food, water, and essential needs that include movement of supplies or persons. It also requires awarding contracts to local businesses to help stimulate the economy. The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-295 (Post-Katrina Act), addressed various shortcomings identified in preparation for and response to Hurricane Katrina. It requires FEMA to identify an advance contracting strategy maximizing the use of advance contracts to the extent practical and cost effective in advance of a natural or non-natural disaster. Advance contracts are for recurring disaster response requirements, including specific goods and services for which FEMA is capable of contracting in advance of a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other manmade disaster that, when used, may be cost effective. FEMA introduced advance contracts as a way to expedite the acquisition of supplies and services during emergencies. FEMA must identify these recurring requirements prior to a disaster in order to enter into advance contracts meeting needs of affected communities. Advance Contracting Process The procurement process for awarding advance contracts is the same as any other contract, because advance contracts are not a separate type of contracting vehicle. Advance contracts are completed prior to an emergency to meet the regional or program office requirements. According to FEMA, contracts, including advance contracts, may be found in the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation, a repository of U.S. Government- wide procurement data. www.oig.dhs.gov 2 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security FEMA’s Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) requires certain documentation from its program offices before it moves forward with a procurement. FEMA program offices route required planning documents identifying goods and services to be acquired by FEMA OCPO. The documents include, but are not limited to, statement/scope of work and independent government cost estimates. FEMA OCPO initiates advance contracts and authorizes all regional contracting officers to award advance contracts. Once an emergency occurs, FEMA will set up a Joint Field Office (JFO) to manage its portion of the emergency response efforts in the devastated area. During this time, the JFO may use advance contracts or enter into new post-disaster contracts in order to respond to the state or territory’s needs. Hurricane Maria On September 18, 2017, the President approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico. On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall. It was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since 1928. Hurricane Maria’s powerful winds and heavy rainfall damaged communication and power grids, destroyed homes, and downed trees leaving Puerto Rico’s 3.7 million people without power or communication. Almost 4 months after the hurricane made landfall, approximately 45 percent of the power company’s customers were still without power. Figure 1. Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria Source: DHS OIG According to FEMA, as of January 31, 2019, it spent more than $1 billion during its response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, with more than $550 million spent on advance contracts. www.oig.dhs.gov 3 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security FEMA Region II services the area encompassing Puerto Rico. During Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico provided its requirement shortfalls to FEMA Region II and the JFO, which in turn used headquarters advance contracts or entered into post-disaster contracts to meet the needs of Puerto Rico’s residents. Since Hurricane Maria’s landfall in Puerto Rico, other reports also highlighted shortcomings in FEMA contracting: The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report titled 2017 Disaster Contracting - Action Needed to Better Ensure More Effective Use and Management of Advance Contracts, GAO-19-93. This report discussed an out-of-date advance contract strategy and poor contract file management. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report titled FEMA Should Not Have Awarded Two Contracts to Bronze Star LLC, OIG-19-38. According to the report, FEMA did not follow procurement laws, regulations, and procedures when awarding two emergency contracts to Bronze Star LLC for tarps and plastic sheeting, valued at $30 million, in Puerto Rico. We conducted this audit to determine to what extent FEMA’s planning for advance contracts in Puerto Rico addressed identified capability deficiencies and needs. Results of Audit FEMA Region II/JFO Did Not Maximize the Use of Advance Contracts Following Hurricane Maria, FEMA did not maximize the use of advance contracts to address identified capability deficiencies and needs in Puerto Rico. Specifically, we identified 49 of 241 new contracts issued in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria for the same goods or services covered by existing advance contracts. In addition, FEMA Region II did not issue any new advance contracts prior to Hurricane Maria and did not perform analysis to identify goods or services to obtain through advance contracts. We attributed FEMA’s limited use of advance contracts to its lack of strategy and documented planning process for ensuring maximum use of advance contracts. Although FEMA reported to Congress in December 2007 it had a strategy in place, we determined it was a one-time strategy and did not meet the intent of the Post- Katrina Act. Without advance contracts to expedite acquisitions, goods and www.oig.dhs.gov 4 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security services for people in need may have been delayed or were more costly to the Government. Limited Use of Advance Contracts after Hurricane Maria The Post-Katrina Act requires FEMA to maximize the use of advance contracts to the extent practical and cost effective. However, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, contracting officers in FEMA Region II/JFO did not always use existing advance contracts, issue new advance contracts, or perform analysis to identify goods or services for potential advance contracts to meet Puerto Rico’s needs. FEMA Region II/JFO Did Not Use Existing Advance Contracts We identified 49 of 241 contracts FEMA Region II/JFO awarded after Hurricane Maria for the same goods or services covered by existing advance contracts. For example: FEMA Region II/JFO awarded a post-disaster cleaning supply contract even though an existing advance contract was available for use. Cleaning supplies can be essential in an environment without running water or proper waste removal in limiting or stopping the spread of disease. FEMA Region II/JFO awarded new post-disaster housing and lodging assistance contracts instead of using the existing advance contract in place. Providing available housing and lodging promptly is vital since citizens may be without habitable living conditions or may be unable to satisfy basic survival needs. Contracting officers provided several reasons for not using advance contracts. We interviewed 10 contracting officers associated with 44 of the 49 contracts (90 percent) to determine whether they considered the advance contracts already in place. Contracting officers were able to provide documentation supporting their decision to not use an advance contract for 4 of the 44 contracts. For the other 40 contracts, contracting officers provided reasons for not using existing advance contracts such as the existing advance contracts could not provide the goods and services when needed or were not cost effective. However, when asked, the contracting officers could not provide any documentation to support their assertions. One contracting officer provided documentation showing an advance contract was considered, but did not explain why the scope of the existing advance contract did not meet the agency’s needs. Contracting officers also said the Stafford Act directs them to www.oig.dhs.gov 5 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security award post-disaster contracts to local vendors. Contracting officers indicated the priority was to contract with local vendors before using advance contracts. While the Stafford Act requires FEMA to award contracts to local private organizations, firms, or individuals, it states that should be done to the extent feasible and practicable. The Stafford Act does not preclude FEMA from awarding local advance contracts. Finally, contracting officers believed their decisions were justified based on a July 19, 2010 FEMA memo, Promoting the Use of Local Vendors in Disasters. However, this memo reiterates following the Stafford Act and discusses transitioning from national advance contracts to local vendors within 6 months of a disaster event or sooner if/when feasible or practicable. FEMA Region II Did Not Issue Any New Advance Contracts In 2007, 10 years before Hurricane Maria, FEMA provided a report1 to Congress with a list of goods and services suitable for advance contracts. However, FEMA Region II has not issued any new advance contracts since 2007. The Post-Katrina Act requires FEMA to maximize the use of advance contracts to the extent practical and cost effective. Maximizing the use of advance contracts in this context includes expanding the number of advance contracts based on identified needs. We determined FEMA Region II contracting officers awarded 49 contracts for goods or services it previously reported on this list, including items such as box truck rentals and armed security guards. Table 1 shows examples of suitable goods and services included in the 2007 congressional report. 1FEMA’s Report to Congress, Advance Contracting of Goods and Services, December 2007, not currently available online. www.oig.dhs.gov 6 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security Table 1: Examples of Goods and Services Suitable for Advance Contract Good/Service Category Example Cleaning Supplies Brooms, Buckets, Mops, Rags, Soap, Trash Bags Food Items Baby Food, Canned Goods, Ice, Packaged Foods, Powdered Milk, Water Transportation All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) / 4-Wheel Drive Vehicles, Bus Rental, Trains, Truck Rental Communications Improvement, Disaster Satellite Communication Services Communication, Mobile Communication Power, Private Sector Calling Services, Satellite Phone Services, Translation Services, Wireless Services Law Enforcement and Security Automated Personnel Security System Support, Security Force Support Services, FEMA Security Office Commodity Management, Fuel/Fuel Management, Ice Logistics and Transportation Storage, Mortuary Services, Truck Transportation for Support Personnel, Water Transport - Potable (Drinkable) Water Source: FEMA’s Report to Congress on Advance Contracting of Goods and Services, December 2007 According to Region II contracting personnel, they had not issued any new advance contracts because contracting officers were unaware regions had the authority to enter into advance contracts and believed only FEMA headquarters had the authority to do so. However, we identified another FEMA regional office that had awarded advance contracts in the past. FEMA Region II Did Not Perform Analysis to Identify Goods or Services for Potential Advance Contracts To ensure the Government meets its needs in the most effective, economical, and timely manner, acquisition planning should begin as soon as an agency identifies a need. However, FEMA Region II personnel responsible for disaster planning in Puerto Rico were not required to perform analysis to identify needed goods or services that could have been obtained through advance contracts. As part of disaster planning, FEMA’s Region II created several plans to respond to emergencies. The plans include an All-Hazards Plan, Hurricane Response Plan, and the Hurricane Annex for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. These plans discuss prepositioning goods prior to an emergency but do not discuss gaps or needs in terms of planning in advance of an emergency. FEMA Region II planning personnel informed us since the Region II Hurricane Annex for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands did not plan for a total island destruction, FEMA used the June 2012 Puerto Rico Catastrophic Tsunami Annex and Puerto Rico Catastrophic Earthquake Annex plans in response to Hurricane Maria. However, these plans only provide guidance for initial Federal response and long-term recovery from catastrophe. It references activation of the advanced contract initiative for debris removal, water, www.oig.dhs.gov 7 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security temporary roofing, and emergency power contract support, but does not assess how the needs for these goods and services were determined. In addition, the Puerto Rico Catastrophic Earthquake Annex plan does not identify needs and gaps for advance contracts. The Earthquake Annex plan does mention specific advance contracts, but does not specify how FEMA identified these contracts to fulfill its needs. It also uses the term preposition, but it is in reference to prepositioning of resources and commodities. According to FEMA planning personnel, they work with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to develop plans before disasters. Specifically, FEMA works with the Puerto Rico State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management to make sure the plans meet Puerto Rico’s needs. FEMA chooses the most realistic planning scenario using historical data, as well as the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments and the State Preparedness Reports, to develop each plan. FEMA’s plans describe how it will respond to and recover from incidents and includes planning assumptions. However, the plans do not consider the potential for advance contracts to prepare for a disaster. Region II relies on advance contracts written by headquarters or its own post-disaster contracts to fulfill their needs. FEMA Lacks Strategy with a Documented Process and Performance Goals to Maximize Use of Advance Contracts We attributed FEMA’s limited use of advance contracts to its lack of: strategy for maximizing the use of advance contracts; a documented planning and decision-making process, particularly for considering state and local needs; and performance goals and measures to assess progress. No Advance Contract Strategy The Post-Katrina Act requires FEMA to develop an advance contracting strategy to maximize the use of such contracts. Having an advance contracting strategy would provide guidance for decision makers on awarding and using advance contracts, potentially improving the responsiveness and availability of resources before a disaster strikes. It also allows FEMA to take into consideration the priorities of the local community affected by disasters and rapidly mobilize resources. Although the Post-Katrina Act does not specify what should be included in the advance contracting strategy, FEMA defines a strategy as a carefully devised plan of action to achieve one or more objectives. Although FEMA reported to Congress in December 2007 it had an advance www.oig.dhs.gov 8 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security contracting strategy in place, we determined it was a one-time strategy and did not meet the intent of the Post-Katrina Act. Instead, this strategy only identified a list of goods and services deemed appropriate for advance contracting and a list of fiscal year 2007 advance contracts. No Documented Planning and Decision-making Process FEMA’s December 2007 advance contract strategy did not include a documented planning process that considered the possibility of updating the number of advance contracts to address ongoing demands and changing needs. According to FEMA OCPO personnel, they did not use a documented planning process and primarily identified new advance contracts based on the needs of the previous disasters. FEMA OCPO stated it collaborated with other program offices to identify needs, but did not have documentation to support its decisions. In the same report to Congress, FEMA also stated it had developed an acquisition tracker to help define future requirements; however, we could not identify anyone in FEMA who knew whether the acquisition tracker existed. In addition, FEMA’s strategy lacked a documented process for contracting officers to justify not using existing advance contracts. Further, the Post-Katrina Act requires FEMA to coordinate with state and local governments and other Federal agencies, and establish a process to ensure Federal pre-negotiated contracts for goods and services are coordinated with state and local governments, as appropriate. FEMA’s advance contract strategy did not include a documented process for considering the needs of its state and local partners. According to FEMA planning personnel in Region II, they work with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico before disasters to develop plans on how it will respond and recover from disasters. However, documentation did not exist to show FEMA Region II considered local community needs in deciding how to use advance contracts to help those communities quickly respond and recover from disasters. No Performance Goals and Measures Finally, FEMA’s advance contract strategy did not include any performance goals and measures to assess progress of maximizing advance contracts. www.oig.dhs.gov 9 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security According to the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-352, performance plans covering program activities shall include: performance goals to define the level of performance to be achieved; goals expressed in an objective, quantifiable, and measurable form; a description of how the performance goals are to be achieved; and performance indicators to be used in measuring or assessing progress toward performance goals. Since FEMA did not have an advance contract strategy, we cannot be certain it had enough advance contracts in place to provide assistance to the residents of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria made landfall. In addition, FEMA may have missed opportunities to provide goods and services promptly to citizens affected by Hurricane Maria, and those goods and services may have been more costly. FEMA Did Not Manage Contract Files in Accordance with Regulations and Policy FEMA did not maintain contract files in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and departmental or FEMA policy guidance. FAR Part 4.800 prescribes the Federal requirement for establishing, maintaining, and disposing of contract files. The FAR requires the head of each office performing contracting, contract administration, or paying functions to establish contract files containing all contractual actions. In addition, according to FAR Part 4.802, if contract files are decentralized, responsibility for their maintenance must be assigned. A central control and, if needed, a locator system should be established to ensure the ability to promptly locate any contract files. The FAR is not strict about having a paper contract file and allows for contract files to be maintained in any medium (paper, electronic, microfilm, etc.). However, the Homeland Security Acquisition Manual (HSAM), section 3004.803 70, requires DHS components to have an official contract file folder for every contract awarded. Further, FEMA’s standard operating procedure for contract file management requires contracting officers and contract specialists to create and maintain official contract files. It also requires headquarters contract files be stored in a central file room within 5 business days after award of a contract or issuance of an order. The same standard operating procedure requires field offices to establish a central file location (where practicable) for all active files. We requested 133 task orders associated with 9 advance contract files from FEMA to determine the completeness and accuracy of Region II/JFO procurement logs, which are lists of all contracts, including advance and post- www.oig.dhs.gov 10 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security disaster contracts, Region II/JFO used during Hurricane Maria. Requests for all contract files and associated task orders were made to FEMA OCPO. We made these requests more than a month in advance to afford FEMA OCPO enough time to gather the requested files. We sent multiple follow-up emails, indicating these files would be needed and should be made ready for our review. However, FEMA OCPO did not make all the requested task orders available. We were provided access to 18 task orders associated with 7 contract files — 4 hardcopy task order files located in FEMA headquarters and 14 electronic task order files from FEMA Region II. FEMA OCPO did not provide us the remaining 99 FEMA headquarters task order files, which should have been located in the headquarters central file room, as required by FEMA’s standard operating procedure. In addition, FEMA OCPO did not produce the remaining 16 task order files that should have been available in hardcopy at a central file room located at FEMA Region II. Overall, FEMA OCPO did not produce 115 of the 133 task orders we requested. This occurred because FEMA OCPO does not have controls to ensure contract personnel are following the FAR, HSAM, and FEMA’s standard operating procedure. For example, a Region II Contracting Officer stated personnel are behind on printing hardcopy files. They print the hardcopy files as needed or requested for audits and do not have enough storage space for the hardcopy files. Further, a FEMA OCPO staff member informed us there are no requirements in place to perform any checks on contracting officers to ensure they are following the FEMA OCPO policy requiring all contracting officers to store contract files in the central file room. As a result, FEMA may not be able to hold contractors accountable for deliverables if contract files are not easily located. www.oig.dhs.gov 11 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security Recommendations Recommendation 1: We recommend the Regional Administrator, FEMA Region II develop and implement a formal documented process to identify capability needs and gaps for potential advance contracts in Puerto Rico. Recommendation 2: We recommend the Head of Contracting Activity for FEMA develop and implement an advance contract strategy that: • includes a documented planning process to support the addition or removal of available advance contracts; • encourages awarding advance contracts at the regional level; • provides clear guidance for when a contracting officer should defer to the Post-Katrina Act or the Stafford Act; • incorporates a formal process to identify capability needs and gaps for potential advance contracts; • includes a schedule for updating its guidance and processes; • requires state, territory, and local input; and specifies performance measures. Recommendation 3: We recommend the Head of Contracting Activity for FEMA direct all contract personnel to follow the FAR, HSAM, and their standard operating procedure for creating and maintaining contract files. Recommendation 4: We recommend the Head of Contracting Activity for FEMA implement controls to ensure FEMA personnel are following the FAR, HSAM, and their standard operating procedure for creating and maintaining contract files. FEMA Comments and OIG Analysis The Department concurred with all four of our recommendations. However, FEMA’s planned actions do not meet the intent of the recommendations. We have included a copy of the management comments in their entirety in appendix B. According to FEMA, it is committed to ensuring contracting for preparedness, response, and recovery efforts against all hazards are in full compliance with laws, regulations, and policies. FEMA is equally committed to maintaining updated information on the availability and use of advance contracts for the FEMA acquisition workforce. In addition, FEMA provided technical comments to our draft. We evaluated those comments but did not make changes to our report. www.oig.dhs.gov 12 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security Response to Recommendation 1: Concur. FEMA’s OCPO agrees with the need for a formal process to identify capability needs and gaps for potential advance contracts, and claims one already exists. Specifically, FEMA OCPO establishes advance contracting on a nation-wide basis, not region-by-region. It is not a function of FEMA Region II to develop and implement a formal documented process for potential advance contracts in Puerto Rico, since FEMA’s nation-wide establishment of advance contracts to meet the agency’s mission-essential needs includes the Regions. To improve the existing process, OCPO established an agency-wide Disaster Strategy Forum in February 2019, which brings together FEMA’s major disaster operational functions, including FEMA Regions, on a bi-weekly basis. This forum allows these functions to strategize future approaches to disaster contracting issues and needs, such as mitigating mission shortfalls and identifying capability gaps. FEMA requested this recommendation be closed and resolved. OIG Analysis: The agency’s response does not address the intent of the recommendation. The agency describes actions taken at the agency-wide level to establish advance contracts. However, the agency does not specify how it will address identifying capability needs and gaps, specifically in Puerto Rico, that can then be shared at the regional level via the newly developed Disaster Strategy Forum to guide national discussions. Therefore, this recommendation is considered open and unresolved until FEMA can provide a documented process identifying capability gaps and needs for potential advance contracts in Puerto Rico. Response to Recommendation 2: Concur. According to FEMA, OCPO has been assessing the advance contracts list as an ongoing activity since well before the 2017 hurricane season. Based on this activity, OCPO took steps, beginning in October 2018, to improve the planning, management, and visibility of advance contracts. These steps include regularly assessing the advance contracts list, in consultation with headquarters and regional partners, to ensure commodities and services are available to meet the mission. Further, the issuance of new advance contracts is now based on known recurring goods and services that will be used in advance of natural or manmade disasters, as a result of the FEMA Disaster Strategy Forum. FEMA OCPO is memorializing this process to manage and track advance contracts by creating a FEMA Acquisition Manual, and updating its current Disaster Contracting Desk Guide to ensure clear guidance is given to contracting personnel on the proper use of advance contracts. The estimated completion date is August 31, 2020. OIG Analysis: The agency’s response does not fully address the intent of the recommendation. FEMA indicated it has taken steps toward an advance www.oig.dhs.gov 13 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security contracting strategy by creating an acquisition manual and providing clear guidance on the proper use of advance contracts. However, the Post-Katrina Act of 2006 requires FEMA to maximize the use of advance contracts to expedite the acquisition of supplies and services during an emergency. According to FEMA, it is basing its decision to issue new advance contracts on recurring goods and services that will be used in advance of a disaster. Therefore, this recommendation is considered open and unresolved until FEMA provides documentation of an advance contract strategy describing the process to be followed to address all elements our recommendation. Response to Recommendation 3: Concur. According to FEMA, OCPO personnel, including contract personnel, are instructed through the standard operating procedure, Labeling and Organizing Official Contract File Folders, dated August 31, 2009, to manage all contract files in accordance with the FAR and HSAM. In addition, FEMA will transition to an Electronic Contract Filing System by March 31, 2020. In April 2019, OCPO also drafted an Acquisition Alert, Contract File Accountability, requiring the use of the Electronic Contract Filing System as the system of record. This alert is scheduled for issuance during the third quarter of fiscal year 2020. The estimated completion date is June 30, 2020. OIG Analysis: The agency’s response does not fully address the intent of the recommendation. FEMA stated an August 31, 2009 standard operating procedure instructs personnel to manage all contract files in accordance with the FAR and HSAM. However, FEMA did not address its standard operating procedure for contract file management, which requires contracting officers and contract specialists to create and maintain official contract files in hardcopy. It also requires headquarters contract files to be stored in a central file room within 5 business days after award of a contract or issuance of an order. The same standard operating procedure requires field offices to establish a central file location (where practicable) for all active files. Until FEMA transitions to an Electronic Contract Filing System, the current standard operating procedure to maintain hardcopy contract files must be followed. Therefore, this recommendation is considered open and unresolved until the Head of Contracting Activity for FEMA directs all contract personnel to follow all current regulations and policies until the acquisition alert requiring use of an Electronic Contract Filing System is issued. Response to Recommendation 4: Concur. According to FEMA, the standard operating procedure, Labeling and Organizing Official Contract File Folders, dated August 31, 2009, instructs FEMA OCPO personnel to manage all contract files in accordance with the FAR and HSAM. From April 29 to May 2, 2019, FEMA OCPO provided training to OCPO personnel for creating and www.oig.dhs.gov 14 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security maintaining contract files during the Mission Rehearsal Training. The FEMA OCPO also drafted an Acquisition Alert, Contract File Accountability, in April 2019 to reiterate existing controls ensuring all OCPO personnel comply with the contract filing process, including the use of the Electronic Contract Filing System. This alert is scheduled for issue during the third quarter of FY 2020. The estimated completion date is June 30, 2020. OIG Analysis: The agency’s response does not fully address the intent of the recommendation. FEMA stated it trained staff on the creation and maintenance of contract files. FEMA also stated the acquisition alert that has been drafted, but not released, reiterates existing controls ensuring all OCPO personnel comply with the contract filing process. However, we did not find any evidence that such controls were in place. Therefore, this recommendation is open and unresolved until FEMA provides documentation it has implemented controls to ensure personnel are following all current regulations, policies, and standard operating procedures for creating and maintaining contract files. www.oig.dhs.gov 15 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security Appendix A Objective, Scope, and Methodology The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General was established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107−296, by amendment to the Inspector General Act of 1978. FEMA introduced advance contracts as a way to expedite the acquisition of supplies and services during emergencies. Our objective was to determine to what extent FEMA’s planning for advance contracts in Puerto Rico addresses identified capability deficiencies and needs. The scope of our audit included reviewing advance and post-disaster contracts used between September 20, 2017 and May 31, 2018. This includes contract modifications, task orders, requisition forms, and other file documentation. FEMA provided a list of 121 advance contracts. This list became our universe for selecting a judgmental sample. We judgmentally selected 40 advance contract files for review in consultation with the OIG statistician. We reviewed documents in the contract files to determine whether FEMA identified capability deficiencies and needs. We reviewed requisitions (FEMA form 143) for supplies, equipment, personnel, and/or teams; statements of work; performance work statements; statements of objective; and independent government cost estimates to determine whether FEMA may have documented identified capability deficiencies and needs on these forms instead of including this information in contract files. We compared post-disaster contracts awarded from September 20, 2017, through May 31, 2018 by Region II/JFO to the advance contract list in order to identify whether FEMA maximized its use of advance contracts in lieu of post- disaster contracts. In addition, we compared the goods and services acquired through post-disaster contracts by Region II/JFO with the list of goods and services appropriate for advance contracts FEMA reported to Congress in 2007. We identified and reviewed pertinent Federal criteria related to our audit objective, which included the Post-Katrina and Stafford Acts. We reviewed related DHS and FEMA policies and FEMA standard operating procedures. FEMA and the government of Puerto Rico identified and provided disaster planning documents, which included: Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment; State Preparedness Report; Puerto Rico Catastrophic Tsunami Annex; www.oig.dhs.gov 16 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security Puerto Rico Catastrophic Earthquake Annex; Puerto Rico Catastrophic Planning Annex; FEMA Region II Hurricane Annex for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands; Incident Management Assistant Team Reports; and Puerto Rico Hazard Mitigation Plan. We interviewed personnel responsible for identifying needs and acquisition planning at the Federal, regional, and state levels. We met with various FEMA and Puerto Rico offices including: FEMA: Office of the Chief Procurement Officer, Washington, D.C.; Response and Recovery, Washington, D.C.; Logistics, Washington, D.C.; Region II, New York; Mission Assignments and Operations, Puerto Rico; Logistics, Puerto Rico; Federal Coordinating Officer, Puerto Rico; Region II Caribbean Office, Puerto Rico; and Finance and Administration, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico: Departamento de Transportacion y Obras Publicas (Department of Transportation), Puerto Rico; Agencia Estatal para el Manejo de Emergencias y Administración de Desastres (Puerto Rico State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management), Puerto Rico; State Coordinating Officer, Puerto Rico; and Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resiliency (COR3), Puerto Rico We attempted to obtain and identify the complete universe of FEMA’s advance contracts in order to address our audit objective. We requested a list of advance contracts available for use in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria to select our sample. We were unable to identify a complete universe of FEMA’s advance contracts from which to select our sample. Based on discussions with key FEMA personnel, we found the advance contract list is manually generated. There were no databases or documentation to verify completeness of the advance contract list. To identify advance contracts used in Region II/JFO, we obtained Region II/JFO procurement logs and compared them with the FEMA headquarters’ www.oig.dhs.gov 17 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security advance contract list. We assessed the reliability of Region II/JFO procurement logs for the audit by attempting to review contract files and associated task orders. However, FEMA did not provide all requested task orders, which prevented us from determining whether Region II/JFO procurement logs were complete. Therefore, we used Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation to determine whether contracts and select task orders were used in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria. We found advance contracts used in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria not on the Region II/JFO procurement log. Although the data provided was incomplete, we believe the data was sufficient to meet our audit objectives and conclusions. We conducted this performance audit between April 2018 and June 2019 pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, and according to generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require t we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based upon our audit objectives. We believe the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based upon our audit objectives. www.oig.dhs.gov 18 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security Appendix B FEMA Comments to the Draft Report www.oig.dhs.gov 19 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security www.oig.dhs.gov 20 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security www.oig.dhs.gov 21 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security Appendix C Office of Audits Major Contributors to This Report Carolyn Hicks, Director Cheryl Jones, Audit Manager Duane Albert, Analyst-in-Charge Aneet Marwaha, Program Analyst Quentien Brewington, Program Analyst Areti Bruno, Program Analyst Jessica Jackson, Auditor Marc Cruz, Program Analyst Lindsey Koch, Communications Analyst Alfonso Dallas, Independent Referencer www.oig.dhs.gov 22 OIG-20-20 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Department of Homeland Security Appendix D Report Distribution Department of Homeland Security Secretary Deputy Secretary Chief of Staff Deputy Chiefs of Staff General Counsel Executive Secretary Director, GAO/OIG Liaison Office Assistant Secretary for Office of Policy Assistant Secretary for Office of Public Affairs Assistant Secretary for Office of Legislative Affairs FEMA Audit Liaison Office of Management and Budget Chief, Homeland Security Branch DHS OIG Budget Examiner Congress Congressional Oversight and Appropriations Committees www.oig.dhs.gov 23 OIG-20-20 Additional Information and Copies To view this and any of our other reports, please visit our website at: www.oig.dhs.gov. For further information or questions, please contact Office of Inspector General Public Affairs at: DHS-OIG.OfficePublicAffairs@oig.dhs.gov. Follow us on Twitter at: @dhsoig. OIG Hotline To report fraud, waste, or abuse, visit our website at www.oig.dhs.gov and click on the red "Hotline" tab. If you cannot access our website, call our hotline at (800) 323-8603, fax our hotline at (202) 254-4297, or write to us at: Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, Mail Stop 0305 Attention: Hotline 245 Murray Drive, SW Washington, DC 20528-0305
FEMA's Advance Contract Strategy for Disasters in Puerto Rico
Published by the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General on 2020-03-23.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)