Web emergency operations center webeoc interconnectivity

Pdf File 413.51 KByte,

Web Emergency Operations Center (WebEOC) Interconnectivity

May 29, 2018

Fiscal Year 2017 Report to Congress

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Message from the Administrator

May 29, 2018

I am pleased to present the following report, "Web Emergency Operations Center (WebEOC) Interconnectivity," prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

This report was written in response to direction in House Report 114-668 accompanying the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act (P.L. 115-31). The report details the efforts that FEMA made to increase the capabilities of its WebEOC system and to ensure, to the greatest extent practicable, that states have access to FEMA's WebEOC in order to streamline the processes through which states may request specific federal assistance during an emergency or major disaster declaration pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

Pursuant to congressional requirements, this report is being provided to the following Members of Congress:

The Honorable Kevin Yoder Chairman, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security

The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard Ranking Member, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security

The Honorable John Boozman Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security

The Honorable Jon Tester Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security

Inquiries relating to this report may be directed to me at (202) 646-3900 or to the Department's Acting Chief Financial Officer, Stacy Marcott, at (202) 447-5751.

Sincerely,

Brock Long Administrator Federal Emergency Management Agency

i

Executive Summary

House Report 114-668 accompanying the FY 2017 DHS Appropriations Act (P.L. 115-31) requires FEMA to report on the steps taken to address interconnectivity issues identified in DHS's Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, OIG-16-10, FEMA Faces Challenges in Managing Information Technology. The report identified key findings related to duplicative and time-consuming data entry because of lack of interface between WebEOC and FEMA's financial management systems and various state WebEOC-type systems.

To address this known connectivity gap with state/territory systems (both WebEOC and nonWebEOC), FEMA provided every state/territory with FEMA WebEOC user accounts in order for users to submit their resource requests directly to FEMA. If the state/territory chooses not to submit resource requests directly through FEMA's WebEOC system, a FEMA employee will enter the request into FEMA's WebEOC. Additional system interconnections with every state/territory to WebEOC would be costly, complex, and would increase FEMA's exposer to cybersecurity risk significantly. FEMA does not believe that the potential for minimal time savings gained by directly interfacing systems in order to submit and approve resource requests is cost-effective. Further, each state/territory system does not interface with its many local jurisdictions' systems necessarily, so an interface would not address time constraints fully.

The OIG report also identified the FEMA process in which approved resource requests in FEMA's WebEOC are entered into FEMA's Enterprise Coordination and Approval Processing System (eCAPS) and FEMA's Web Integrated Financial Management Information System (WebIFMIS). The agency made a conscious decision not to pursue connections with financial systems, in favor of ensuring the openness of the system, and to protect against restrictions to access and use by external partners. However, FEMA since has developed an updated workflow process that circumvents the need for connectivity between WebEOC and eCAPS. The updated workflow process has been successful, now is optimized within WebEOC, and allows data to be entered into eCAPS without overburdening the users. Interconnection between eCAPS and WebIFMIS has been in place for many years and does not require manual data entry between the two systems.

Further, FEMA's mission assignment policy allows FEMA to issue mission assignments verbally to other federal agencies to address time-sensitive issues without the need to issue a paper or electronic mission assignment immediately. Therefore, there is no time delay for FEMA to deploy critical response capabilities to a requesting state/territory while the administrative task of entering the financial package into WebEOC and eCAPS for obligation is in process. The verbal mission assignment is recorded in WebEOC as soon as possible, usually within 12 hours, using the standard process, but the verbal tasking is sufficient for the assigned agency to initiate action.

FEMA will continue to implement policies, procedures, and improvements to WebEOC, as necessary, to reflect technological improvements, operational necessities, and lessons learned from response operations. However, FEMA is confident that the improvements referenced in this report should satisfy fully the requirements in House Report 114-668 to implement policies, procedures, and activities necessary to improve interconnectedness with state EOCs.

ii

Web Emergency Operations Center (WebEOC) Interconnectivity

Table of Contents

I. Legislative Requirement ..................................................................................................... 1 II. Background ......................................................................................................................... 2 III. Analysis/Discussion............................................................................................................ 4

A. Interfaces Between FEMA's WebEOC and State WebEOCs ...................................... 4 B. Interface Between FEMA WebEOC and FEMA Financial Systems ........................... 4 IV. Conclusion/DHS Action Plan ............................................................................................. 6

iii

I. Legislative Requirement

This document responds to the reporting requirements set forth in House Report 114-668 accompanying the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act (P.L. 115-31), which states:

According to a recent audit by the DHS OIG (OIG?16?10), FEMA's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is not electronically interconnected with state EOCs, relying instead on an inefficient manual process that can cause delays in providing disaster assistance. The Committee expects FEMA to implement policies, procedures, and activities necessary to improve interconnectedness between FEMA and state EOCs, and directs FEMA to report on its progress not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

1

II. Background

The Web Emergency Operations Center (WebEOC) is FEMA's Crisis Management System (CMS). WebEOC supports emergency management processes and functions by providing a realtime common operating picture for FEMA headquarters and regions, as well as for federal, state, territory, and tribal partners. The system provides multitiered situational awareness of incident support and management activities, including, but not limited to, significant event tracking, resource request processing, resource tracking, and incident action plan development.

House Report 114-668 accompanying the FY 2017 DHS Appropriations Act (P.L. 115-31) requires FEMA to report on steps taken to address interconnectivity issues identified in DHS's Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, OIG-16-10 FEMA Faces Challenges in Managing Information Technology. The report identified key findings related to duplicative and timeconsuming data entry because of lack of interface between WebEOC and FEMA's financial management systems and various state WebEOC systems:

In addition to the grant systems, FEMA's primary watch and response collaboration system, WebEOC, is not sufficiently integrated with key agency systems. When state or local governments are overwhelmed during a major disaster, FEMA uses mission assignments to request immediate short-term emergency response assistance. FEMA personnel enter information into WebEOC, which processes and tracks the mission assignment requests. Personnel also must manually enter the same information into [Enterprise Coordination and Approval Processing System] eCAPS, the financial approval system used to process mission assignments, and [Web Integrated Financial Management Information System] WebIFMIS. Figure 4 shows the manual data entry required for the mission assignment process.

Further, the FEMA WebEOC is not integrated with the WebEOC used by state emergency operation centers. FEMA regions rely on an inefficient manual process to update the FEMA WebEOC with information from the state centers about ongoing disasters. Specifically, a region has to send FEMA staff to a state emergency operation center to review the state's information. If a state's request for assistance is submitted in the state system, a FEMA staff member must print it out and manually enter the same data into the FEMA WebEOC. This process can cause delays in

2

Download Pdf File