A new report by the Government Accountability Office calls for agencies to improve how they award contracts to help businesses recover and rebuild in disaster-hit areas. The report issued on Wednesday highlights the contracting activities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Defense Logistics Agency and the Coast Guard during the 2017 disaster season.
The government released $5 billion in contracts to support local businesses in disaster response and recovery efforts after hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and the California wildfires that hit 15 percent of the population. GAO found that during this period officials from the four agencies were not efficiently familiar with the process to grant post-disaster contracts, including the planning process, regulations and justifications for awards.
To address the planning challenges, GAO recommends that federal agencies issue guidance on contracting process and requirements and that the Department of Homeland Security reopen its national interest action code to allow agencies to monitor and track data on contract actions.