8:15 AM, Oct 2, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
After nine years and $247 million, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) new high-tech disaster relief system may not work as intended, according to a new report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Not only is the system unable to interface with systems of suppliers and partners, but FEMA does not have enough personnel trained on how to use the system, nor is there published guidance or procedures should the system be unavailable. Additionally, the estimated "life cycle cost of the system" is about $556 million, which is $231 million more than the original estimate.
FEMA's purpose for the Logistics Supply Chain Management System (LSCMS) was to make the acquisition and delivery of emergency supplies (water, food, generator, blankets) quicker and more efficient. However, according to Inspector General John Roth, "One of FEMA’s prime missions is to immediately provide survivors with three days’ worth of basic emergency supplies. As presently configured, this supply chain system is not up to that task.” Roth's report placed the blame on DHS and FEMA:
We attribute these deficiencies to inadequate program management and oversight by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FEMA. As a result, FEMA may not be able to efficiently and effectively aid survivors of catastrophic disaster.
As recently as July 2014, FEMA had filled only 33 of 116 "logistics specialist positions" needed to operate the system in the event of an emergency, and not all of those had necessarily completed their training. Record-keeping for LSCMS training was so poor that the OIG "identified four logistics specialists with no record of having completed the LSCMS basic training course; yet in 2013, they were deployed for disaster response."
The OIG's report made 11 recommendations as a result of the audit, one of which FEMA has already fully addressed and the OIG considers closed. FEMA has begun to take action on most of the remaining recommendations, but the OIG is awaiting evidence of implementation before considering them resolved. In any case, even with the recommendations implemented, the OIG expressed doubt that the system would ever function as originally intended, concluding that "the current LSCMS may not ever meet critical performance requirements."
12:54 PM, Sep 8, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Department of Health and Human Services announces another $60 million for Obamacare navigators, a press release from that federal bureaucracy states.
"The Affordable Care Act is working for millions of Americans who are able to access quality health coverage at a price they can afford, in large part because of the efforts of in-person assisters in local communities across the nation. People shopping for and enrolling in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace can get local help in a number of ways, including through Navigators," reads the release.
Even the sign in button is broken.7:01 AM, Jul 3, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Colorado's 9News reviews its state's Obamacare exchange and finds that it's "clunky, counterintuitive, and confusing." The site was built with a $179 million grant from the federal government, but even the sign in button doesn't work.
9:01 AM, Mar 28, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released details of the latest contract with Terremark Federal Group covering "open market items" required for the ongoing operation of Healthcare.gov.
11:35 AM, Mar 5, 2014 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
"Bitcoin" is the most widespread, cryptographically-secure Internet currency. It was created in 2009 by someone (or someones) who referred to themselves as "Satoshi Nakamoto." Once it was released into the wild, the bitcoin currency ecosystem operated on a public, inalterable schedule.
11:03 AM, Jan 10, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The State Department today publicly announced a $10 million reward "for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual responsible for the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks." The announcement for the reward is posted on rewardsforjustice.net.
9:07 AM, Dec 12, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's agency announced grants of $58 million to 1,157 community health centers to allow them to "expand their enrollment assistance efforts as more Americans enroll in affordable health insurance coverage." These grants come on top of $150 million previously g
2:21 PM, Oct 25, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The Obamacare website Healthcare.gov has been grabbing all the headlines lately, but another aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may come under increased scrutiny in the weeks and months ahead: Electronic Health Records (EHR).
9:39 AM, Oct 23, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
New research from the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee shows that over the last 5 years, the U.S. has spent about $3.7 trillion on welfare. Here's a chart, showing that spending versus transportation, education, and NASA spending:
1:14 PM, Oct 10, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
A week before the government shutdown began, the State Department awarded a $130 million contract to design and build a new embassy compound in the city of NouakChott in the West African nation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, which lies between Mali and the Atlantic Ocean. The contract went to Caddell Construction of Montgomery, Alabama, after having asked for bids in December 2011:
1:38 PM, Sep 25, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
A new report by the American Action Forum finds that Obamacare exchanges will cost $5.3 billion and 16 million hours in paperwork burdens.
1:35 PM, May 1, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
As the White House first announced in March, Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Mexico and Costa Rica later this week. The trip is billed as "an important opportunity to reinforce the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America." And at yesterday’s White House press conference, the president stated that he is "very much looking forward to taking the trip down to Mexico" this week.
12:41 PM, Mar 8, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Earlier this week, a listing entitled "Parking Spaces at Democracy Blvd." appeared on the Federal Business Opportunities website. The contract was awarded on February 19th before the sequester took effect, but the timing could still prove embarrassing for the Obama administration.
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