Recent GAO reports

From the Government Accountability Office (GAO):

FEDERAL OVERSIGHT OF FOOD SAFETY: FDA Has Provided Few Details on the Resources and Strategies Needed to Implement its Food Protection Plan, GAO-08-909T (pdf, 18pp/384kB), June 12, 2008

In Nov. 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its Food Protection Plan, a framework for improving food safety. FDA is responsible for about 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, both domestic and imported. This GAO testimony is critical of FDA's lack of specificity on the resources and strategies required to implement the plan but supports its focus on evaluating and prioritizing risks of certain food and animal feeds as an effective way to target scarce resources.

YOUNG ADULTS WITH SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS: Some States and Federal Agencies Are Taking Steps to Address Their Transition Challenges, GAO-08-678 (pdf, 88pp/1.27MB), June 23, 2008

GAO estimates there are at least 2.4 million young adults--ages 18-26, and excluding the homeless, institutionalized, and incarcerated--with a serious mental illness that can affect their education and employment. GAO did this study for information on their number and demographics, the challenges they face, how certain states provide assistance, and how the federal government supports state programs. GAO visited four states--Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Mississippi--that have programs specifically to assist these youths.

National Response Framework: FEMA Needs Policies and Procedures to Better Integrate Non-Federal Stakeholders in the Revision Process, GAO-08-768 (pdf, 42pp/380kB), June 11, 2008

In Jan. 2008, the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) published the National Response Framework (NRF), a guide for federal, state, local, and tribal governments, and NGOs and private entities to respond to all disasters. Through its Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), DHS is responsible for heading the joint effort between federal, state, and local governments to catastrophe response. GAO found that DHS did not collaborate with non-federal stakeholders as fully as required by the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act, Title VI of P.L. 109-295 (pdf, 109pp.), at 120 Stat. 1394, and recommends that FEMA develop policies and procedures to do so for future NRF revisions.

HOMELAND SECURITY: First Responders' Ability to Detect and Model Hazardous Releases in Urban Areas Is Significantly Limited, GAO-08-180 (pdf, 79pp/1.29 MB), June 27, 2008

GAO found that local first responders lack the tools to identify and track the dispersion of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials released in urban areas either accidentally or by terrorists. GAO made its findings after evaluating, among other assessments, Top Officials (TOPOFF), terrorism preparedness exercises conducted from 2000 to 2007. In 2004 DHS established the Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC) to coordinate dispersion modeling and hazard prediction products during CBRN incidents, but problems with conflicting information remain.

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