Follow-up Review of the Critical Incident Response Plans of the United States Attorneys’ Offices

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2007-001
January 2007
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix IV
NSD Response
  U. S. Department of Justice

National Security Division

Office of the Assistant Attorney General
(202) 414-1057
Room 2230, RFK Main Justice Building
10th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

January 9, 2007


TO:  Paul Price
Assistant Inspector General
    for Evaluation and Inspections
FROM:  Kenneth L. Wainstein (signature)
Assistant Attorney General
National Security Division
SUBJECT:  Response to the Inspector General's Follow-up Review of the Critical Incident Response Plans of the United States Attorneys' Offices. A-2006-003

The National Security Division (NSD) has reviewed the Office of General's (OIG) draft audit report entitled, Follow-up Review of the Critical Incident Response Plans of the United States Attorneys A-2006-003. The NSD appreciates the opportunity to review this report and provides the following response, as requested in your memorandum dated December 8, 2006.1

The NSD concurs with the recommendations resulting from this review and will work with EOUSA, United States Attorneys' Offices (AOUSA) and other Department components as necessary, to implement workable solutions to the OIG findings in a timely manner. The NSD recognizes the critical importance of this program and is fully committed to ensuring its success.

The NSD disagrees with the statement that do to competing responsibilities the National Coordinator was unable to "maintain an effective dialogue with the CMC regarding CRIP related activities since the October 2005 conference," but recognizes that the dialogue could have been more effective. Numerous items of interest were routinely provided to CMCs such as the Katrina Lessons Learned Report authored by the Homeland Security Council. The fact that so many CMCs who were surveyed (62) still indicated they had never received any lessons learned information highlights the recognized problem with the turnover in the CMC ranks. That turnover, when coupled with the fact that many CMCs have a significant caseload which prevents them from devoting the necessary time to their CMC duties, must be addressed and the NSD will be discussing possible solutions to this problem with EOUSA.

The competing demands faced by the National Coordinator highlight the need for additional resources in this area, both within CTS and the Department as a whole. The NSD and Criminal Division have made this a priority in budget submissions for CTS and are hopeful additional positions will be authorized for the 2008 budget. With regard to the Department resources in this area, CRM and NSD are participating in discussions with the senior leadership of the Department regarding the best way to lead, organize and manage the program for the Department as a whole.


Recommendation 1:  EOUSA and CTS clarify each component's CMC Program responsibilities:

The NSD concurs with this recommendation and agrees that greater clarity is needed regarding CMC Program Responsibilities. We look forward to meeting with EOUSA officials to develop a clear understanding and delineation of each component's respective responsibilities, to adopt implementation procedures to carry out those responsibilities, and then implement procedures to carry out those responsibilities and communicate these to USAOs. We agree with EOUSA that this can be accomplished by March 5, 2007.

Recommendation 2:  In accordance with guidance provided by EOUSA and CTS, the USAOs conduct exercises of their CIRPs.

The NSD concurs with this recommendation and agrees that annual exercises are essential to maintaining an effective program. The NSD believes that EOUSA can best track the completion of exercises and work with USAOs to ensure that they are aware of the requirement. The NSD will assist EOUSA as necessary. The NSD will send a new tabletop exercise to all districts and post same on the Docushare intranet within 30 days.

Recommendation 3:  The USAOs complete, retain, and forward copies of the after-action reports to EOUSA and CTS.

The NSD concurs with this recommendation and will work with EOUSA to develop procedures by March 5, 2007 to retain these reports and to notify districts of the requirement to retain and after-action reports. While CTS needs to be aware of the content of the reports in order to pass on best practices to other districts and assist with corrective action if needed, we believe that all of the "official record" copies of the plans and reports should be in one place at EOUSA.

Recommendation 4:  EOUSA and CTS establish a system that alerts EOUSA when USAOs do not:

The NSD agrees with this recommendation and will work with EOUSA to develop a system by March 5, 2007 which tracks the completion of CIRP exercises by each district and the submission of after-action reports. We envision that EOUSA will create a database that will be checked each quarter to enable sending appropriate reminders to USAOs as needed.

Recommendation 5:  EOUSA ensure that performance measures to monitor completion of CIRP exercises and after-action reports remain a part of its triennial review process.

The NSD agrees with this recommendation and will provide EOUSA technical assistance as needed regarding the content of that portion of the EARS review concerning the CMC program.

Recommendation 6:  When vacancies occur in the CMC positions (either permanent or temporary), the USAOs appoint new CMCs as soon as practicable; the USAOs also should notify EOUSA and CTS immediately of any vacancies and subsequent appointments.

The NSD concurs with this recommendation.

Recommendation 7:  EOUSA and CTS ensure that the new CMCs receive timely orientation and training.

The NSD concurs with this recommendation and will meet with EOUSA to discuss the compilation of the appropriate orientation information/materials and the best method to deliver the information to new CMCs by March 5, 2007. The NSD will also continue to plan, in conjunction with the EOUSA National Advocacy Center, periodic training conferences for all CMCs.

  1. As the draft report recognizes in footnote 28, subsequent to the initiation of the follow-up evaluation, the CTS became a part of the NSD on September 28, 2006. The NSD has coordinated this response with the criminal division.

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