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

Conclusion and Recommendations

In response to our 2003 report, EOUSA and the CTS have taken important steps such as an improved model plan that the USAOs have adopted, and the completion of exercises on a much more frequent basis that have improved the USAOs’ critical response preparedness. If pursued, these efforts can help USAOs respond quickly and appropriately to critical incidents.

Yet, despite the initial responsiveness to the OIG’s 2003 recommendations, the efforts of the USAOs, EOUSA, and the CTS have regressed since June 2005. We found that USAOs have not consistently completed after-action reports following CIRP exercises or actual critical events, or forwarded these reports to both EOUSA and the CTS to allow for lessons learned to be shared. The USAOs also have not consistently notified EOUSA and the CTS immediately upon a new CMC’s appointment. Moreover, EOUSA and the CTS need to clarify their responsibilities for the CMC Program. The CTS, if it is to be the lead component in directing and supporting the CMCs, needs to provide additional administrative assistance to the program to (1) ensure that the USAOs are actually conducting the requisite activities and (2) leverage the lessons learned by each of the districts as they engage in CIRP exercises and actual events by sharing the positive and negative experiences with all other USAOs.

The response by USAOs in the areas affected by the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes demonstrates the value of the critical incident preparations they undertook beginning in March 2004. However, other USAOs have not followed the CIRP requirements, nor have EOUSA and the CTS provided the necessary direction and support to ensure that USAOs continually prepare for critical incidents.

In this report, we make seven recommendations to improve the USAOs’ critical incident response planning. We recommend that:

  1. EOUSA and the CTS clarify each component’s CMC Program responsibilities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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