Office of Justice Programs
State and Local Domestic Preparedness Grant Programs
Report No. 02-15
Office of the Inspector General
The Department of Justice administers grants to state and local agencies to enhance their ability to respond to terrorist acts. These domestic preparedness grant programs were initiated pursuant to the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which tasked the Attorney General to work in consultation with the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide grants for specialized training and equipment to metropolitan fire and emergency service departments. In April 1998 the Attorney General delegated authority to the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to administer $12 million in fiscal year (FY) 19981 funds for grants to local responders. The grant program was implemented by OJP's Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP). Through January 15, 2002, the ODP has awarded grants totaling about $149 million - $101.7 million to 257 grantees for equipment and $47.1 million to 29 grantees for training.
We reviewed ODP operations through January 2002 and the grant amounts expended through September 2001. We also performed on-site reviews at 13 grantees and 3 training organizations, and analyzed responses to a questionnaire on the quality of training received.
In brief, we found that while the ODP has awarded about $149 million for specialized equipment and training since inception of the program, grant funds were not awarded quickly, and grantees were very slow to spend available monies. As of January 15, 2002, more than half of the total funds appropriated for the grant program from FY 1998 through FY 2001 - $141 million out of $243 million - still had not been awarded. About $65 million in grant funds awarded was still unspent. Also, we found that nearly $1 million in equipment purchased with grants was unavailable for use because grantees did not properly distribute the equipment, could not locate it, or had been inadequately trained on how to operate it. Although, the grantees we contacted were satisfied with the overall quality of federally funded training, we found that the ODP had not developed performance measures for evaluating whether the program improved grantees' capability to respond to terrorist acts.
We made six recommendations to the Assistant Attorney General, OJP to: (1) continue with current efforts to ensure that states submit applications for funds from prior appropriations, and establish controls to ensure that applications for future funding are submitted as expeditiously as possible; (2) establish controls to ensure grantees use available funds as quickly as possible; (3) ensure that grantees properly distribute and maintain specialized equipment, and obtain adequate training to operate it; (4) remedy $870,899 in questioned costs for equipment that was unavailable or unusable; (5) ensure grantees conduct or participate in exercises to maintain their state of readiness; and (6) develop performance standards in keeping with the intent of the Government Performance Results Act for evaluating whether grant support is improving grantees' capability to respond to terrorist incidents.
The details of our work are contained in the Findings and Recommendations section of the report. Our audit objectives, scope, and methodology are contained in Appendix I.