Report: Homeland Security still lacking in disaster readiness
By Bruce Alpert
Copyright 2007 The Times-Picayune Publishing Company
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security has failed to meet 18 of 24 criteria for emergency preparedness and response, raising concerns about its ability to respond to a major hurricane such as Katrina, a congressional watchdog agency said Thursday.
But Paul Schneider, undersecretary for management at the department, took exception to the Government Accountability Office report, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it appears the agency didn't get credit for recent enhancements in preparedness. Still, Collins said "I'm very concerned" that the agency only made "limited progress" in establishing an all-hazards national response plan," including the kind of government-wide coordination needed to respond to a disaster as big as Hurricane Katrina.