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FEMA’s Advance Contract Strategy for Disasters in Puerto Rico

Executive Summary

Following Hurricane Maria, FEMA did not maximize the use of advance contracts to address identified capability deficiencies and needs in Puerto Rico.  Specifically, we identified 49 of 241 new contracts issued in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria for the same goods or services covered by existing advance contracts.  We attributed FEMA’s limited use of advance contracts to its lack of a strategy and documented planning process for ensuring maximum use of advance contracts. Further, FEMA did not maintain contract files in accordance with Federal acquisition regulations and departmental or its own policy.  This occurred because FEMA’s Office of the Chief Procurement Officer did not have controls in place to ensure contract personnel follow Federal regulations and departmental or its own internal policy.  As a result, FEMA’s ability to hold contractors accountable for deliverables is hindered if contract files are not easily located. We made four recommendations to help FEMA improve its strategy for advance contracts, its process for identifying capability needs and gaps, and its contract file management practices. FEMA concurred with all four recommendations and described corrective actions it plans to take.

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