Inspector GeneralInspector General: DHS knew in April 2005 of inability to respond to catastrophic incidents

Published 16 December 2005

DHS IG reveals that in April 2005 government-wide exercise showed inadequacy of DHS plans for coping with hurricane disaster in the Gulf

A comprehensive government-wide exercise conducted five months before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast showed gaps in the nation’s ability to respond to catastrophic incidents, according to a new report. The Top Officials 3, or TOPOFF 3, exercise in early April showed flaws in coordination between the federal government, state and local governments, and the private sector, according to a review released this week by DHS inspector general. Specifically, the review revealed a lack of understanding at all levels about the National Response Plan and National Incident Management System, which were developed to coordinate the government’s response to terrorist attacks or natural disasters. NRP and NIMS were used for the first time in a real catastrophe during Hurricane Katrina.

-see the DHS IG report (.pdf)