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Federal Emergency Management Agency

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Optimizing the delivery of critical programs for communities and disaster survivors

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Enabling FEMA Region 9 to take a more comprehensive approach to assessing readiness, risk, and performance of essential functions, make more effective and cost-efficient decisions on billions of dollars invested on an annual basis for life-saving priorities, and use the best available data to manage and improve programs as a regular way of doing business.

About FEMA

FEMA Region 9 is the authorized lead federal agency for supporting people before, during, and after disasters in the Southwestern and Pacific United States. This work entails leading and supporting disaster preparedness, grants management, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts in partnership with California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and more than 150 Tribal Nations for all-hazards, including hurricanes and typhoons, wildfires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, acts of terrorism, among other natural and man-made disasters. The Region has processed more than $10 Billion in support of these efforts since 2017. The Region also has an innovation-oriented culture and history, and frequently drives changes in federal emergency management that are implemented nationwide.

The challenge

The project

Help FEMA Region 9 optimize the delivery of critical programs for communities and disaster survivors before, during, and after disasters by improving: data identification, collection, analysis, and sharing across multiple mission areas. These efforts would better enable the Region to take a more comprehensive approach to assessing readiness, risk, and performance of essential functions, make more effective and cost-efficient decisions on billions of dollars invested on an annual basis for life-saving priorities, and use the best available data to manage and improve programs as a regular way of doing business. Improving the Region’s data management and analytics capabilities will enable greater transparency about where, when, and why decisions and investments are made.

While the Region has access to a wide range of data, it is not fully leveraging, managing, and integrating that data in a consolidated, streamlined, and strategic way. Some Divisions are more advanced in collecting, analyzing, managing, and sharing data, which results in the stove piping of information that could be helpful across mission areas.

Providing a meaningful, well-organized, and consistent data management and analysis process for the Region will require a dedicated, deliberate, and centralized effort. To accomplish this, the Regional Administrator directed the establishment of an enterprise-wide, cross-divisional team, coordinated and supported by a new Data Management and Analytics Branch in the National Preparedness Division, to improve and maintain data management and analytical capabilities in partnership with the Region’s programs. The new Branch will serve as a shared service hub and center of excellence in support of the Region’s programs. As part of this effort, the Region will also address technical requirements with tools and platforms focused on geo-spatial intelligence and mapping, data visualization and business intelligence, qualitative analysis, statistical analysis, predictive modeling, and machine learning.

The Region 9 Administrator is directly championing this effort. The data management and analytics challenges the Region currently faces are a microcosm of those faced by the Agency at large, and the Region’s efforts to address these challenges could serve as a pilot case, with best practices and lessons learned that could be applied to the entire Agency. The PIF would be most closely working with the Region’s National Preparedness Division, the Region’s Chief of Staff, and the Regional Administrator, and would be empowered to propose and enact practical solutions that can be accomplished by near, mid, and long-term timelines and set forth an achievable multi-year strategy.

While the Region is familiar with some methods and best practices, the PIF would be fully empowered to bring innovative ideas and solutions to address the problem statements and negotiate the strategy and courses of action and sequence of implementation that the individual sees as achievable. The Region has resources available in terms of hardware software, licenses, and personnel that may be required, and the PIF will directly brief the Regional Administrator on recommendations. Once approved, the Regional Administrator will resource and fully support the strategy for execution.

The PIF for this project will need to be an effective project manager and facilitator, well-organized, and able to clearly communicate complex ideas, concepts, and systems to a wide range of audiences. They should have a technical background in data science and architecture with prior experience designing, developing, and working with platforms and tools for data visualization, analysis, and management; predictive modeling; and machine learning. Experience with geo-spatial intelligence and mapping is beneficial but not required. The PIF should also have a strong background in qualitative and quantitative analytics, the ability to quickly understand, internalize, and manage a wide range of data sets, modeling tools, analytical methodologies, and indices.