In July 2017, former Administrator Brock Long announced his intention to enhance the Agency’s customer service and the efficiency of its program delivery by embedding staff with its State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial (SLTT) partners. FEMA solicited input on the FIT concept from internal and external stakeholders and received more than 500 comments. Based on this feedback, FEMA developed a phased, scalable, and tailored approach to the FIT program.
The FIT program, as outlined in Objective 2.2 of the FEMA Strategic Plan, enables FEMA to enhance intergovernmental coordination by co-locating FEMA Integration Teams (FIT) with its SLTT partners using a phased implementation approach. FEMA Regional Administrators (RA) are leading the FIT program and will oversee and manage FIT activities with support from FEMA Headquarters.
Desired End States
Desired end states of embedding FIT staff with its SLTT partners include the following:
- Provide a continuous and more coordinated FEMA presence in SLTT partner offices to bolster connections, cooperation, and communication necessary to enhance the Nation’s overall shared readiness;
- Increase the amount, speed, and quality of targeted technical assistance to build capacity; and address gaps, barriers, and delays in a more personal manner;
- Provide customers with increased access to and direct engagement by FEMA personnel and the technical assistance they provide to strengthen a collective understanding of its partners’ capabilities, needs, and gaps; and
- Enhance the customer experience, build more resilient communities, and ensure more effective response and recovery operations before, during, and after an incident.
Through the FIT program, FEMA will provide technical assistance and coordination for a range of program areas including (but not limited to): all-hazards planning, exercise design and evaluation, logistics, access and functional needs and disability integration, housing, disaster closeout, grants management, recovery planning, and risk assessment and analysis. Technical assistance needs can vary based on factors that include population, geography, capacity, and frequency of disasters.
Determining FIT Needs
To agree upon and determine FIT composition and services, FEMA RAs and partner leadership will conduct extensive dialogue to jointly identify tailored support and mutually-agreeable technical assistance needs and outcomes. Use of sources such as the Stakeholder Preparedness Reviews, formerly known as the State Preparedness Report (SPR), Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments (THIRA), after action reports, grant and audit findings, and other assessments should inform the type and amount of FIT support.
FEMA Regions and participating partner agencies will use a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to jointly agree upon and establish FIT support and objectives.
The FIT will consist of full-time employee(s) staffed from across multiple FEMA offices and cadres. FEMA will hire and select FIT staff based on their qualifications and experience to meet the needs and capability gaps specific to the requesting SLTT partner.
For the remainder of fiscal year 2018, FEMA will embed FEMA staff in up to 10 states. Phase II will expand to include up to 34 partners across all 10 regions. Phase III will reach full operating capability with FITs embedded in SLTT partner offices across all 10 regions throughout the Nation.
Role of Participating FIT Partners
In addition to providing FEMA with information regarding their FIT needs and objectives, participating partners will provide space and any logistical support required to enable FIT staff to function effectively in their designated facilities while FEMA will provide funding, training, and equipment for FIT employees.
FEMA has established a Program Executive Office (PEO) to provide the Regions with implementation support of the FEMA Integration Teams. For questions or additional information please either contact your respective Regional Administrator or the PEO at FEMA-Integration-Team@fema.dhs.gov.