Tag Archives: National Journal

Social Media in House DHS Appropriations Bill for 2013

Post by: Kim Stephens

English: Washington, DC, June 10, 2009 -- Mich...

English: Washington, DC, June 10, 2009 — Michael Moore and Mike McCormack train on video software at the first FEMA multimedia workshop at FEMA Headquarters. FEMA brought videographers into the training so they could learn new methods of story telling and keep up with the expansion of the use of social media tools. FEMA/Bill Koplitz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was reading the great post today in the National Journal about the Joplin 2011 Tornado, what really caught my eye, however, was this paragraph:

“If the House version of the bill appropriating FEMA’s budget for 2013 becomes law, Fugate will have to show that the agency has a plan for deploying social media. A provision requires FEMA to improve its ability to collect data in real time through social-media monitoring and messaging and directs the agency to produce a report on the utility of social media in disaster response.”

Whoa. I’m sure this is old news–I have been under a bit of a rock lately–meaning I’ve been traveling too much, but here is a link and the specific language from the Library of Congress :

“Real-time information gathering is critical in the wake of a natural disaster. Enabling first responders to utilize the most recent, up-to-date data is a key component to ensuring emergency response efforts. One way to collect real-time data is through the emergence of publicly available, social network messaging to provide insight into the aftermath of natural disasters. The Committee understands FEMA is examining ways in which to expand the application of this type of real-time data collection through social media as well as other uses of social media during disasters. As social media continues to become an even more powerful tool, the Committee directs DHS and FEMA to harness and apply these capabilities in support of its emergency management mission. The Committee directs the Administrator of FEMA to provide a report to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House detailing efforts to use social media in disaster response activities no later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act.”


The Automation Modernization account funds major information technology projects for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


The Committee recommends $58,048,000 for automation modernization, the amount requested under `Salaries and Expenses’ for the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Public Law 112-74 requires FEMA to submit to Congress a strategy for a comprehensive plan to automate and modernize their information systems. Using this plan and the information FEMA incorporated into the Office of Management and Budget’s `IT Dashboard,’ the Committee directs FEMA to fund all automation modernization programs from within this new appropriation. This new appropriation will facilitate better oversight of automation programs.

According to the `IT Dashboard’, FEMA has $271,700,000 in fiscal year 2013 for information technology, to include three programs classified as `major investment.’ However, the Committee is unable to identify how these programs are funded in the fiscal year 2013 budget. This new account will therefore provide the visibility needed in this area of investment. FEMA is encouraged to work with the Committee prior to the submission of the fiscal year 2014 budget request to delineate the specific programs and types of activities to include in this account.

Get those proposals ready!