GSA Role in Emergency Management
National emergencies and disasters can occur at any time and without warning. In response to such situations, the Office of Mission Assurance (OMA) serves as the GSA lead organization for the coordination and integration of the agency’s response. In this role, OMA not only oversees the agency’s response to disasters but also ensures that the agency fulfills its Primary Mission Essential Function (PMEF) for continuity of the government. OMA has a dual tracked system to address these challenges which includes Emergency Response and Continuity of Government programs, staff and activities. Training and exercises involving GSA’s Senior Emergency Response Team (SERT) are also part of the OMA portfolio.
GSA provides support for disaster response under auspices of the Robert T. Stafford Act and Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) # 8 National Preparedness. GSA works closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which is the lead agency tasked with coordinating and ensuring provision of support to affected States by the Federal government.
The National Response Framework (NRF) is the primary vehicle used by the Federal government to provide support to a State once a major disaster occurs in which they need additional resources from the Federal government. The NRF is comprised of 15 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) led by designated Departments/Agencies to provide specific specialized support. GSA is the Co-Primary agency, along with FEMA Logistics, for Emergency Support Function (ESF) #7 Logistics. GSA is also a Support Agency to nine other ESFs.
In GSA’s ESF #7 role, OMA and FEMA Logistics coordinate comprehensive incident resource planning, management, and sustainment capability to meet the needs of disaster survivors and responders. GSA may be required to provide emergency leasing services for space, acquisitions support for needed commodities, transportation services or other support as requested.
When an incident occurs, OMA staff will deploy and work 24/7 at FEMA operations centers at the National level (called the National Response Coordination Center or NRCC) in Washington, D.C. and / or at one of the 10 FEMA Regional level operations centers (called the Regional Response Coordination Center or RRCC) to provide support. OMA staff may also be tasked to work at a FEMA Joint Field Office (JFO) as the disaster progresses. OMA staff work closely with GSA PBS and FAS staff at all locations to ensure needed supplies and services are provided
Additionally, OMA’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will stand up 24/7 operations to gain situational awareness of activities surrounding the disaster, GSA support activities, and provide updates to GSA senior management on a regular basis during the response.
The diagram below demonstrates the GSA role upon activation at the National level: