Accession Number:



COVID-19: FEMA's Role in the Response and Related Challenges

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Congressional Testimony]

Corporate Author:

United States Government Accountability Office

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Why GAO Did This Study. The COVID-19 pandemic shows how biological threats have the potential to cause loss of life and sustained damage to the economy, societal stability, and global security. During the pandemic, 57 major disaster declarations were simultaneously issued for all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories - the first time in history this has occurred. FEMA had obligated about 5.8 billion for the response as of May 31, 2020.This statement addresses 1 FEMAs role in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, including efforts to acquire and distribute critical medical supplies, as well as 2 potential challenges for this and other biological incident responses. This statement is based on products GAO issued from August 2003 to June 2020, as well as ongoing efforts to monitor contract obligations. For these products, GAO reviewed relevant presidential directives, statutes, regulations, policies, strategic plans, other reports, as well as federal procurement data and interviewed federal and state officials, among others.GAO provided a copy of new contract obligation information in this statement to the Department of Homeland Security for review.

Subject Categories:

  • Microbiology
  • Administration and Management
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]