HSOAC's Continued Support for Hurricane Recovery

Following submission of the recovery plan to Congress in August 2018, the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC) has continued to support recovery efforts, both in Puerto Rico and subsequently extending to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Below we highlight some of the ways HSOAC has assisted FEMA related to recovery and rebuilding activities.

Considerations for Implementation of the Puerto Rico Economic and Disaster Recovery Plan

After Transformation and Innovation in the Wake of Devastation [PDF] was submitted to Congress, Puerto Rico started working to implement the strategic vision for the future that it described. HSOAC conducted three analyses with the goal of helping Puerto Rico address logistical and municipal challenges that could impact recovery plan implementation.

Validating Costs for Large Rebuilding Projects

After Hurricanes Maria and Irma, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands opted to participate in FEMA’s Public Assistance Alternative Procedures (PAAP) Pilot Program for Permanent Work. Under this pilot program, FEMA provides fixed-cost grants to repair public infrastructure that was damaged by the storms. The value of these grants is determined based on cost estimates developed by FEMA, with input from the government of Puerto Rico.

The Stafford Act (Section 428, as amended by the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act) requires an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) to validate cost estimates for large, permanent work projects under the PAAP pilot program; this requirement was re-iterated in the President’s Major Disaster Declaration (DR-4339) following Hurricane Maria.

FEMA asked HSOAC to represent it on and lead the IEP. In this role, HSOAC is leading efforts to validate recovery project cost estimates meeting certain criteria. HSOAC is also developing the underlying economic analysis, including forecasts of inflation, labor supply, and relative material costs between the continental U.S. and the Caribbean.