The History of FEMA: How did it begin?

The History of FEMA: How did it begin?

What is FEMA?

FEMA which stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency is an independent agency created to respond to, plan for, recover from, and mitigate against disaster—natural or man-made. In any in part of the country of the United States. The agency is tasked with the mandate to report to the president. Also to suggests ways to arrest or resolve emergency issues.

When was the FEMA created?

The origin of FEMA as an agency can be traced to the congressional Act of 1803. It was the first Act that considers legislation on disaster because it gave assistance to a town in New Hampshire which suffered from extensive fire damage. However, the century that precedes 1803 saw an Ad Hoc legislation that passed over 100 times as a response to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and such other natural disasters.

Further historical perspective of FEMA

During the 1930s, the federal government started to approach the problems of natural disasters, and such concern became popular. Consequently, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was given the green light to make disaster loans.  This consisted of the repair and reconstruction of certain public facilities, in the aftermath of an earthquake, and followed by other types of disasters.

Aerial view of the after math of San Fernando Earthquake 1971

San Fernando Earthquake 1971

In 1934, authority was given to the Bureau of Public Roads to fund the reconstruction of highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters. Another Act known as the Flood Control Act was passed. It gave the US Army Corps of Engineers extensive authority to implement flood control projects. However, there were some lapses and problems plaguing the effective utilization of this piecemeal approach. It calls for the need for a legislation to enhance greater cooperation between government agencies.

Massive disasters were recorded in the 1960s and early 1970s, which led to the formation of the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration.  It is an agency established within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, the impact of other natural disasters such as the hurricane Carla in 1962, the San Fernando earthquake in 1971 and hurricane Agnes in 1972, led to more agitation for a better agency. There were calls to decrease the numbers of agencies task with disaster management,  President Jimmy Carter was asked to centralize federal emergency functions. These led to an executive order in 1979 creating the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The first director of FEMA was John Macy.

Mission of the agency

FEMA’s mission is to support first responders and citizen of the United States.  To help build and improve the capability to prepare for, respond to, protect against, recover from and mitigate all forms of hazards.

FEMA’s performance today

people gathering to obtain water from FEMA after hurricane maria

Hurricane Maria

FEMA, still operating within the Department of Home Land Security, has been very active in coordinating the federal government response to natural and man-made disasters. Since its inception, the agency has been of great help to local and state government in tackling various hazards. Although FEMA has undergone lots of changes to increase its effectiveness, the Government Accountability Office is still recording lapses in the agency’s overall performance.

Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

DynaGrace Enterprises Moves to New Location in Morgan, Utah

DynaGrace Enterprises Moves to New Location in Morgan, Utah

Sometimes, it is just time.  Time to move!

Mother and Daughter Team in Morgan, Utah Picture by: Britney Brent

Mother and Daughter Team in Morgan, Utah Picture by: Britney Brent

DynaGrace Enterprises Moves to New Location in Morgan, Utah

DynaGrace Enterprises Moves to New Location in Morgan, Utah Picture by: Britney Brent

DynaGrace Enterprises has moved out of a home-based office into a commercial building in Morgan, Utah.  We have determined our growth opportunities need a storefront, and for other legal and regulatory reasons, we moved into a beautiful, rural, commercial, building that allows us to be more successful.

We love having a place where prospective clients routinely visit to make a decision to purchase our services.  We feel we are definitely more professional in a commercial office.

We were limited on space for doing the services that we really want to do such as website design, publishing books, STEM activities for children and a podcast studio.

And well…after 12 years working at home it was time to be more productive in a different environment.  Focus and staying on task are the theme for DynaGrace Enterprises in 2018.

Physically leaving home to go to an office helps us be more efficient and produce more.

We have a pure team environment now with Jennifer Remund, Machelle Lowry and myself, Linda Rawson collaborating on upcoming projects.  We have already jumped into the business community by attending Women In Business events put on by the Northfront Business Resource Center.  We participated in the first-ever Festival of Trees put on by the Morgan Chamber of Commerce.

We have a singular mission, and that is to make DynaGrace Enterprises a Women-Owned, rural, powerhouse for professional business services.

We are an example of the less than one percent in the State of Utah, and we are here to stay and prosper.

Come by and say hello.

The new address is 298 E 300 N, Morgan, Ut  84050.  Our hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

DynaGrace Enterprises, Morgan, Utah Picture by: Britney Brent

DynaGrace Enterprises, Morgan, Utah Picture by: Britney Brent

#womenowned #bosslady #rural #ladyboss #entreprenur #girlpower #success #wosb

Creating a Tree for Morgan Festival of Trees

Creating a Tree for Morgan Festival of Trees

Creating a Tree for Morgan Festival of Trees Hosted by Morgan Area Chamber of Commerce located in Morgan, Utah.

We decided to Donate a tree for the Annual Festival of Trees located in Morgan, Utah. The donated Tree is up for bidding, and the money will be donated to the Local Sub-for-Santa efforts in Morgan, Utah. We decided to do a weather themed tree considering our recent WeatherEgg™ Kids Whacky Weather Board Game launched on Kickstarter last month.

Creating a weather themed Christmas tree was difficult. You cannot go into Walmart and buy weather themed ornaments except the typical snowflake.

Ideas started forming, and before I knew it, I was hand making ornaments the week of Thanksgiving.

Not only is it the week of Thanksgiving but also my kids had the Flu and Strep.  Living in a small town, you tend to pass viruses around like crazy. My children were not the only kids sick at this time; half the schools were empty.

On to the ornament making and trying my hardest to not get sick in the process turned out to be a very stressful but joyful thanksgiving and believe it or not I did manage to go Black Friday Shopping.

I decided a few weeks prior I wanted to make resin epoxy ornaments because I could not only customize the ornaments but I could add our very cute WeatherEgg™ Kids into the ornaments. I ordered silicone molds. RoundSnowflakes, Sphere, and Lighting bolts.  I also ordered glitter.

My ideas were running wild, but I needed something else as well.

I came up with the idea to do thermometers, but we will get to that later.

Making the resin epoxy ornaments, I googled on how to do so. After watching a few YouTube Videos and looking on Esty, I went ahead and ordered the Casting Epoxy off of Amazon in a significant amount. I wanted to make sure I had enough especially for mistakes. I started with the snowflakes.

You have to measure equal amounts of resin and hardener for the resin to set. Mix for 2 minutes and then mix in the glitter and pour into a mold.

After every blend, you have to clean out the measuring cup and do it all over again. It takes 24 hours for the resin to harden fully.

The Thermometers were a little different. I decided to order plastic beakers off of Amazon. I created and printed a thermometer insert, (Few tries to get the size right) and added red glitter for temperature. Hot glued the tops with a hook and sparkly thermometer.

I did try and keep it at the office and hide the evidence that I was making a craft with glitter, but with the sick kids and 24 hour cure time I had to move the operation to my house. Days and days of ornament making as well as my children making some crazy creations using every color of glitter and trying to help. We all know how children “help” especially a  10 and a 9-year-old. It looks like a fairy sneezed all over my home and office.

Next, I wanted something for rain. Trying to figure out rain was difficult. We needed more lights. Searched and searched on Amazon. Found just what I was looking for. They are called meteor lights, but to me, they seemed similar to rain.

We have the kids, thermometers, rain, lighting, what about the sun? I also found on Amazon the thin wire lights. I in my spare time I bent and shaped these lights into a sun shape. Cute but on the tree you can barely see them. Pictured here:

Added Ribbon, snowflakes tree skirt, sparkle grass. The result?

It turned out fantastic and creative. Everyone that has come to see the tree is like wow you made all those ornaments? Who are those characters? Opening up conversations about weather and our business and feeling of accomplishment and acceptance was the end goal, which we succeeded in immeasurably.

We will be doing this annually from now on. Not so sure on hand making ornaments next year, maybe if I have the time and the motivation. After all, it was a fun experience.

Linda Rawson Of Dynagrace Enterprises Launches Kickstarter Campaign for STEM Weather Board Game

Linda Rawson Of Dynagrace Enterprises Launches Kickstarter Campaign for STEM Weather Board Game

Whacky Weather Board Game

Whacky Weather Board Game

Kickstarter Launch

Linda Rawson, President, and CEO of DynaGrace Enterprises – an 8(a), WOSB, Information Technology and writing services company, has launched a Kickstarter Campaign.  The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) board game is titled WeatherEgg Kids:  Whacky Weather Board Game.  The board game will help raise funds for her invention, called Weatheregg™ and teach children about weather.

Linda was born in a small farming community in Utah.  She was raised by her mother, who was a single mom raising five children. Her mother never went to college and did not have any dreams of owning her own business.  Because of this, Linda thinks it is essential for children, especially girl children, to acquire more knowledge and skills in STEM.

“It is a great privilege to bring a small piece of science to children in the hopes that they become our scientists of the future,” stated Linda Rawson, President, and CEO of DynaGrace Enterprises. “DynaGrace Enterprises has been heavily involved in Department of Defense Information Technology work.  The WeatherEgg™ is an invention that is almost to fruition.  To fund that invention, I created another invention. One that helps children learn science. In particular, weather science.”

What about STEM?

With the onset of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum in education, science needs to be fun.  The WeatherEgg™ kids, animated 3D humanoid characters, make weather science fun.  Sweet, loveable, Holley Humidity, moody Peggy Pressure, mischievous Wesley Wind, and the hero Tommy Temperature can cause quite a storm.  The WeatherEgg Kids will appear in a mobile application and a web application to teach children about weather.

DynaGrace Enterprises hopes to lead the field in teaching children about the weather.  DynaGrace Enterprises continues to support a path of growth while maintaining a reputation as a provider of Information Technology and writing services.

Customers can learn more about DynaGrace Enterprises by visiting the company’s website at DynaGrace.com or by calling the company directly at 800-676-0058.  Please learn more about WeatherEgg by visiting WeatherEgg.com.

The official Kickstarter link is here -> https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/522610746/weatheregg-kids-whacky-weather-board-game

The official Press release is here -> https://www.pr.com/press-release/735638

DynaGrace Enterprises Recognized as Utah Patriot Partner

DynaGrace Enterprises Recognized as Utah Patriot Partner

DynaGrace Enterprises Accepting Patriot Partner Award

DynaGrace Enterprises Accepting Patriot Partner Award

DynaGrace Enterprises – an 8(a), WOSB, Information Technology and Technical Writing Company, has been recognized as a Utah Patriot Partner.

The program is pioneered by Utah Governor Gary Herbert and the Utah Department of Workforce Services to encourages Utah businesses to hire Veterans as a first choice to unlock job creation for our country’s veterans.

DynaGrace Enterprises is one of the most recent beneficiaries of the Utah Patriot Partnership. DynaGrace Enterprises’s President and CEO, Linda Rawson and Vice President, Jennifer Remund accepted the award from Eden Johnson, a hardworking, professional Veterans’ representative and Workforce Development Specialist with the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

Eden helped DynaGrace Enterprises with some recent job openings. DynaGrace Enterprises contacted her to utilize job programs in which they could hire veterans first. Linda Rawson is committed to providing Veterans with a way forward after serving our country. Job seeking Veterans can be found by accessing Utah’s online Job Connection service. Eden helped with the wording, publishing, and distribution of the job announcement.
DynaGrace Enterprises accepted the challenge from Governor Herbert to pledge their support for returning heroes and not only considered but wanted Utah Veterans for the recent job openings. DynaGrace Enterprises joined other Utah businesses to hire and support Veterans returning from the world’s battlefields.

“It is a great privilege to be recognized in the Utah Patriot Partnership Program,” stated Linda Rawson, President, and CEO of DynaGrace Enterprises. “DynaGrace Enterprises has been heavily involved in Department of Defense work and is moving full forward in a growth opportunity. The Utah Department of Workforce services is providing the mechanism, additional insight, and resources needed to acquire employees who are veterans. Veterans have been taught discipline and structure. They show up on time and do their job. This is a win-win for both the employee and the company.”

DynaGrace Enterprises Patriot Partner Award

DynaGrace Enterprises Patriot Partner Award

Programs, like the Utah Patriot Partnership, are making a difference. In a July 2017 report published by the Department of Labor, the Veteran unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, down from 4.7 percent last July, and the lowest July rate since 2001 (not seasonally adjusted, 20 years and over). In comparison, the non-veteran unemployment rate for July 2017 was 4.2 percent.

Customers can learn more about DynaGrace Enterprises by visiting the company’s website at DynaGrace.com or by calling the company directly at 888-676-0058.

The official Press Release is here -> DynaGrace Enterprises Recognized as Utah Patriot Partner

What does NIST SP 800-171 mean?

What does NIST SP 800-171 mean?

What does NIST SP 800-171 mean?

NIST SP 800-171

NIST SP 800-171

As a small business in the Department of Defense (DoD) Government Contracting realm we do have cybersecurity experience.  We have done the DoD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) which has now been transitioned to the Risk Management Framework (RMF).  RMF is a six-step process developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to apply risk management to Information Systems.

RMF Certification.  Very time consuming and costly.  My employees have been great to work through all the necessary paperwork with patience and expertise to get this certification for the Information Systems they are responsible for.

Last week, I met with Adam Austin, Reggie Hall, and Alli Bey of Haight Bey, Engineering and Security Solutions who started to put a small fear into my soul.   They informed me that a little over a year ago a revision to the DoD Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) contained some new cybersecurity requirements for DoD contractors who process unclassified information.   The final document is the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171, Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations.

If you are a government contractor, failure to meet these requirements will result in the loss of your contracts because the confidentiality of CUI in non-federal systems is now being mandated.

The requirements in DFARS clause 252.204-7008 are:

(b) The security requirements required by contract clause 252.204-7012, shall be implemented for all covered defense information on all covered contractor information systems that support the performance of this contract.

(c) For covered contractor information systems that are not part of an information technology service or system operated on behalf of the Government (see 252.204-7012(b)(2)) –

(1) By submission of this offer, the Offeror represents that it will implement the security requirements specified by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171, “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations” (see http://dx.doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.800-171)that are in effect at the time the solicitation is issued or as authorized by the contracting officer, not later than December 31, 2017.

(2)

(i) If the Offeror proposes to vary from any of the security requirements specified by NIST SP 800-171 that are in effect at the time the solicitation is issued or as authorized by the Contracting Officer, the Offeror shall submit to the Contracting Officer, for consideration by the DoD Chief Information Officer (CIO), a written explanation of

(A) Why a particular security requirement is not applicable; or

(B) How an alternative but equally effective, security measure is used to compensate for the inability to satisfy a particular requirement and achieve equivalent protection.

(ii) An authorized representative of the DoD CIO will adjudicate offeror requests to vary from NIST SP 800-171 requirements in writing prior to contract award. Any accepted variance from NIST SP 800-171 shall be incorporated into the resulting contract.

What does this clause mean to me?

Wait…December 31, 2017?  Adjudicate?

What do I have to do?

The clause summarizes that DoD government contractors like me need to properly secure their OWN IT systems that process any deliverable due to the government.  Examples are the following:

  • Research and Engineering Data including Engineering Drawings, Associated Lists, Specifications, Standards, Process Sheets, Manuals, Technical Reports, Technical Orders, Catalog-Item Identifications
  • Data Sets
  • Studies, Analyses and Related Information
  • Computer Software Executable Code and Source Code
  • Monthly or Quarterly Reports

If you’re a DoD government contractor developing and submitting Contract Data Requirements List (CDRLs), you’ll need to ensure, on your own dime, that your Information Systems meet some stringent cybersecurity requirements by the end of 2017 just like the BIG government Information Systems.

In addition to securing your IT systems, you’ll need to ensure you have a process in place to continuously monitor your organization for cyber-incidents and be able to report any such incidents to the DoD quickly.

The NIST SP 800-171 contains 14 sections of requirements broken down into 110 required controls.  Each requirement is mapped to NIST SP 800-53 and ISO/IEC 27001 controls.  You may be familiar with these controls if you have been involved in securing government IT systems.   The following are those 14 sections and their appropriate “who” and “why.”

NIST SP 800 171 Requirements

NIST SP 800 171 Requirements

The 131 risk mitigating actions, called controls, are comprised of 670 individual assessments that a contractor will need to perform to verify the measures have been taken.

What can I do to mitigate this risk?

  1. Understand Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
  2. Conduct NIST 800-171 CUI Self-Assessment provided by the Common Solutions Group (https://library.educause.edu/resources/2016/9/nist-sp-800-171-compliance-template) to analyze the gaps between my organization and the NIST SP 800-171 requirements.
  3. Create my Plan of Actions & Milestones (POA&M) to implement corrections.
  4. Build cybersecurity into my bottom line and internal processes. I need to build and execute a process to ensure continuous monitoring and assessment of the controls to mitigate risk beginning with the most critical mitigation.
    1. The plan has to have tasks that validate and verify the plan is being executed.
    2. Tasks must be performed to ensure continuous risk assessment and progress on the POA&M.
    3. Develop and implement a process to identify and report cyber-incidents to the DoD
  5. Get my CUI Self-Attestation and CUI Deliverables including the following:
    1. Written Information Security Program (WISP)
    2. Configuration Management Plan (CMP)
    3. Information Security Continuous Monitoring (ISCM)
    4. Information System Contingency Plan (ISCP)
    5. Incident Response Plan (IRP)
    6. Security Awareness Program (SAP)
    7. Security Assessment Report (SAR)
    8. System Security Plan (SSP)

Just another thing for a small business that requires planning, people, and resources.  The good news is I have to write the POA&M, and that may be enough for the contracting officer to declare me in compliance.

Daunting.  Doable.

If you are a DoD contractor that hasn’t yet implemented NIST SP 800-171, your organization may want to start looking at it.  It could mean the difference between winning or NOT winning a contract.  More and more contracting officers will be requiring companies to be in compliance.  I would suggest you get ahead of the power curve.

If you are not sure if your organization is affected by this requirement reach out to the experts at Haight Bey, Engineering, and Security Solutions.

As DynaGrace Enterprises goes through the journey to this mandated tightening up of our own cybersecurity practices watch for subsequent articles about our journey.

Linda Rawson, CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com)

A Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business

Author:  The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts
Between POWER and GRACE lies EXCELLENCE
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