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National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, NSTAC Report to the President on Emergency Communications and Interoperability (Jan. 16, 2007) (full-text).
- Expand Use of Deployable Communications Capabilities. Direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to incorporate into its emergency communications plans and programs rapidly deployable, interoperable, mobile communications solutions that will provide reliable communications to emergency responders in the event of a regional catastrophic failure involving complete or significant loss of communications infrastructure. The President should also direct the DHS to expand and enhance use of the Wireless Priority Service (WPS) program in an area(s) of catastrophic critical infrastructure loss and/or damage through multi-carrier WPS end-to-end solutions that facilitate the rapid restoration of essential wireless network elements.
- Enhance the Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) Program for Wireless Networks. Direct the DHS and other responsible Federal agencies to explore enhancements to the TSP program to accommodate expanded requests from national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) users of wireless telecommunications services at critical sites. The President should also direct Federal agencies, and encourage State and local agencies, to fully utilize the existing provisions of TSP and to apply for the enhanced wireless TSP coverage provisions as they are developed for use at their critical sites.
- Improve NS/EP Policy to Support Emergency Communications. Modernize existing NS/EP policy guidance to clarify and consolidate Federal Government emergency communications roles and responsibilities. Specifically, additional Presidential policy guidance is required to:
- – Clearly delineate the NS/EP and emergency communications roles and functions of the National Communications System, the National Cyber Security Division, and the new Office of Emergency Communications, as established by the DHS Appropriations Act of 2007, and any other DHS organization, such as the Science and Technology Directorate and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with a role or responsibility in the area of emergency communications;
- – Preserve and maintain critical NS/EP functions and capabilities that support the National leadership; and
- – Ensure Executive oversight across the Federal Government for a fully coordinated, integrated, and interoperable emergency response communications function and capability.
- Include Critical Elements in the National Emergency Communications Strategy (NECS) and the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP). Incorporate the following critical elements in the development, maintenance, and execution of the NECS and associated implementation guidance, and direct the DHS and other responsible Federal agencies to incorporate the elements into the NECP:
- – Large-scale state and regional shared public safety networks and Federal grants;
- – Yearly benchmarks for achieving defined interoperability objectives;
- – Nationwide outreach to support emergency response communications;
- – Consolidation of operations centers to increase coordination and situational awareness; and
- – Identification of specific private-sector emergency communications and interoperability support roles.
- Address Emergency Communications in the Converged Environment. To encourage responsive emergency communications capabilities in the converged environment, establish and incorporate the following capability objectives into the NECS and associated implementation guidance, and also direct the DHS to incorporate the capability objectives into the NECP:
- – Support for a significantly expanded user base;
- – Full leveraging of network assets;
- – Internet protocol-based interoperability;
- – Assured access for key users through priority schemes or dedicated spectrum;
- – National scope with common procedures and interoperable technologies;
- – Deployable elements to supplement and bolster operability and interoperability;
- – Resilient and disruption–tolerant communications networks;
- – Network-centric principles benefiting emergency communications; and
- – Enhanced communications features.