DHS to discuss emergency radio jamming threat

Shutterstock image: social network, data distribution.

What: The Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate hosts the 2017 First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise July 17-22 in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Why: DHS said it wants to take a look at how effective anti-jamming technologies and techniques are for first responder radio communications systems as the threat of blocked radio communications broadens. The meeting, according to S&T's Dec. 20 notice, builds on the findings of the 2016 First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise that outlawed, but commercially available, radio jammers could be used to thwart public safety communications.

A fact sheet issued by S&T claims dangers from illegal radio jamming devices is a growing threat to first responder and other radio communications systems.

“Jamming of communications systems -- including jamming of GPS, radio and wireless systems -- poses a threat to law enforcement and public safety across the country,” said an S&T fact sheet accompanying the RFI. “The likelihood of jamming exacerbating a disaster grows each day as illegal jammers become more prevalent in the United States.”

The 2016 jamming exercise, it said, was “sobering,” with results showing that radio, cellular, GPS and other methods of communication were all vulnerable to jamming. “This threat could significantly impact law enforcement and public safety organizations across the country.”

The upcoming exercise in Idaho Falls, it said, will gather federal, state, local and trial law enforcement and public safety organizations, academia and industry to discuss and analyze the vulnerabilities. Tactical and observational teams, S&T officials said, will work in controlled “jamming environments” facing “real world jamming incidents” to develop solutions and recommendations for jamming attacks.

Click here for the full notice.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Dec 22, 2016 at 1:54 PM


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