DHS looking for communications gaps

DHS officials plan to solicit bids for a nationwide evaluation of public safety wireless communications.

Public Safety Communications and Interoperability Statement of Requirements

Homeland Security Department officials are about to tackle the problem of getting the nation's diverse first responders to talk to one another.

DHS officials plan to solicit bids later this month for a nationwide evaluation of public safety wireless communications. That assessment will be linked to short-term requirements for wireless communications, which were released earlier this year, to determine what new technology and policy changes are needed.

Officials in the Safecom program within DHS' Science and Technology Directorate oversee national efforts to coordinate public safety communications policies, practices and technologies. They coordinated efforts at all levels of government to develop the solicitation.

The new request for proposals will provide a research capability in the department that can be used for other functions later, said David Boyd, Safecom program manager.

"I would expect that we'll have an award before the end of this fiscal year, and we'll have the report back probably mid- to late-fiscal year next, in 2005," Boyd said last week in testimony before the House Government Reform Committee's National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations Subcommittee.

Completing a status assessment will not be enough to remove all the barriers that stand in the way of wireless interoperability, several public safety experts said at the hearing. Even initiatives intended to help can actually hinder, said William Jenkins, director of homeland security and justice issues at the Government Accountability Office.

Jenkins cited first responder and public safety grants. "The grants guidance itself, and the way that federal grants are structured, actually encourages the fragmented approach," he said. "They're part of the problem, not part of the solution."

Once a status assessment is completed, government officials will be able to move forward more quickly on technical and policy enhancements, Boyd said. Already, vendors are showing DHS how they are adapting their research to align products with the needs outlined in the statement of requirements, he said.

What has been missing is knowledge of where jurisdictions are now so that officials know exactly what needs to be done, said Stephen Devine, chairman of the State Interoperability Executive Committee for Missouri.

"Once the dialogue is created, I think we'll find that in many areas, [different jurisdictions] are not too far apart," he said.

The solicitation will specifically seek a partner to help Safecom officials formulate the best questions to analyze communications capabilities. The contractor will also help conduct the assessment, which will include interviewing people nationwide who are involved in wireless initiatives. Safecom officials are avoiding written questions because they want to get answers from the people doing the work, not simply from someone who had time to fill out a form, Boyd said.

Whether Safecom officials can meet the targets depends on the condition of DHS' Office of Interoperability and Compatibility, Jenkins said. DHS Secretary Tom Ridge created the office in May, and Safecom will join it by November.

However, it is impossible to tell what the office will be able to accomplish until officials straighten out "its structure, what its authority is, what the funding is," Jenkins said.

***

SETTING THE BASELINE

An assessment of wireless communications interoperability, set to begin by the end of the year, will provide the first baseline of capabilities nationwide. It will allow Homeland Security Department officials to determine how to reach the goals outlined in the statement of requirements released in April. That document detailed the voice and data needs of public safety and emergency response organizations in four general areas:

Public safety operations.

Structure fire and wildfire suppression services.

Emergency medical services.

Law enforcement.

Source: Homeland Security Department

NEXT STORY: Swiss get e-gov framework

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.