Sunday, October 31, 2004

Grant will boost crisis communications : "CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department was awarded a $6 million grant to create an emergency communications network with 11 area N.C. and S.C. counties. The project will allow for real-time communications between first responders in the event of a natural disaster, homeland security issue or other emergency. "
Kentucky's First Responders: Removing Interoperability Barriers: "Kentucky's Executive Director of Homeland Security, Erwin Roberts, is working with KWIEC and the Commonwealth Office of Technology to get the most out of federal dollars now coming into Kentucky for homeland security. According to Roberts, 'The solution we envision will be addressing the needs of both local first responders and state agencies. And it's more than purchasing equipment that can provide for effective communication. The effort to help make Kentucky safer is requiring all first responders to see themselves as one team and be open to the idea of adopting shared ideas and common ways of planning and communicating.'"
Homeland Security tech spending on the way up (10/26/04): " ... The science and technology division also will receive $11 million for SAFECOM, a wireless initiative created to ensure that firefighters and other first responders have equipment that can 'talk' across jurisdictions during emergencies. The spending bill further includes $15 million for the National Incident Management System to coordinate first responders and federal officials. First responders recently expressed concerns about federal funding for NIMS, an unrealistic deadline, poor access to training, the lack of a well-defined model for an interdisciplinary emergency system, and the ability of responders' equipment to communicate across jurisdictions."
Raytheon JPS Communications and Nextel Advance Radio Systems Interoperability (10/27): "Nextel and Raytheon JPS today announced a strategic alliance to break down the barriers of communication between disparate radio systems, enabling interoperability between systems that were previously incompatible. Working together, the companies are improving communications capabilities across a range of government and business needs - from emergency situations for first responders to field service operations for utilities and manufacturers."
Warner outlines Virginia communications plan: "Virginia Gov. Mark Warner announced this week the state's plan to achieve communications interoperability, including specific goals for state and local public safety officials to speak and work with one another. Starting with a strategy for the next two years, the plan sets four high-level goals with corresponding initiatives and performance measures to help ensure that the initiatives achieve the goals and people understand the plan, according to the report."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

UASI:Miami - FL Region 4 AAR: "An after action report on Hurricane Charley, including discussion on communications aspects."

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Federal grant to improve public safety links: "COUNCIL BLUFFS - Omaha and Council Bluffs firefighters working together on a fire will be able to talk directly with each other, rather than passing messages between dispatchers, within the next two years if all goes well. "
Bringing broadband to public safety: "Public safety communications is a hot topic in local communities and is a touchy subject on Capitol Hill. However, Washington, D.C., officials are now leading the way on one solution that has national support - a wireless broadband network for public safety officials. But all parts of the federal government must support that approach for it to be successful. District officials developed a citywide 700 MHz broadband network, known as the Wireless Accelerated Responder Network (WARN), under an experimental license from the Federal Communications Commission."
Virginia Gov. Announces New Interoperability Plan: "Today Gov. Mark R. Warner announced Virginia's interoperability plan. The strategic plan was drafted by Virginia first responders and approved by the governor earlier this month. The Department of Homeland Security's SAFECOM, the federal entity charged with improving radio communication among first responders nationwide, has also indicated that it will be using Virginia's statewide strategic plan as a model for best practices for other states to follow when conducting communications planning."

Friday, October 15, 2004

NMRC 'Blueprint for Action' to Improve Communications Interoperability, A Valuable Resource for Department of Homeland Security: "In support of the Department of Homeland Security's new Office of Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC), the New Millennium Research Council (NMRC) today releases a 'roadmap' document that can be used by the OIC to set priorities and assess solutions to address the nation's communications interoperability crisis. Nine leading experts from government and academia, including the director of the SAFECOM Program at the Department of Homeland Security, David G. Boyd, and the director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues at the Government Accountability Office, William Jenkins, Jr., outline how best to resolve the major obstacles impeding first responder communications interoperability."
Homeland security CIO to gain funds, clout: "Homeland Security Department CIO Steve Cooper stands to gain a fourfold budget increase and new control over critical programs as a result of the homeland security appropriations bill Congress approved earlier this week. Details of the reshaped DHS budget have been trickling out since the Senate cleared the conference report on the bill by voice vote Monday and sent it to President Bush's desk. Homeland Security Department officials declined to comment on the shift of funds and power to the CIO office, saying they are still reviewing the legislation. The bill calls for Cooper's budget to increase from about $65 million to $275.3 million."

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Interoperability in Virginia: "Virginia is currently developing a Statewide Interoperability Strategic Plan to ensure that localities, state agencies, and federal agencies work together to improve interoperability. The development of this plan is only the first step. The involvement and leadership by localities is the driving force that will make this effort a success."