Monday, October 09, 2006

DHS pulls back $5 million from communications project (10/6/06): "The Homeland Security Department in late August decided not to spend $5.3 million that had been set aside for a digital interoperable communications tool used to coordinate emergency response with local governments. DHS spokesman Larry Orluskie said a final decision on whether to shut down Disaster Management, an 8-year-old project designated by the Office of Management and Budget in 2002 as one of 24 e-government initiatives, has not been made. But the department is 'saving a lot of money by cutting down on repetitive systems,' he said."
Survey and mapping system closes communications gap: "Ever since the attacks of Sept. 11, one problem that has dogged first responders at all levels of government is the lack of interoperable communications. But a tool developed at the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center-San Diego is being used to tackle the problem—not by spending a lot of money on new equipment and trying to figure out who gets priority allocation of scarce resources, but by tracking the equipment already out there and identifying how it all fits together. "

Thursday, October 05, 2006

10-4 on your 10-20, or was that a 10-11?: "'Interoperability' is tough to say without stuttering. Since 9/11, stuttering has also accompanied efforts to achieve interoperability in the field, where first responders need to communicate effectively across departments, jurisdictions and even states when emergencies or catastrophic events occur.

A common-sense strategy announced this week by Gov. Tim Kaine offers one small but refreshing step forward."
The Seattle Times: Democrats claim Reichert caved on emergency communications: "From the day he was sworn in to Congress in 2005, Rep. Dave Reichert has positioned himself as the first friend of first responders: the police, firefighters and emergency medical crews called in when disaster strikes."

Sunday, October 01, 2006 - Congress wants emergency comms office at DHS: "Congress is calling for the Homeland Security Department to establish an Office of Emergency Communications to tackle the kind of long-standing problems that hindered first responders on Sept. 11, 2001, and again in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The office, working under the purview of the assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, would centralize and coordinate emergency communications work at DHS and promote interoperability among public safety systems at federal, state and local agencies."
Wired for Trouble: "'You have to understand that IWN is a law enforcement network; it is not necessarily a first responder network,' responds an industry official. State and local officials won't have a huge presence in the day-to-day operations of IWN. 'It's a different community,' the official adds. While interoperability with state and local agencies is not the focus of IWN, it will incorporate the specifications of Project 25, a nationwide public-private standards-making body for land mobile radios. Plus, there's another federal program to address nationwide radio interoperability at that level: Project Safecom, a DHS-funded communication standards effort."
Marking 9/11 with an eye to security: "Emergency communications. Chertoff said the 10 largest cities had 'command-level interoperability,' which means various departments - fire, police, EMTs - can talk to one another as well as to state and federal officials if necessary. Other cities have this level of communication as well, but not all.

'Some communities have it because they've reached an agreement about... what the rules will be about how you run the integrated system,' Chertoff said. 'But some communities can't agree... . We are doing a study... which will evaluate and test interoperability in all 50 states and the 75 largest urban areas. It will identify where things have been done and where things have not been done, and that will be a pretty good road map for how to close those remaining gaps.'"