Sunday, February 26, 2006

Report: Network Operability Biggest Katrina Issue: "Interoperability of emergency radio, wireless and wireline networks in the wake of Hurricane Katrina took a back seat to simple network operability immediately after the storm, according to a White House report that analyzed the response to the crisis. The report, released yesterday, says 'basic operability' was the primary communications challenge after the storm hit the Gulf Coast. 'The complete devastation of the communications infrastructure left emergency responders and citizens without a reliable network across which they could coordinate,' the 228-page report says."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Florida Begins Linking Its Law Enforcement Agencies: "The Florida Department of Law Enforcement this month will begin work on a $15 million project to integrate the back-end systems of 500 law enforcement organizations across the state. During the first phase of the Florida Law Enforcement Exchange (Flex) project, data housed in the records management systems of local and state police, corrections and court departments will be cataloged and a metadata management layer will be created, state officials said. The metadata management phase of the project is slated to be completed by midyear. The remaining three phases will be completed in about a year."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Data sharing called vital to port security: "Greater training for communications equipment is the most urgent security need for San Diego's seaport, a top harbor security official said yesterday. John MacIntyre, program manager for homeland security at the San Diego Unified Port District, said he wants various security agencies – from the police to the U.S. Border Patrol – to improve the way they share data and information."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Interoperability, data sharing lacking in Katrina response: "The federal government’s ineffective response to Hurricane Katrina was partly a failure of technology, according to a critical report released this week by a House Select Committee chaired by Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.). The blistering 379-page report details a broad range of shortcomings in federal, state and local preparedness and response, including a lack of effective logistics, medical and communications systems. "

Thursday, February 16, 2006

R&D chief McQueary to step down at Homeland Security: "Charles McQueary, the Homeland Security Department’s top research and development director, will resign effective March 25. McQueary, undersecretary for science and technology, announced his resignation in a letter dated Feb. 10 to President Bush. McQueary wrote that he has fulfilled his goals since joining the agency at its formation in March 2003. He indicated no immediate future plans. "
FEMA technology set for upgrade: "Amid a whirlwind of controversy surrounding the federal response to 2005 hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the Homeland Security Department has unveiled plans to overhaul the information technology it deploys to cope with disasters. Under plans announced yesterday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will get improved logistics systems, better customer service systems for disaster victims, modified contracting practices and better communications. Speaking at the National Emergency Management Association mid-year conference, DHS secretary Michel Chertoff said his department had met a congressional requirement to assess disaster response capabilities nationwide by Feb. 10. He said assessment of the emergency response capabilities of major cities and towns included some green, yellow and red indicators."

Monday, February 13, 2006

DOD rolls out DICE06: "The Defense Interoperability Communication Exercise 2006 (DICE06) started earlier this week to test communications equipment and systems for use among DOD services and agencies and with the Homeland Security Department and first responders, according to a release sent out by the Defense Information Systems Agency."
"First Responders' Day" Observed in Kentucky: "Joined by hundreds of Kentucky's law enforcement, firefighter and emergency personnel in the State Capitol, Governor Ernie Fletcher, along with the director of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (Ret.) Maj. Alecia Webb-Edgington, hosted a February 9th ceremony honoring the first observance of 'First Responders' Day.'"
Communications firms cite problems: "WASHINGTON — In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Federal Emergency Management Agency workers commandeered gasoline from a company trying to restore telephone service to the hurricane-ravaged New Orleans area, a Senate investigative panel found. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Monday released an e-mail obtained from Cox Louisiana Telecom LLC. The company was trying to restore service to 85,000 customers, according to Kay Jackson, director of regulatory affairs. ... The panel’s probe also found that Louisiana has not spent $58 million in first-responder grants dating back to 2003, Collins said. The state only uses 16 percent of its funding for communications, half the national average, she said."

Friday, February 03, 2006

Louisiana improving interoperability among first responders: "Created through Executive Order to address the need for compatible and effective communication among first responders, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco has charged the Statewide Interoperable Communication System Executive Committee to develop a statewide, user-driven approach among all levels of government to provide reliable communications for the entire emergency response community."