On July 31, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the National Emergency Communications Plan. This plan comes out of DHS’s Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) and gives long and short term recommendations to address the problems with national emergency communication. Title XVII of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 requires that such a plan be developed, especially in light of recent terrorist attacks and significant natural disasters.
The press release reports that the ultimate goal of the NECP is to ensure that communications during emergency situations is efficient among all levels of government and private industry. Perhaps the best part of NECP is that it isn’t another “well this a list of the thing we want.” NECP gives a list of goals as well as a strategic look on how to accomplish those goals. To ensure smooth communications during disasters, the NECP gives the following three goals:
Goal 1—By 2010, 90 percent of all high-risk Urban Areas designated within the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) are able to demonstrate response-level emergency communications (the capacity of individuals with primary operational leadership responsibility to manage resources and make timely decisions during a multi-agency incident without technical or procedural communications impediments) within one hour for routine events involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.
Goal 2—By 2011, 75 percent of non-UASI jurisdictions are able to demonstrate response-level emergency communications within one hour for routine events involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.
Goal 3—By 2013, 75 percent of all jurisdictions are able to demonstrate response-level emergency communications within three hours of a significant event as outlined in national planning scenarios.
Click more to read the rest of this post
Another positive feature of the NECP is the fact that it wasn’t put together solely by government or companies. A joint venture between the two was crucial to avoid obfuscation of the ultimate goals and guidelines. Another important choice by DHS was to make it quite clear that the goals that are set out by NECP are not tactical or operational. Instead, it provides a strategic plan to improve the overall communication in a time of a disaster.
In order for proper implementation, the different levels of government and private industry are given guidelines for the cooperative effort. A summary of the implementation follows:
1) Executive and Legislative Branches—The NECP includes recommended initiatives and national milestones that will inform emergency communications priorities, activities, and resource allocations for consideration and action.
2) Federal Agencies—Federal implementation of the NECP will be done collaboratively among the member agencies of the ECPC. It will also occur through the Federal Partnership for Interoperability Communications (FPIC), where Federal response organizations will work with State and local agencies and governments to improve communications and resource sharing.
3) State, Local, and Tribal Governments—The NECP provides information for State, local, and tribal agencies and governments on Federal funding available to assist with emergency communications procurement and planning. It also offers a forum for regional planning and participation.
4) Private Sector—The NECP identifies ways the private sector can support emergency communications efforts and provides consistent direction for private sector involvement in standards development and advanced communications technologies.
You can find the press release here. You can find the actual communication plan at this location. It will be intersting to see how the different levels of government and industry react to The National Emergency Communications Plan. It will be intersting to see if the NECP conflicts with existing plans and strategic goals. Please leave comments below if you can shed some light on the subject.