Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 18, 2006

New Heritage report on emergency communications

Filed under: Preparedness and Response,Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on July 18, 2006

Jim Carafano at the Heritage Foundation published a new report entitled “Talking Through Disasters: The Federal Role in Emergency Communications” yesterday. He makes the case that the federal government needs to more narrowly target and prioritize its efforts on emergency communications, instead of being expected to pick up the tab for tens of billions of dollars of future investment:

From September 11, 2001, to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Congress and the Bush Administration have wrestled with the challenge of improving emergency management communications. An unprecedented federal spending spree has yielded scant progress, however, and Washington’s programs should be scrapped. It is unlikely that they will ever be able to achieve, either efficiently or effectively, the goal of cre­ating the kind of emergency communication systems the nation needs to respond to national disasters.

The right approach would include adhering to a set of policies that promote effective public–private sharing of the emergency management electromagnetic spec­trum, create a national capability to deploy a wide-area emergency management communications network for catastrophic disasters, and establish coherent national leadership for emergency response communications.

His four top-level policy recommendations:

  1. Put First Things First
  2. Open Emergency Management Frequencies as Dual-Use Spectrum
  3. Don’t Send Money; Set Standards
  4. Buy Services, Not Infrastructure or Technology

Overall, a well-argued report, which realistically assesses the benefits and costs of investing in interoperable, emergency communications.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 18, 2006 @ 4:04 pm

O course as is well-known to all interested persons, the DHS has absolutely NO authority to set standards in the arena of spectrum management or telecommunications. This is deliberate and one of the reasons Congressional committees demonstrate and inability to do that which might aggravate the “Free Market” lobbyists. The New Hampshire motto “Live Free or Die” seems to have been adopted by the Congress and its suicidal nonfreasance and misfeasance is really starting to bite back. See various reports on lack of standard setting authority by CRS, GAO and DHS/OIG.

Pingback by EmergencyTech.org » Talking Through Disasters: The Federal Role in Emergency Communications

July 25, 2006 @ 6:03 pm

[…] Via HLSW Disaster Management, emergency communications, federal role, radio traffic, telecommunicationsThese icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

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