Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GAO to FCC & DHS - Improve Emergency Communications & Collaboration

The following was excerpted from a recently released United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, United States Senate titled

"EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS - Vulnerabilities Remain and
Limited Collaboration and Monitoring Hamper Federal Efforts"

"Limited collaboration and monitoring jeopardize federal emergency communications efforts, even as the federal government has taken strategic steps to assist first responders. Federal agencies have demonstrated limited use of some best practices that GAO previously reported as helpful for addressing issues like emergency communications. Delays in establishing the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center, which would help define common goals and mutually reinforcing strategies—two collaboration best practices—undermine the National Emergency Communications Plan’s implementation. DHS and FCC have also not applied these practices in FCC’s effort to promote a public safety network for emergency communications. Agency officials reported it was either too early or not the agency’s responsibility to use these best practices in developing this network. DHS did not submit formal comments to FCC and FCC officials described its proposed network as separate from DHS emergency communications efforts. However, GAO found potential opportunities to align these agencies’ efforts. Another collaboration best practice is leveraging resources, which DHS has done in providing emergency communications technical assistance and planning guidance. But efforts have focused on state and local jurisdictions and less on federal agencies, some of which lack formal emergency communications plans. Monitoring is also crucial in helping agencies meet goals."

You'll need to
read the report to learn what the four recommendations made to improve federal agencies’ collaboration and monitoring in efforts related to emergency communications were.


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