Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

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Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

Here is some news from the FCC that is long overdue in my opinion. The FCC voted unanimously to establish a "Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau." The state of PSAPs in our country is not great. There are disparate systems and while communications technology in the enterprise and service provider sector continues to rapidly improve PSAPs aren't being upgraded as quickly.

PSAPs act is fiefdoms and need a more cohesive management structure enabling them to be upgraded to act in unison. As a country we need IP based PSAPs that are able to accept video streams of emergency situations in homes and businesses. The cameras mounted on PCs and laptops can be used for this.

Furthermore, there needs to be better ways for those needing help to communicate with 911 centers. Data uploads of medical histories, drug allergies, and even simple facts like whether the dog has a history of biting are important facts that emergency workers need to be aware of.

Here is the announcement that the details:

The new Bureau is designed to provide a more efficient, effective, and responsive organizational structure to address public safety, homeland security, national security, emergency management and preparedness, disaster management, and other related issues.

The changes are subject to Congressional notification before they become effective. In addition, the Commission must work with the National Treasury Employees Union Local 209 to secure its approval for issues affecting the Commission's workforce.

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will handle the following issues and functions that have been dispersed among seven different bureaus and offices:

* Public safety communications
* 911/Enhanced 911 (E911) requirements
* Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs)
* Interoperability and operability of public safety communications
* Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA)
* Priority emergency communications (TSP/WSP programs)
* Alert and warning of U.S. citizens (EAS, etc)
* Continuity of government operations (COG) and Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning
* Public safety outreach (e.g., PSAPs, first responder organizations)
* Disaster management coordination
* Disaster management outreach
* 24/7 Communications Center
* Communications infrastructure protection
* Network reliability and resiliency
* Network security
* Advisory Committees and panels focused on public safety and security issues
* Studies and reports of public safety, homeland security, and disaster management issues

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will be organized into three divisions: Policy Division, Public Communications Outreach & Operations Division, and the Communications Systems Analysis Division. In addition, the Bureau will have a Front Office consisting of the Bureau's senior leadership and management staff.  

Policy Division – The Policy Division will draft, develop, and administer rules, regulations, and policies, including those pertaining to the 911/Enhanced 911 (E911), Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), operability and interoperability for public safety communications, communications infrastructure protection, network security and reliability. In addition, the Policy Division will handle the licensing of spectrum for public safety entities (e.g., police and fire departments) and related issues.

Public Communications Outreach & Operations Division – The Public Communications Outreach & Operations Division (PCOOD) will be the lead division responsible for coordinating the Commission's emergency response procedures and operations. The division will coordinate the Commission's public safety, homeland security, national security, disaster management and related functions on a day-to-day basis and during incidents or other emergencies. The division will coordinate and communicate with public safety organizations and state and local governmental agencies. The division will also be the lead point of contact for all inter-governmental coordination activities with other Federal departments and agencies. The division will operate the Commission's Communications Center (COMM-CTR) and High Frequency Direction Finding Capability (HFDFC) facilities.    

Communications Systems Analysis Division
– The Communications Systems Analysis Division (CSAD) will administer the Commission's information collection requirements (e.g., network outage reports) and perform analyses and studies concerning public safety, homeland security, national security, disaster management, and related issues.

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