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.

  • sy levine
    April 2, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Since Bush has been president thousands of innocent people died needlessly in 911. Yet, neither the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT) nor the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have lost their job. Hijacking and Terrorist attacks have traditionally accounted for about 10% of fatal accidents world-wide. This known threat existed and was well tabulated/tracked prior to 911 in world fatal accident statistics and still President Bush’s appointed a political head of the FAA that had little security or aviation experience. Neither the DOT nor FAA took the required steps necessary to keep the public and the nation safe even though the threats were known and it was their job to assure the security and safety of our sky. They operated out of fear of losing the aviation industries support for maintaining their positions and thereby allowed the nation and the traveling public to suffer needlessly. The deaths that occurred on 911 won’t even show up on the FAA’s fatal accident statistics. This is done intentionally to minimize aviation related fatalities and to give the public a false sense of security. Thus 911, like Katrina, was the result of President Bush’s Republican political appointees that had little knowledge of their appointed critical tasks.
    At first look it isn’t obvious that the golfer Payne Stewart, and the Helios (2005 – 100+fatality) decompression crashes and 911 are related but from a aviation safety and security system view they are:
    When a plane substantially deviates from its approved flight plan it is presently possible to have a remote pilot located in a secure simulator fly the plane to a safe landing at a sparsely populated airfield. Over 70% of all fatal air crashes occurrences are readily preventable if handled correctly.
    Unfortunately, the data needed to accomplish this is locked up in the flight recorder and is utilized predominately in an autopsy mode. If the data is so important that it is necessary to discover the cause of a fatal crash it is much more important to prevent a fatal crash. Yet because of the aviation industry’s partnership with the FAA and NTSB none of the flight data coming out of the recorders is available in real-time to proactively prevent fatal crashes. The inability to use the flight data in real time has jeopardized the safety and security of the traveling public and the nation. The astronauts were guided back from the moon because the data was telemetered to the ground in real-time. Once it got to the ground it was analyzed, and then via a concerted effort by experts, using simulations the proper and safe way to handle life threatening situation was accomplished. Yet this proven technique isn’t utilized by the industrial/government partnership to keep our nation and air-passengers safe and secure.
    One year prior to 911, I was the guest speaker at the International Aviation Safety Association meeting in NY where I spoke on how terrorists and decompression fatal crashes are preventable via remote control of a deviating aircraft using ciphered technology developed for our ballistic missiles. This technology can prevent most aviation crashes (approximately 70%) even those from mechanical problems and errors of commission and omission. At present a pilot has displayed only a fraction of the information necessary to make the right decision to prevent a crash. The pilot in many instances is seeing a problem for the first time. The aircraft data and air traffic control data isn’t shared extensively so experts on handling the aircraft’s problem aren’t consulted nor can the problem be simulated to aid in crash prevention. This data vacuum is responsible for most fatal crashes. For example, the Swiss Air and Alaskan Air fatal crashes could have been prevented if handled correctly.
    In addition it is not only terrorists that sabotage aircraft. Commercial and Military pilots have also done it. When a pilot deviates substantially from the approved flight plan the aircraft should be safely remote piloted to a landing at a sparsely populated airport. Several years ago a rogue military pilot substantially deviated from his approved Continental United States (CONUS) flight plan and flew an A-10 aircraft loaded with bombs clandestinely across multiple states. It took two weeks to find the plane which had crashed into a Colorado mountain. The plane was eventually found but the bombs are still missing. Exhaustive searches were made but no one has a clew as to what happened to the bombs. Must we wait for a bigger disaster than 911 before any action takes place?
    Everyone knowledgeable about the holes in our aviation system, brought about by the industrial government partnership, knew that a 911 could occur and the government allowed it to occur. Even though we knew about Payne Stewart nothing was done and so we got Helios’ 100 + deaths. Presently we are just as vulnerable to a 911 disaster, decompression disaster, … etc. as we were in 2001. The public needs to know the system is fixable for the good of our nation. Even though 3000 people died needlessly on 911 the system doesn’t fix the data vacuum mode of operation. It works around the system with attempted band-aid patches that are costly and ineffective simply to protect the industry from liability suits. The necessary data is only available in the tombstone/autopsy mode. With all of the deaths that were preventable not a single FAA or NTSB person was even laid-off. Thus, the industry won out and the public and nation suffered. It is quite possible that we went into an unnecessary and horrible war just because we protected the special interest of the aviation industry. The cost of those disasters alone would have been a small fraction of the cost necessary to fix the system and we would now have a safer and securer nation. Instead, things are the same and we are vulnerable.
    If you should need more info on this please don’t hesitate to contact me (you can see some of my work by going to Google and doing a search on “aviation security, safety and sy levine” or go to my web site My work was also featured on the BBC show called “The Black Box”. There is simply no reason, technical, cost or data privacy wise” for not using the Black Box Data in real-time, in addition to its autopsy mode, to make our nation safer and securer. The fear of liability, via law suits, should not stand in the way of the airline passenger safety, the safety of people on the ground, or our national security. It is imperative that the traveling public write to the President, their Congressional Representatives, the DOT, FAA and NTSB and demand that the Black Box data be available and utilized in real-time for the security of our nation and to substantially reduce fatal crashes.
    Sy Levine

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