Author: Bob Symons, NCSWIC Chair, NCSWIC Governance Committee Chair, Wyoming State Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC)
On January 10, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Emergency Communications Divison(ECD) hosted leaders from the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) in Arlington, Virginia, to discuss strategic planning for 2017. Vice Chair Nikki Cassingham, Technology Policy Chair Craig Allen, Funding and Sustainment Chair Victoria Garcia, and Planning, Training, Exercises Chair Jessica Stolz and I met with ECD Leadership, including Director Ron Hewitt and each of the Branch Chiefs, to brainstorm a means of elevating the SWIC and encouraging states to strengthen governance structures, and to determine ways in which ECD can better support the public safety community and emergency communications as a whole. Discussions included review and approval of proposed 2017 NCSWIC products and activities.
Additionally, NCSWIC leadership participated in discussions surrounding an analysis from the October 2016 in-person meeting held in Norman, Oklahoma, meant to highlight major public safety communications concerns for 2017. The analysis revealed the following top stakeholder areas of concerns: funding, technology, land mobile radio (LMR) and broadband integration, education and outreach, governance, the SWIC position or office, succession planning, training, communications unit, and memorandums of understanding. Outcomes of the meetings included finalized goals and initiatives for each of the programs’ six committees and various working groups.
Following the meeting, the NCSWIC Committees and Working Groups will focus on tackling many of the concerns listed above. In 2017, the NCSWIC aims to educate the public safety community on the importance of the SWIC position, the role of a strong governance structure, and sustaining LMR while incorporating broadband and other emerging technologies.
Thank you to NCSWIC Vice Chair Nikki Cassingham and each of the Committee Chairs for taking the time out of their busy schedules to attend this informative meeting. I look forward to continuing our work in 2017 to improve public safety communications.