CISA Promotes Public Safety Communications in Indian County
Author: CISA Tribal Affairs
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) continues to conduct tribal outreach to share information concerning free-of-charge services and offerings in the areas of emergency management and public safety communications. CISA was honored recently with the opportunity to socialize the creation of the Agency and share information on our efforts to establish and support government-to-government relationships with individual tribal governments to support tribal sovereignty and self-governance. CISA’s direct outreach and relationship-building during events hosted by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Northwest Tribal Emergency Management Council (NTEMC) were sincerely appreciated by participating tribal leaders.
CISA participated during the NCAI Mid-Year Conference held June 23-26 in Sparks, Nevada. This event focused on tribal efforts to secure and protect tribal treaty and sovereignty rights, culture, and infrastructure through policies and laws. Adrienne Roughgarden, State, Local, Tribal, Territorial, International (SLTTI) Section Chief, promoted CISA’s services and activities in support of public safety interoperable communications by participating on a panel discussion with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) and the National Weather Service titled “Building Your Emergency Preparedness Capacity: From Natural Disasters to Emergency Communications.”
CISA most recently presented a panel discussion and hosted an informational booth during the 6th Annual National Tribal Emergency Management Conference held August 21-23 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This conference, hosted by NTEMC, is the largest gathering of tribal disaster preparedness, emergency management, hazard mitigation, and homeland security professionals in support of tribal emergency management programs. Attendees from across CISA’s tribal and Alaskan Native village partner network included law enforcement, emergency management, police, fire and EMS professionals, and partners across all other levels of government. The conference focused on the protection of critical infrastructure to include international borders, the Grand Coulee Dam, U.S. naval bases, major oil refineries, and international shipping lanes.
The CISA Tribal Affairs Program shared information on communications governance, the update to the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), Priority Telecommunications Services (PTS), and Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program (ICTAP) technical support and resources to facilitate relationship building. CISA also worked to identify opportunities to provide direct government-to-government tribal consultation at the request of regional partners. Robin Beatty, CISA Emergency Communications Tribal Liaison, moderated a panel discussion titled “What’s new at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency” on August 22. Panelists included:
- Kendall Carpenter, ICTAP Telecommunications Specialist, who addressed service offerings such as Emergency Support Function (ESF) #2 support through ICTAP;
- Eric Runnels, Deputy Chief of CISA NECP Implementation & Grant Coordination Branch, who discussed the imminent release of the 2019 NECP and grant offerings; and
- Bryan Stephens, PTS Area Representative (PAR), who provided an overview of PTS such as Government Emergency Telephone Services (GETS) and Wireless Priority Services (WPS).
These events brought together key representatives at all levels of government to advance discussions about critical issues impacting Indian Country. Each event supported CISA’s continued efforts to establish and maintain trusted relationships and provide direct tribal access to important public safety communications guidance, information, and resources available through CISA. Such events are critical in supporting the development and strengthening of tribal public safety communications infrastructure.
CISA continues to promote and provide technical service offerings to strengthen public safety communications infrastructure and interoperability throughout Indian Country. CISA has facilitated technical assistance to multiple tribes through ICTAP. Recent technical assistance offerings include:
- Development of a systems engineering study;
- Auxiliary Communications (AUXCOMM) training;
- Supporting planning efforts for establishing a tribal dispatch center capability; and
- Development of a Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan (TICP).
CISA is launching a pilot program to support the integration of communications governance best practices, as presented in the 2018 Emergency Communications Governance Guide for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Officials, into tribal communications planning and implementation. Along these lines, CISA is currently assisting a tribe with the planning and execution of a communications focused tabletop exercise, as well as the integration of governance into day-to-day operations.
To further our tribal outreach efforts, CISA plans to host an information booth during the NCAI 76th Annual Convention & Marketplace from October 20-25 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
For additional information on tribal activities or to request more information about services to tribes, please contact CISATribalAffairs@hq.dhs.gov.