National Emergency Communications Plan

The National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) is the Nation’s guiding document on emergency communications. It is a strategic plan that establishes a shared vision for and coordinates the complex mission of maintaining and improving emergency communications capabilities for the Nation’s emergency responders. It assists those who plan for, coordinate, invest in, and use operable and interoperable communications for response and recovery operations. This includes traditional emergency responder disciplines (e.g., law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, dispatch) and other entities that share information during emergencies, such as medical facilities, utilities, nongovernmental organizations, as well as the media and private citizens.

In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) led the development and implementation of the first NECP consistent with the requirement in Title XVIII of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which recognized the national need for effective interoperable emergency communications systems and procedures. The law also directs CISA to develop and periodically update the NECP in coordination with local, state, territorial, tribal, federal, and private sector stakeholders. As a stakeholder-driven plan, the NECP’s focus is to ensure a nationwide collective effort toward achieving emergency communications operability, interoperability, and continuity.

2019 Update to the NECP

Congress directs CISA to complete a nationwide emergency communications baseline assessment every five years and to periodically update the NECP. Informed by the 2018 assessment results, updating the NECP keeps the plan forward-looking and will account for changes in emergency communications policy, legislation, and technologies. CISA is leading a second update to the NECP that will build upon revisions made in 2014, while also positioning the NECP to maintain relevance into the future. 

The proposed updates were released for stakeholder feedback on February 22. The review period ended on March 22, 2019, and now CISA will analyze all feedback submitted and revise the NECP as necessary. Thank you for your comments.

NECP (2014 Publication)

The first update to the NECP was released in 2014. The 2014 update to the NECP sets forth five strategic goals based on the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum that provide continuity with the initial NECP published in 2008. Collectively, the NECP goals aim to enhance emergency communications capabilities at all levels of government and across disciplines in coordination with the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and communities across the nation:

  • Goal 1 - Governance and Leadership: Enhance decision-making, coordination, and planning for emergency communications through strong governance structures and leadership.
  • Goal 2 - Planning and Procedures: Update plans and procedures to improve emergency responder communications and readiness in a dynamic operating environment.
  • Goal 3 - Training and Exercises: Improve responders’ ability to coordinate and communicate through training and exercise programs that use all available technologies and target gaps in emergency communications.
  • Goal 4 - Operational Coordination: Ensure operational effectiveness through the coordination of communications capabilities, resources, and personnel from across the whole community.
  • Goal 5 - Research and Development: Coordinate research, development, testing, and evaluation activities to develop innovative emergency communications capabilities that support the needs of emergency responders.

You may access the National Emergency Communications Plan and ancillary documents that provide additional information and resources.

NG911 Cybersecurity Primer

The Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) Cybersecurity Primer provides an overview of the cyber risks that will be faced by NG911 systems. It is intended to serve only as an informational tool for system administrators to better understand the full scope and range of potential risks, as well as recommend mitigations to these risks. Developed by the CISA in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, the Primer is an introduction to improving the cybersecurity posture of NG911 systems nationwide.

The NECP stresses strategic planning for emergency communications and highlights the importance of cybersecurity for the entire ecosystem—including our Nation’s Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and Public Safety Communications Center operations. As NG911 is deployed, it will enhance the current capabilities of today’s 911 networks, allowing compatibility with more types of communication, providing greater situational awareness to dispatchers and emergency responders, and establishing a level of resilience not previously possible. However, NG911 also introduces new vectors for attack that can disrupt or disable PSAP operations, broadening the concerns of―and complicating the mitigation and management of―cyber risks across all levels of government.

View the NG911 Cybersecurity Primer and learn more.

Nationwide Communications Baseline Assessment

CISA is developing the Nationwide Communications Baseline Assessment (NCBA) to evaluate the Nation’s ability to communicate during incidents. The purpose of the assessment is to improve understanding across all levels of government on the capabilities needed and in use by today’s emergency response providers in order to establish and sustain communications operability, interoperability, and continuity. CISA is partnering with SAFECOM to gather data for the assessment through the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey launching in 2017. Additional information on the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey can be found on the SAFECOM website.

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