The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Emergency Communications Division (ECD) supports Native American and Alaska Native nations through direct engagement, outreach, advocacy, technical assistance, and inter- and intra-agency coordination to support strengthened public safety operable and interoperable communications. CISA works with Native nations to support establishing collaborative relationships to foster a cultural and technical understanding of each nation’s unique cultures, capabilities, needs, challenges, and infrastructure from a public safety communications perspective.
CISA Tribal Emergency Communications supports Native nations by providing tailored solutions, engineering, and products directly based on each nation’s public safety communications capabilities, needs, challenges, and infrastructure. CISA will include a Native nation’s unique geographies, culture, and organizational structures that impact decision-making, management, and resource allocations associated with emergency communications in the tailoring process. CISA provides access to emergency communications services at no cost to all federal and state recognized Native nations.
Communications Policy and Procedure Support
CISA supports Native nations by working with tribal emergency communicators to assess and document current tribal emergency communications operations, resources, and operable/interoperable challenges, as well as to identify opportunities to improve tribal communications capabilities. This information is analyzed to tailor potential solutions and support directly for the Native nation. The resulting information profile provides a basis for CISA and the nation to identify and develop resources and tools to support public safety communications. The information also supports CISA’s efforts to advocate on behalf of Native nations. CISA's communications support may benefit a Native nation through:
- Relationship Building: Assisting with and establishing and developing collaborative relationships across all levels of government.
- Accessibility to Services and Resources: Identifying opportunities to utilize CISA services, resources, and tools to enhance emergency communications capabilities through technical assistance, priority telecommunications services, and grant guidance.
- Communications Support: Communicating their current emergency management capabilities and challenges to tribal leadership, as well as to public safety partners at all levels of government.
- Strategic Planning Support: Assisting with planning and implementing holistic communications operability and interoperability to expand and strengthen public safety services for their tribal community and neighboring jurisdictions.
- Advocacy: Promoting equal access to programs and services to help ensure the individual needs and considerations of Native nations are identified and met while honoring and supporting tribal sovereignty
CISA's Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program (ICTAP) technical assistance to Native nations through the development and delivery of training, exercises, planning documents, templates, and tools that support increased operable and interoperable communications capabilities. CISA provides these services at no cost to the Native nation.
Priority Communication Services
CISA's Priority Communications Services offer tribal officials priority communications capabilities during times of high telecommunications congestion. These services are available to tribal public safety personnel, emergency managers and responders, and leadership:
- Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) for wireline voice communications.
- Wireless Priority Services (WPS) for wireless voice communications.
- Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) Program for repair and rapid installation of organizations’ critical voice and data circuits.
- Priority Communications Dialer App for GETS and WPS provides a streamlined way of making priority calls.
Technical and Collaboration Resources
CISA facilitates multiple technical groups of subject matter representatives from across the emergency communications ecosystem that can assist tribes with ensuring Native nation equities are considered and included during the development and promotion of guidance, policy, and procedures. These groups collaboratively enable information and resource sharing and provide forums for discussing and strengthening national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) infrastructure, developing tools and resources, and providing a voice for the public safety communications community. These groups include the following and Native nations are strongly encouraged to participate:
- Southwest Border Communications Group (SWBCWG)
- Canada-United States Communications Interoperability Working Group (CANUS-CIWG)
- Federal Partnership for Interoperable Communications
These groups collaboratively develop and maintain the SAFECOM and NCSWIC resource library of technical resources and tools to improve multi-jurisdictional and intergovernmental communications interoperability of existing communications systems and future networks. The library is organized according to the elements of the Interoperability Continuum (governance, standard operating procedures, technology, training and exercises, and usage), as well as sections on planning, funding, interoperability, and Field Operations Guides.
Library resources of particular interest to Native nations include:
- SAFECOM Funding and Grant Guidance: Addresses funding available to help tribal governments identify funding sources, plan emergency communications projects for federal grants, and inform decision-makers on the importance of funding and sustaining public safety communications systems
- CISA Tribal Emergency Communications Infographic: Provides a visual overview of all tribal communications governance and technical support services offered by CISA
- CISA Tribal Emergency Communications Resources Fact Sheet: Provides a list of key resources and resources libraries of interest to Native nations seeking support by way of governance and planning, technical assistance, funding, and priority services
- 2018 Emergency Communications Governance Guide for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Officials (.pdf, 3.6 MB): Comprehensively provides recommendations and best practices for emergency communications officials at all levels of government to establish, assess, and update governance structures for all emergency communications capabilities (Land Mobile Radio [LMR], broadband, 911/Next Generation 911 [NG911], alerts and warnings)