SWBCWG Addresses Opportunities under the New Administration


Author: Southwest Border Communications Working Group

The Southwest Border Communications Working Group (SWBCWG) held its first 2017 meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 24-25, 2017.  The meeting focused on regional and statewide public safety land mobile radio (LMR) interoperability efforts, activities, and New Mexico’s emergency response/preparedness.  Participants also discussed Next Generation 911 issues and opportunities, FirstNet, the Cross Border Security Communications Network (CBSCN), and Federal Partnership for Interoperable Communications (FPIC) activities involving encryption, spectrum, and cooperative partnerships.

Participants discussed opportunities to positively impact public safety communications operability and interoperability in the Southwest Border Region consistent with the new Administration’s focus on border security.  As an outcome of these discussions, the SWBCWG intends to strategically plan SWBCWG activities for the year and will establish a Special Ad Hoc Focus Group to identify and document key communications interoperability gaps, challenges, and opportunities throughout the Southwest Border Region.  This Focus Group will produce a report about the unique communications interoperability challenges faced in the region for use in briefing executive branch leadership.

During the meeting, participants provided input and suggestions to the ongoing development of SAFECOM Nationwide Survey, examined the applicability of outcomes from the Border Interoperability Demonstration Project (BIDP), and discussed lessons learned from the National Governor’s Association (NGA) Policy Academy on Enhancing Emergency Communications Interoperability.  The SWBCWG analyzed how the NGA’s Policy Academy findings may be applied within the Southwest Border Region.

Representatives from the Department of Interior (DOI), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) discussed their latest efforts to promote States/territories use of NTIA-managed federal law enforcement and incident response (LE/IR) dedicated interoperability channels through a newly developed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Wyoming, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are currently initiating/coordinating the completion of their respective MOUs.  Texas is in the process of obtaining final signature of its MOU.

Additionally, the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) provided an update on ongoing tribal engagement including, the communications governance profile initiative and technical assistance efforts.  OEC asked SWBCWG participants to continue to assist and promote tribal engagements through existing relationships with the respective Tribal Nations in their states and to encourage participation in both the SWBCWG and the communications governance profiling effort.

To learn more about current SWBCWG activities, to get involved, and/or receive regular updates, please reach out via email at SWBCWG@hq.dhs.gov.

 

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