OEC Building Collaborative Relationships with Federally Recognized Tribes

Author: Robin Beatty, Federal Lead for Tribal Affairs

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) is continuing efforts to establish and build collaborative relationships with federally recognized tribes to understand tribal emergency communications operations, resources, and interoperable emergency challenges. These efforts help identify opportunities for OEC to assist tribes with assessing and improving operable and interoperable communications capabilities.

OEC is directly engaged with tribal leadership to support information sharing and foster an understanding of each tribe’s unique communications needs. These discussions provide an opportunity for OEC to share information concerning the free services available to tribes. These services assist with emergency management, and national security emergency preparedness communications issues, training, processes, planning, and implementation. OEC has also facilitated relationship building between Federal, and State agencies, components, and organizations to strengthen tribal emergency management engagement and collaboration.

The Tribal Communications Governance profile is the primary tool used by OEC for documenting information specific to a tribe’s communications governance, capabilities, and needs. Once drafted, this profile is shared with the respective tribe to assist tribal leadership with communications planning, resource management, and the grant application process. This is an on-going effort available to all federally recognized tribes. To date, OEC has completed nine tribal profiles and five other profiles are in various stages of completion.

Through the Tribal Communications Governance profile effort, OEC has assisted with tribal emergency management planning to improve response and recovery efforts through technical assistance and priority telephone services. Technical assistance has included onsite training, capability and equipment gap analysis and needs assessment, and support with developing standard operating procedures, memorandums of understanding, and emergency response plans.

OEC continues efforts to engage tribes during major tribal events including presentations during the Northwest Tribal Emergency Management Council (NWTEMC) Conference in Washington State, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) mid-year conference in Connecticut, the August National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO) Conference in California, the Indian Country Federal Law Enforcement Coordination Group (ICFLECG) in Washington D.C., and the September National Tribal Emergency Management Council (NTEMC) Conference in California. 

OEC is coordinating with the NCAI to provide a tribal communications panel discussion at the upcoming Joint SAFECOM and National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) meeting in in Norman, Oklahoma on November 7, 2017. OEC will facilitate the meeting in Norman and the panel will feature tribal leaders who will speak about their communications activities and challenges.

OEC plans to present and become more involved at a number of upcoming tribal events. OEC is also continuing direct outreach to tribal leaders to initiate an active relationship, and identify opportunities for collaboration and support.

For information about OEC’s tribal engagement and support, contact Robin Beatty at Robin.Beatty@hq.dhs.gov, or OEC Tribal Affairs at oectribalaffairs@hq.dhs.gov.

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