OEC at IWCE: Day Four

Author: Ken Bradley, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Office of External Affairs

International Wireless Communications Expo

The International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) is the leading event for communications technology, bringing over 7,000 industry professionals all in one place. The Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) is partnering with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Science and Technology (S&T) at Exhibit Hall today in Booth #3345. Additionally, today OEC is partnering with its public safety partners in two sessions:

Strategic Planning For All Emergency Communications Technologies

Strategic planning is critical in an environment where technology is advancing at a rapid pace - especially when it comes to interoperable emergency communications. All levels of government need to ensure current systems are reliable, while planning for the use of new technologies. OEC has developed the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) to provide information and guidance to those that plan for, coordinate, invest in, and use operable and interoperable communications for response and recovery operations. Additionally, OEC supports the states to leverage their Statewide Communications Interoperability Plans (SCIP) to coordinate across multiple emergency communications technologies to include land mobile radio, broadband, next generation 911, and alerts and warnings.

The SCIPs are locally driven, multi-jurisdictional, and multi-disciplinary statewide plans to enhance emergency communications by creating a single resource for all stakeholders and unified approach for enhancing interoperable communications for public safety and officials at all levels of government. The SCIP is the plan that helps drive the coordination and governance for emergency communications within the state by defining the current and future direction for interoperability across the state or territory. Through the Statewide Interoperability Governing Body (SIGB) states are able to enhance or strengthen governance, establish regional governance, sustain funding identification, and develop a communications outreach plan.

Through OEC’s Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program all 56 states and territories receive no cost support by delivering training, tools, and onsite assistance to advance public safety interoperable communications capabilities. Additionally, states receive support through OEC’s regional coordination program which has emergency communications subject matter experts throughout the country aligned to the ten Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regions.

Exploring CSSI and ISSI

The ability for different Project 25 (P25) systems Radio Frequency Subsystems (RFSS) to interconnect is provided for in the P25 suite of standards through the Inter-RF Subsystem Interface (ISSI) and between P25 Consoles through the Console Subsystem Interface (CSSI). These standards enable systems from different jurisdictions and even disparate manufacturers to share resources across these systems. Roaming between systems is enabled, along with extension of coverage using the resources of neighboring systems. The ISSI/CSSI allows interoperability and roaming, effectively expanding the footprint of public safety systems. In addition, the ISSI has affected interconnection of P25 land mobile radio (LMR) systems with broadband long term evolution (LTE) systems, paving the way for the future partnership of mission critical LMR with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and other broadband offerings. Panelists shared their experiences with ISSI/CSSI implementations and stressed that cooperation among users and manufacturers is the key to successful implementation.