Author: Ken Bradley, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security (CISA) Office of External Affairs
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency hosted the SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) meetings December 3-6, 2018, in Norman, Oklahoma. Over 150 SAFECOM, NCSWIC, and several federal partners participated, representing federal, state, local, and tribal public safety organizations.
Events kicked off on Monday with the Communications Task Force, Next Generation 911 (NG911) Working Group, and Funding and Sustainment Committee.
On Tuesday, SAFECOM launched the first SAFECOM School, which hosted an orientation for new members. Simultaneously, Nikki Cassingham, Oklahoma Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC), led the NCSWIC meeting and NCSWIC Executive Committee (EC) meetings, where members discussed information interoperability, changes to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS), and the FEMA One Responder Network demonstration. At the NCSWIC meeting, Cassingham announced her resignation. During the EC meeting via special election, Joe Galvin, Illinois SWIC and NCSWIC Vice Chair, was nominated and elected as the new Chair and John Miller, New Jersey SWIC, was nominated and elected Vice Chair.
Wednesday, kicked off the joint SAFECOM and NCSWIC meetings, where Deputy Assistant Director for Emergency Communications Vince Delaurentis noted, “SAFECOM and NCSWIC continue to play a critical role in securing the homeland through emergency communications interoperability as our environment continues to become more complex and dangerous. The strategic discussions and information sharing among Statewide Interoperability Coordinators and SAFECOM Members has positioned these national governance groups to execute a comprehensive work plan in the year ahead.”
SAFECOM and NCSWIC received updates from Crisis Emergency Response and Recovery Access (CERRA), disaster emergency communications response, a progress update to the 2019 National Emergency Communications Plan, as well as updates from federal partners from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). Members also met in their committees, including: governance; education and outreach; technology policy; and planning, training, and exercise.
Thursday culminated with the SAFECOM and SAFECOM EC meetings led by SAFECOM Chair, Chief Gerald Reardon of the Cambridge Fire Department. Members received updates on others’ experience in the field, including Chris Lombard, Seattle Fire/The Interagency Board, and his response to the recent hurricanes as well as advanced technology to include data interoperability, transitions from land mobile radio (LMR) to long term evolution (LTE) design comparison, and NG911. SAFECOM also held elections and unanimously reelected Chief Reardon as Chair and Michael Murphy as Vice Chair.
Chief Reardon and Joe Galvin concurred when stating, “The leadership and members of both SAFECOM and NCSWIC applaud the recent reorganization of the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) to the Emergency Communications Division (ECD) as part of newly formed Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). This new alignment will better support the critical work our emergency responders are charged with across the country, and the communities they serve. Having ECD as a direct report level at CISA will support that effort as we collectively move forward to protect our nation.”