Federal Partnership for Interoperable Communications (FPIC) aims to address interoperability among the public safety community at all levels of government, foster intergovernmental cooperation, and identify and leverage common synergies.
In 1994, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Justice signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing the Federal Law Enforcement Wireless Users Group (FLEWUG). The FLEWUG served as an information exchange mechanism for the federal law enforcement wireless communications user community.
Federal information technology executives issued a memorandum (April 1994) directing the FLEWUG to coordinate the development of a national solution to the interoperability challenge. In 1995, the FLEWUG formulated a plan to address the implementation and planning process for such a solution. To enact its plan, the FLEWUG issued a document called the Public Safety Wireless Network (PSWN) Program Management and Organization Document (PMOD), which led to the creation of the PSWN Program.
In 2002, as part of the President’s Management Agenda, the White House established SAFECOM as the umbrella program within the Federal Government to oversee all communication interoperability initiatives and projects. The creation of SAFECOM was to address public safety communications issues in a more coordinated, comprehensive and, therefore, effective way.
As part of this initiative, the PSWN Program was folded into SAFECOM and ceased to operate as a separate program. Where appropriate, functions that were performed by the PSWN Program are now carried out through SAFECOM.
As a result of this organizational change, the FLEWUG was reestablished as the FPIC to serve as a technical and operational advisor within the federal wireless communications community. The FPIC’s focus and reach expanded beyond issues exclusively affecting the federal law enforcement community, as representatives from the State, Tribal and local Public Safety Agencies expressed a desire to participate. The FPIC implemented priorities raised by the entire federal wireless communications community and took a more active role in federal interoperability efforts.
The purpose of the FPIC is to:
- Maintain a working relationship as a Technical Advisory Resource with the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center (ECPC) Steering Committee to assist in meeting ECPC goals;
- Maintain a working partnership with the SAFECOM/National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) Technology Policy Committee to assist in meeting SAFECOM/NCSWIC and FPIC goals;
- Maintain a working relationship with the Department of Homeland Security’s Joint Wireless Program Management Office (JWPMO) to collaborate on mutual JWPMO and FPIC goals;
- Act as a communicating agent to users at all levels of government about mission critical wireless communications issues and coordinate a unified federal approach;
- Coordinate with member departments and agencies to develop recommendations to appropriate advisory and regulatory bodies (e.g., National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC), standards development organizations, and National Institute of Standards and Technology);
- Coordinate efforts with ongoing/existing state and local interoperability programs, as well as NPSTC and other public safety forums (e.g. Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Working Group (RECCWG) and National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC)) to promote collaboration;
- Identify and assist in problem resolution with operability and interoperability concerns with Federal, State and local public safety communications users; and
- Coordinate and collaborate with FCC and NTIA regarding spectrum concerns of mutual interest of the public safety community at all levels of government.
The FPIC will pursue the following objectives:
- Improve interoperability across all levels of the government through joint investment and resource sharing among Federal, State, local, tribal, territorial, etc.;
- Leverage collective resources to drive research and development (R&D) and standards for existing and emerging technologies;
- Leverage the existing technical, operational, security, and resource sharing/coordination expertise of the FPIC to provide effective technical support of ECPC goals;
- Foster partnerships among Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial entities to promote the exchange of knowledge and resource sharing among members of the wireless communications community;
- Lead efforts in concert with appropriate agencies in the creation and maintenance of a federal roadmap to achieve wireless communications interoperability across federal departments, bureaus, and agencies;
- Provide user input to organizations addressing state and local interoperability activities as appropriate, and receive and document state and local public safety input concerning federal communications initiatives;
- Identify issues and articulate a unified FPIC position relative to the development of standards and specifications (e.g., Project 25 standards development);
- Identify issues and develop a unified FPIC position relative to security, standards, and spectrum that impact interoperability and interaction with Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial agencies; and,
- In coordination with the ECPC and other public safety forums, serve as the federal wireless communications community’s liaison to industry, periodically obtaining technical updates and equipment reviews from vendors.
- Provide input to communications plans with jurisdictions adjacent to federal facilities.