Statewide Interoperability Plans and Planning Coordinators
Statewide Communication Interoperability Plans (SCIPs) are locally-driven, multi-jurisdictional, and multi-disciplinary statewide plans to enhance emergency communications. The SCIP creates a single resource for all stakeholders and a unified approach for enhancing interoperable communications for public safety and officials at all levels of government. SCIPs define the current and future direction for interoperable and emergency communications within a state or territory.
SCIPs are comprehensive plans which outline the:
- Current and future interoperable and emergency communications environment;
- Goals with specific steps for action (including owners and completion timeframes);
- Defined mechanisms to measure achievements; and,
- Process by which the state will record progress and challenges each year.
The SCIP structure is designed to demonstrate accomplishments and challenges and define the strategic direction and priorities in the state or territory for the next three to five years. SCIPs focus on the strategic direction and alignment of all emergency communications (voice and data) in the state, and include all forms of related technology and a broader community of stakeholders. They are living documents that should be updated on an as needed basis.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) supports states and territories in the implementation of their SCIPs by providing SCIP workshops.
During the workshops, state and local representatives gather to discuss communications gaps and ways to implement SCIP initiatives. The SCIP Implementation Workshops are participatory and hands-on and focus on the specific needs and priorities of each state and territory.
In preparation for the In-Person or Virtual SCIP workshop, CISA utilizes on-line surveys and webinars to gather input from constituents. Webinars are conducted for:
- Interoperability Governance
- Technology and Cybersecurity
The gathered input is then crafted into the SCIP during a one- or two-day workshop.
Statewide Interoperability Coordinators
As the central coordination point for their state or territory, the Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC) plays a critical role in a state’s interoperability effort. The SWIC works with emergency response leaders across all levels of government to implement a statewide strategic vision for interoperability. As part of this effort, SWICs are responsible for the implementation of the Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP), which establishes a vision for interoperability in the state.
- Overseeing the daily operation of the state’s interoperability efforts
- Coordinating interoperability and communications projects
- Maintaining governance structures
- Assembling working groups to develop and implement key initiatives
- Updating and implementing the SCIP
SWIC Scope of Work:
- SCIP program management
- Grants coordination
- Policy development
Based on recommendations from emergency responders, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) included a milestone in the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) that every state must have a single point of contact for interoperable emergency communications. With a full-time resource dedicated to coordinating statewide emergency communications, states significantly improve progress in implementing SCIPs and the NECP.
Support for SWICs
The Establishing Governance to Achieve Statewide Communications Interoperability guide includes suggested SWIC roles and responsibilities. This guide provides new and established SWICs with an understanding of the scope of their position in terms of outreach activities, SCIP program management, grants coordination, and policy development. The guide demonstrates a methodology to implement SCIP strategic initiatives by leveraging a collaborative statewide governance structure.
In response to SWICs' recommendations for a dedicated group to facilitate networking and information sharing at the state level, CISA established a forum for SWICs. CISA supports the SWICs through bi-annual meetings, quarterly newsletters, a SWIC portal on the National Interoperability Information eXchange, and periodic conference calls. These activities allow SWICs to collaborate through the sharing of best practices, lessons learned, successes, and challenges related to SCIP implementation.