The 2014 National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) provides information and guidance to those that plan for, coordinate, invest in, and use operable and interoperable communications for response and recovery operations. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) worked closely with more than 350 federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions, private sector representatives, and other stakeholders to update the NECP with the goal of bringing public safety communications into the 21st century. To address the rapidly evolving emergency communications landscape, the NECP emphasizes the need to enhance and update the policies, governance structures, plans, and protocols that enable responders to communicate and share information under all circumstances. As a stakeholder-driven plan, the NECP aims to maximize the use of all communications capabilities available to emergency responders – voice, video, and data – and to ensure the security of data and information exchange.
The 2014 NECP sets forth five strategic goals based on the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum that provide continuity with the 2008 NECP. Collectively, the NECP goals aim to enhance emergency communications capabilities at all levels of government and across disciplines in coordination with the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and communities across the nation:
- Goal 1 - Governance and Leadership: Enhance decision-making, coordination, and planning for emergency communications through strong governance structures and leadership.
- Goal 2 - Planning and Procedures: Update plans and procedures to improve emergency responder communications and readiness in a dynamic operating environment.
- Goal 3 - Training and Exercises: Improve responders’ ability to coordinate and communicate through training and exercise programs that use all available technologies and target gaps in emergency communications.
- Goal 4 - Operational Coordination: Ensure operational effectiveness through the coordination of communications capabilities, resources, and personnel from across the whole community.
- Goal 5 - Research and Development: Coordinate research, development, testing, and evaluation activities to develop innovative emergency communications capabilities that support the needs of emergency responders.
To view the NECP and related documents, click on the image below.
NG911 Cybersecurity Primer
The Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) Cybersecurity Primer provides an overview of the cyber risks that will be faced by NG911 systems. It is intended to serve only as an informational tool for system administrators to better understand the full scope and range of potential risks, as well as recommend mitigations to these risks. Developed by the DHS Office of Emergency Communications in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, the Primer is an introduction to improving the cybersecurity posture of NG911 systems nationwide.
The NECP stresses strategic planning for emergency communications and highlights the importance of cybersecurity for the entire ecosystem—including our Nation’s Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and Public Safety Communications Center operations. As NG911 is deployed, it will enhance the current capabilities of today’s 911 networks, allowing compatibility with more types of communication, providing greater situational awareness to dispatchers and emergency responders, and establishing a level of resilience not previously possible. However, NG911 also introduces new vectors for attack that can disrupt or disable PSAP operations, broadening the concerns of―and complicating the mitigation and management of―cyber risks across all levels of government.
Nationwide Communications Baseline Assessment
OEC is developing the Nationwide Communications Baseline Assessment (NCBA) to evaluate the Nation’s ability to communicate during incidents. The purpose of the assessment is to improve understanding across all levels of government on the capabilities needed and in use by today’s emergency response providers in order to establish and sustain communications operability, interoperability, and continuity. OEC is partnering with SAFECOM to gather data for the assessment through the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey launching in 2017. Additional information on the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey can be found on the SAFECOM website.