The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) provides technical, architectural, and standards-related services focused upon the improvement of communications capabilities across multiple mission areas that impact homeland security efforts. These services are intended to align stakeholder requirements and policy planning with technological advancements and emerging architectural frameworks. As required, OEC will seek to engage external agencies and organizations through select stakeholder groups and technical bodies in order to promote improved emergency communications capabilities.
OEC actively participates with standards development organizations (SDOs) to ensure priority service mechanisms and features are incorporated into the standards of existing and new communications technologies. During SDO meetings, OEC ensures that new services and products continue to meet national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) and public safety communications requirements. OEC's participation in these meetings is vital to ensuring that standards for current and emerging technologies meet the needs to NS/EP and first responders.
Testing and Evaluation
OEC performs testing and technical evaluations on standards and proposed technology solutions for Priority Telecommunications Services. OEC has an established testing capability for Next Generation Networks (NGN) priority services development with the Department of Commerce (DoC) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) center for analysis and integration of public safety communication with commercial telecommunication providers. PSCR is also supporting the DoC’s First Responder Authority (FirstNet) with the design and fielding of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.
The OEC Route Diversity Project (RDP) helps organizations mitigate threats to communications continuity and supports resilient, “always available” communications. Communications continuity is a network’s ability to withstand damages, thereby minimizing the likelihood of a service outage. Three key elements ensure communications continuity:
- Route Diversity: Communications routing between two points over more than one geographic or physical path with no common points.
- Redundancy: Additional or duplicated communications assets share the load or provide backup to the primary asset.
- Protective/Restorative Measures:Protective measures decrease the likelihood that a threat will affect the network, while restorative measures, such as OEC’s Telecommunications Service Priority, enable rapid restoration if services are damaged or destroyed.
RDP focuses on route diversity of the local access network and addresses risks associated with infrastructure architecture, emerging technologies, and cybersecurity. The Route Diversity Project has developed a process to assess threats and vulnerabilities to communications networks, enabling organizations to conduct self-assessments and identify ideal mitigation solutions. Alternatively, RDP can conduct a route diversity assessment on a fee-for-service basis for any federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial organization. The service is available for single building environments or multi-building environments operating on a shared network. Read more information on RDP, or contact the RDP office at OEC-RouteDiversity@hq.dhs.gov.
NS/EP Communications Engineering
OEC performs engineering feasibility studies, analyses, and planning in support of federal state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency communications for disaster response. In addition, OEC provides leadership, technical support and expertise to the NS/EP Executive Committee in the development of policy recommendations to the President on enhancing the survivability, resilience, and future architecture of NS/EP communications and to promote the incorporation of the optimal combination of hardness, redundancy, mobility, connectivity, interoperability, restorability, and security to ensure the survivability of NS/EP communications under all circumstances.
For additional information, contact OEC@hq.dhs.gov.