Author: Jennifer Cory, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC)
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) Border Interoperability Demonstration Project (BIDP) was a one-time $25.5 million grant program that focused on identifying innovative solutions to interoperability along the northern and southern U.S. borders. While the grant program has closed, OEC remains focused on transferring BIDP information and knowledge to all border communities and other interested parties. In addition to a closeout report and the BIDP Study on Implementing Interoperability Channels along and across the United States–Canadian Border, as well as the BIDP Study on Rural and Urban Area Interoperability Solutions along and across International Borders, OEC published two additional studies:
- BIDP Study on Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) Compliance along the Border identifies domestic and international EHP requirements that may be applicable in border areas. The study includes a five-step process for obtaining EHP compliance, as well as example documentation and photographs for communities to reference. More specifically, it examines federal laws and categorical exclusions, environmental assessments, and environmental impact statements that are common to emergency communications projects. The study also offers example records of environmental consideration that other communities may reference in their submissions.
- BIDP Study on Implementing Advanced and Emerging Technologies along and across International Borders examines San Diego, California’s project to add capacity and capabilities to its regional communications network. The study discusses common challenges (e.g., human factors, data security) and emphasizes the non-technical steps that are often overlooked when deploying advanced and emerging technologies. The study includes a five-step process intended to guide other communities in implementing advanced and emerging technologies along and across the border.
As these studies demonstrate, OEC is committed to continuing to share lessons learned across border communities, as well as updating tools (e.g., National Interoperability Field Operations Guide) and technical assistance offerings. Additionally, OEC is working on remaining challenges with border working groups, including the Canada-U.S. Communications Interoperability Working Group and the Southwest Border Communications Working Group.
To learn more about BIDP or to download the closeout report, studies, and other documents, visit the BIDP website at https://www.dhs.gov/border-interoperability-demonstration-project. Please direct any questions or comments to BIDP@hq.dhs.gov.