SAFECOM and NCSWIC applaud the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) for releasing comprehensive updates to the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP). The NECP is the Nation’s roadmap to ensuring emergency communications interoperability at all levels of government and, as such, is critical to the public safety community. As organizations with missions to improve public safety interoperability and communications, we worked collaboratively with CISA on this effort to ensure our members’ firsthand knowledge of emergency communications challenges, needs, and best practices are reflected in the NECP.
Using an iterative process, CISA engaged more than 3,500 public safety representatives from Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial public safety agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other groups in revising the NECP. Lessons learned from real-world incidents, results from the 2018 SAFECOM Nationwide Survey and the 2018 Nationwide Communications Baseline Assessment, and input from our stakeholder groups were used to inform the Plan’s goals, objectives, and success indicators. Earlier this year, our organizations issued a letter of endorsement which is included as an appendix to the NECP. SAFECOM Chair Gerald Reardon noted that, “This truly is a plan developed by the public safety community for the public safety community. As we collectively move toward implementing its objectives, we will be a more prepared Nation.”
Key updates to the NECP include adding a cybersecurity goal, emphasizing the importance of strategic and lifecycle planning, promoting the importance of evaluating and documenting lessons learned from training and exercises, underscoring the need for coordination of communications assets and capabilities at incidents and planned events, and focusing on effective and interoperable information sharing. John Miller, NCSWIC Chair, said, “The NECP has been refreshed to reflect current emergency communications needs and new technologies, but it also reemphasizes key points and remaining gaps we must close such as the necessity to maintain and upgrade legacy systems and the objective of having a dedicated Statewide Interoperability Coordinator in each state.”
To learn more about the updates to the NECP, we encourage you to participate in one of the three informational webinars CISA is hosting on the following dates:
- Wednesday, October 2, 2019, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST
- Tuesday, October 8, 2019, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST
- Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm EST
A copy of the updated NECP is available for download at https://www.cisa.gov/necp.
For more information on the NECP, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org