July 27, 2016
Contact: S&T Public Affairs, 202-254-2385
NEW MEXICO – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working to combat electronic jamming of first responders’ radio communications systems by enhancing jamming prevention, detection and mitigation technologies.
A DHS S&T First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise took place on July 16 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, where DHS S&T hosted first responders from more than 40 federal, state and local agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. During the exercise, responder organizations conducted emergency response scenarios, while deliberate electronic jamming disabled some of their communications. DHS S&T is currently working to analyze the results of the exercise to identify vulnerabilities in responder communications systems and evaluate the effectiveness of anti-jamming technologies.
“Electronic jamming equipment interferes with vital communication and delays emergency response times,” said Under Secretary for S&T Dr. Reginald Brothers. “Often, this illegal jamming is used to mask illicit activities, such as drug and weapons smuggling and human trafficking. Electronic jammers pose a serious threat to our responders, their missions, our communities and our borders, and DHS S&T continues to work diligently to mitigate this threat.”
Subject matter experts from academia and the private sector were also on hand to add their expertise and equipment to the exercise, including drones and jammers.
Data collected from this exercise will be used to enhance anti-jamming technologies and inform policy to ensure resilient requirements for first responders’ communications systems.