Leadership Elections, Governance Advancements for NCSWIC, SAFECOM
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 | Comments

Two federally managed public-safety groups announced new leadership and released governance tools and documents for local and state public-safety officials based on work at a December meeting before the partial government shutdown.

Joe Galvin, the Illinois statewide interoperability coordinator (SWIC), was elected chair of the National Council of SWICs (NCSWIC), following the departure of former chair Nikki Cassingham, who will remain the Oklahoma SWIC. New Jersey SWIC John Miller was elected vice chair. Seven new SWICs joined the program.

SAFECOM also elected its 2019 leadership with the re-election of Gerald Reardon, senior adviser for Cambridge Public Safety, as chair. Chris Lombard with the Seattle Fire Department and Michael Murphy with the Louisiana Police Department were elected vice chairs of SAFECOM.

SAFECOM added 13 new at-large members and three new association representatives to the program.

Officials from the newly established Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Emergency Communications Division (ECD), formerly the Office of Communications (OEC), provided SWICs with information on its fiscal-year 2019 technical assistance (TA) process. The process includes two strategic TA offerings and five state-requested TAs, which will be coordinated with states in coming months through the CISA ECD coordinators.

During 2018, CISA, in partnership with the National Governors Association, conducted five workshops, convening senior-level state officials and state and local representatives to discuss how governance can drive integration in their states to enhance public-safety communications. The agency will share a compilation of lessons learned in coming months. Attendees also heard from several cybersecurity experts and learned how a joint working group plans to improve and trial an updated next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) self-assessment tool in 2019.

As part of its performance management program, CISA provided information on state interoperability markers, which are meant to justify funding requests, improve coordination and help decision-makers understand the impact of collaborative work initiatives on improving emergency communications interoperability. CISA will work with SWICs to update 24 state interoperability markers and conduct an in-person workshop with SWICs to gain consensus. CISA expects to implement the markers in 2019.

During the joint meeting in early December, NCSWIC and SAFECOM panelists presented lessons learned from recent responses to real-world events, emphasizing the importance of catastrophic disaster planning, funding for equipment maintenance, widespread education on channel/system use, supporting task force communications, and early coordination for Emergency Support Function (ESF) 2. Participants also received information on the new Crisis Event Response & Recovery Access (CERRA) framework, which provides states and local jurisdictions with recommended best practices and a common process approach to establish an access program.

The NCSWIC and SAFECOM executive committees approved several technology resources for LMR subscriber unit procurements and implementing Project 25 (P25) system interconnections. The committees also approved several planning and training documents along with a governance guide draft document. They also approved a letter of support to update and expand the communications unit (COMU) program within the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

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