SAFECOM Outlines 2020 Strategic Plan with 38 Priorities
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 | Comments
SAFECOM released a 2020 strategic plan that outlines 38 priorities that the public-safety communications support organization plans to accomplish this year. The priorities fall under seven committees and task forces that address issues from governance to technology policy to the Project 25 (P25) Compliance Assessment Program (CAP).

The 17-page document offers a comprehensive and detailed plan for the coming year for the stakeholder-supported organization that is organized through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The role of SAFECOM as an entity is highlighted in the plan, especially the organization's work with the national emergency communications plan (NECP) and the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum.
"The collective work of SAFECOM has proven beyond a doubt during this pandemic that the programs, policies, technical papers and communication guidelines we’ve produced have made the nation’s public-safety communications systems stronger and more resilient," said Gerald Reardon, SAFECOM chair and retired chief of the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Fire Department.
"As we hear weekly from our constituents at all levels of government, the emergency communications systems have dealt well with the stress COVID-19 has impacted on our nation. We have heard many times that the preparation, training and procedures instituted over many years since the 9/11 tragedies have undoubtedly helped us weather this worldwide pandemic. It’s due to the untiring collective work of all the men and women of all our membership that should honored for these successes and as we continue to ensure interoperability."

Eleven of the priorities in the plan fall under the technology policy committee. Each priority has associated key products, which are also outlined in the document. One of the technology policy committee priorities is to promote education and support deployment of identity, credential and access management (ICAM) policies and technologies.

To that end, CISA released high-level observations from two 2019 public safety-focused ICAM demonstrations. While public-safety ICAM has not yet seen wide adoption, the combination of shorter technology lifecycles, edge computing and emerging cybersecurity threats will heighten the risk profiles of legacy information technology systems and challenge identity management practices. In the coming years, public-safety agencies will need to explore options for making access control both secure and user friendly. Therefore, it is critical that the public-safety community develop guidance on how agencies can embrace and implement federated ICAM in support of their needs, a CISA statement said.

An overview fact sheet provides information on federated ICAM concepts, high-level observations and key findings from the 2019 CISA Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) ICAM pilot demonstrations and future considerations for public-safety organizations when developing ICAM technical, governance and policy best practices.

In addition to SAFECOM, the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC), ODNI and Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) supported the ICAM demonstrations and education program. More ICAM information is here.

The full 2020 strategic plan is here.

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