P25 CAP Transition Continues (8/20/14)
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | Comments

The transition of the Project 25 (P25) Compliance Assessment Program (CAP) accreditation services continues, but it will be several months before the program’s eight laboratories will be re-accredited or a new governance board is in place.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created and launched CAP in 2010 with funding and oversight from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). The assessment and accreditation responsibilities of NIST are now moving to industry third parties.

Last November, DHS S&T announced that the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board and International Accreditation New Zealand joined the DHS laboratory accreditation efforts.

The three organizations will re-accredit the eight laboratories that test P25 equipment to verify required standards are met. The organizations are not yet accrediting the labs, said John Merrill, deputy director of DHS Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC).

DHS is using the original 2008 CAP charter and is in the process of creating a list of names to potentially sit on the P25 CAP governance board. The board likely will be in place within three to six months, Merrill said.

The P25 governance board meeting dates and times will be published in the Federal Register going forward, and OIC continues to work with DHS Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), NIST and the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program on P25 CAP.

Merrill said CAP testing has been ongoing during the transition, and several suppliers’ declaration of compliance (SDoCs) are under review. SDoCs detail standardized test reports, including the product tested, version tested, other vendor products that it was tested against and pass/fail results for each feature.

“Testing has been ongoing,” he said. “PSCR is our primary lab for leading that effort.”

DHS officials have placed numerous P25 CAP documents including SDoCs on the firstresponder.gov website and the information is still being organized. Ultimately the governance board meeting minutes and other documents will be posted to the site.

“PSCR had to return eight SDoCs to various vendors for necessary corrections,” Merrill said. “There is one SDoC that is in the queue for review; four SDoCs are in the process of being finalized.”

DHS said it is inviting input from industry and users on the program and how it can be improved. “We met with industry after the P25 Technology Interest Group (PTIG) meeting, and they were forthright in explaining problems with P25 CAP,” Merrill said. “We are working with industry to make sure this will be a successful program.”

The firstresponder.gov website will eventually include an email address for feedback, Merrill said.

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