DHS Releases Updated National Emergency Communications Plan
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Comments

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an update to the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP). The NECP is the nation’s strategic plan for coordinating and advancing emergency communications to establish and maintain operability, interoperability and continuity.

Key updates to the NECP include the addition of a cybersecurity goal, an emphasis on formal and flexible governance, and a focus on integrating new technologies.

CISA worked with more than 3,500 stakeholders from federal, state, local, tribal and territorial public-safety agencies, government officials, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector during the past two years to develop the updated NECP.

“The update to the NECP is the blueprint for designing and improving the nation’s emergency communications capabilities at all levels of government,” said CISA Director Christopher Krebs. “For the safety of our first responders, it is imperative that we continue to partner with the public-safety community in identifying strategies which improve their ability to communicate in real time for command and control at the scene of an emergency.”

The NECP establishes a clear national vision, “to enable the nation’s emergency response community to communicate and share information securely across communications technologies in real time, including all levels of government, jurisdictions, disciplines, organizations, and citizens impacted by any threats or hazards event.”

“The NECP has been refreshed to reflect current emergency communications needs and new technologies, but it also re-emphasizes 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 (SWIC) in each state,” said John Miller, NCSWIC chair.

CISA will continue to work with the emergency response community, including government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector, to implement the NECP and ensure emergency responders and other entities that share information can communicate effectively under all emergency situations.

“This truly is a plan developed by the public-safety community for the public-safety community,” said SAFECOM Chair Gerald Reardon. “As we collectively move toward implementing its objectives, we will be a more prepared nation.”

SAFECOM and National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) leaders endorsed the draft plan earlier this year. The last NECP was released in 2014, following the original 2008 plan.

A copy of the updated NECP is available here.

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