Homeland Security First to Define Interoperability Requirements for Nation's First Responder Community

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directoratetoday announced the release of the first comprehensive Statement of Requirements(SoR) document outlining future technology requirements for public safetywireless communications and interoperability.  The SoR can be found at www.safecomprogram.gov.

The SoR, developed under the SAFECOM Program, marks the first time the 50,000public safety agencies have a document that defines future requirements forcommunicating and sharing information -- as authorized, when and where needed,and in a manner that allows for the most effective use of that information. 

"On behalf of Secretary Ridge, we are pleased that the Department hasundertaken this unprecedented step toward defining the nation's interoperabilitychallenges for the future," said Dr. Charles McQueary, Under Secretary,Science and Technology.  "This approach not only complements the grantguidance we have in place but also provides a roadmap for our interoperabilitygoals and brings government and public safety officials together under a commonmission."

The SoR provides the public safety community with a shared vision anddescribes how first responders can use in-the-field information resources moreefficiently when responding to a variety of emergency events.  The SoR'sother purposes are to encourage the communications industry to better align itsresearch and development efforts with public safety needs and toentify publicsafety operational issues when discussions regarding laws and regulations takeplace.

"The Statement of Requirements is a critical document that will providefirst responders with the architectural framework for future interoperablepublic safety communications," said Dr. David Boyd, Director, SAFECOM. "As we proceed, the needs of the user community will help drive thedevelopment of various communications products that allow the nation to begin toreach a functional level of interoperability."

The SoR was developed in coordination with the National Public SafetyTelecommunications Council, the National Institute of Standards and Technology,and the Department of Justice's Advanced Generation of Interoperability for LawEnforcement or AGILE Program.  The requirements contain interoperabilityscenarios that range from law enforcement traffic stops to large-scale crossjurisdictional responses describing how technology can serve to enhance publicsafety in a variety of situations.  The operational scenarios providerequirements that define how technology should function in the field, drivetechnology interface standards, define user's needs in the development of newtechnologies, and provide a guide for research and development, testing, andevaluation programs.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and TechnologyDirectorate serves as the primary research and development arm of theDepartment, utilizing our nation's scientific and technological resources toprovide federal, state and local officials with the technology and capabilitiesto protect the homeland.  SAFECOM was established in 2002 as part of thePresident's Management Agenda that oversees all initiatives and projectspertaining to public safety communications and interoperability.  It is theoverarching umbrella program within the Federal government to help local,tribal, State and Federal public safety agencies improve public safety responsethrough more effective and efficient interoperable wireless communications. For more information about the SAFECOM Program, contact safecom@dhs.govor call 866-969-SAFE.