Assignment: Interoperable Communications Among Agencies

 

Emergency first responders, such as police officers, firefighters, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel, must be able to communicate with each other to provide effective disaster response. However, a lack of interoperable communications systems and technologies has plagued emergency first responders for generations. There is no standard definition of interoperable communications, but public safety officials generally recognize interoperable communications as the ability to talk with whom they want, when they want, and when authorized, but not the ability to talk with everyone all of the time. During the responses to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York on September 11, 2001, and numerous other incidents, police officers were unable to communicate directly with other first responders from their own or other jurisdictions. Unfortunately, there is no quick or easy solution to this problem. The federal government has tried, with limited success, to help state and local governments enhance communications systems and technology. In addition, there are significant political, financial, technological, bureaucratic, legal, practical, and operational challenges to achieving interoperable communications. It is, therefore, important to be aware of these challenges and how to address them to achieve interoperable communications among government agencies.

To prepare for this assignment:

  • Review Chapter 9 of the online article “A Governor’s Guide to Homeland Security.” Focus on the definition of interoperability. Also, consider challenges related to interoperable communications and recommendations for improving interoperability in public safety communications.
  • Review the assigned pages of the online article, “First Responders: Much Work Remains to Improve Communications Interoperability.” Think about evaluations, conclusions, and recommendations regarding policy, planning, technology, funding, standards, and programs for improving interoperable communications for first responder agencies.
  • Review the article, “Collaboration Over Adaptation: The Case for Interoperable Communications in Homeland Security.” Reflect on the argument for collaboration versus adaptation of homeland security interoperable communications.
  • Review the course media, “Information Sharing and Communication” featuring Dr. Phillip Schertzing, focusing on interoperable communications among homeland security agencies within the United States and internationally.
  • Identify at least two challenges related to achieving interoperable communications among government agencies.
  • Think about why each is a challenge and what you would do to address the challenges.
  • Consider at least two implications of the lack of interoperable communications on homeland security efforts.

The assignment: (1–2 pages)

  • Describe at least two challenges related to achieving interoperable communications among government agencies. Be sure to explain why each is a challenge and what you would do to address these challenges.
  • Explain two implications of the lack of interoperable communications on homeland security efforts. Be specific, and use examples to illustrate your explanation.

Support your Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list only for those resources not included in the Learning Resources for this course.

  

Required Readings

Bullock, J. A. , Haddow, G. D.  & Coppola, D. P. (2013). Introduction to homeland security (5th ed.). Waltham, MA: Elsevier Inc.

· Chapter 11, “Communications”

Seifert, J. W., & Relyea, H. C. (2004). Do you know where your information is in the homeland security era? Government Information Quarterly, 21(4), 399–405.

Jenkins, W. O. (2006). Collaboration over adaptation: The case for interoperable communications in homeland security. Public Administration Review, 66(3), 319–321. 

  United States Government Accountability Office. (2007). First responders: Much work remains to improve communications interoperability. Retrieved fromhttp://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07301.pdf
Note: You are only required to read pages 1–1 1 of this article.

NGA Center for Best Practices. (2007). A governor’s guide to homeland security. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nga.org/files/live/sites/NGA/files/pdf/0703GOVGUIDEHS.PDFChapter 3, “Developing a Public Communications and Media Strategy”

· Chapter 8, “Intelligence and Information Sharing”

· Chapter 9, “Interoperability”

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