Safecom to seek demonstration projects

The Homeland Security Department's Safecom program will release a broad agency announcement in the next 30 days for demonstration projects in wireless communications interoperability, an agency official said.

The Safecom program will provide $6 million for two to four demonstration projects around the country, Thomas Coty, deputy director of Safecom with DHS' Science and Technology Directorate, said today at the department's two-day industry forum in Washington.

The department will choose winners in July and award the projects before the end of the fiscal year, Coty said. Safecom received about 150 responses to its wireless community interoperability request for information last fall, he said.

The demonstration projects will not cover an entire jurisdiction. Instead, the local government would give the contractor access either to its communications center or part of its fleet of public safety vehicles, Coty said.

The projects awarded through the announcement will signal "the start of more elegant, longer-term, interoperable solutions," Coty said.

Safecom is an umbrella program to support and improve wireless communications at the federal, state and local levels. Eight federal departments support it, including the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice.

In related Safecom news, a basic set of technological requirements for interoperable wireless communications among first responders should be complete by the end of March, Coty said.

"This document will be the springboard for a lot of our [future] work," he said.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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