Homeland Security releases interoperability requirements

The Homeland Security Department's Science and Technology Directorate released today a document outlining technology requirements for public safety wireless communications and interoperability.

The document, which was developed under Project Safecom, outlines for the nation's 50,000 public safety agencies the future requirements for communicating and sharing information, the department said.

"The statement of requirements is a critical document that will provide first responders with the architectural framework for future interoperable public safety communications," said David Boyd, Safecom's director.

In the months and years ahead, the needs of the user community will help drive the development of various communications products that allows the nation to begin to reach a functional level of interoperability, he said.

The requirements not only complement the grant guidance in place, but also provide a roadmap for the nation's interoperability goals, said Charles McQueary, Homeland Security's under secretary for science and technology.

The requirements provide the public safety community with a shared vision and describe how first responders can use in-the-field information resources more efficiently.

The other purposes of the requirements are to encourage the communications industry's research and development efforts with public safety needs and to identify public safety operational issues.

The requirements were developed in coordination with the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Justice Department's Advanced Generation of Interoperability for Law Enforcement program.

The requirements contain interoperability scenarios that range from law enforcement traffic stops to large-scale cross jurisdictional responses. The document describes how technology can serve to enhance public safety in a variety of situations. The operational scenarios provide requirements that define how technology should function in the field, drive technology interface standards, define user's needs in the development of new technologies, and provide a guide for research and development, testing and evaluation programs.

The 192-page Statement of Requirements for Public Safety Wireless Communications and Interoperability can be found at www.safecomprogram.gov.

About the Author

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

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