DHS seeks feedback on first responder 'capability gaps'

The Homeland Security Department is looking for better ways to obtain feedback from potentially tens of thousands of first responders about their most critical technology needs for emergency response.

The Science and Technology Directorate published a notice and request for public comment for its TechSolutions program that aims to provide technology information and training to fire, police, emergency medical and other response agencies.

The first responders are encouraged to identify and submit their ideas on "capability gaps" in which there exists an urgent need for a technology that is not yet available. The goal of TechSolutions is to field technologies that meet 80 percent of the operational requirement, in a 12- to 15-month time frame, at a cost commensurate with the proposal but less than $1 million per project, according to the program's Web site.

The Directorate is soliciting public comments until July 30, 2007, to improve the method by which it collects the information from the emergency response representatives, the May 30 notice states. Comments should be identified by Docket No. DHS-2007-0031.

DHS estimates that as many as 75,000 people annually may fill out a request for a new account with TechSolutions, at 30 minutes per person; 500 people annually will fill out the capability gap form, at two hours each; and 500 annually will fill out the feedback form, at 30 minutes each.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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