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Presidential Initiatives Federal Enterprise Architecture Information Policy and Technology Chief Information Officers Council

Government To Citizen Initiatives > Gov't To Gov't > SAFECOM
Program Manager
: David G. Boyd, Ph.D.

Serves as the umbrella program within the Federal government to help local, tribal, State and Federal public safety agencies improve public safety response through more effective and efficient interoperable wireless communications. As a public safety practitioner driven program, SAFECOM is working with existing Federal communications initiatives and key public safety stakeholders to improve processes for the cross-jurisdictional and cross-disciplinary coordination of existing systems and future networks.

Progress to Date
: Developed grant guidance for public safety interoperability equipment grants to local, tribal, and State organizations adopted by FEMA and COPS
  Chartered and held the first meeting of the Federal Coordination Council - an Interagency working group for public safety communications
  Integrated the Public Safety Wireless Network Program
  Released the beta version of the Interoperable Communications Grant Clearinghouse database
  Completed research report profiling a sample of statewide interoperability planning efforts across the United States.
  Released a Request for Information for technology concepts and existing or under-development products or services to provide for the interoperability of public safety communications
  AGILE and SAFECOM released the first draft of the Statement of Requirements for public safety interoperability
Next Steps
: Fully integrate grant guidance across federal grant programs with interoperable communications funding
  Develop a statistical model which will be used to define a baseline level of interoperability nationwide.
  Release report outlining how National Guard Land Mobile Radio (LMR) resources can be incorporated into the plan to achieve nationwide interoperability
  Develop and operate an interoperable communications center and grants clearinghouse on the web that will allow public safety users to identify the best solutions for their jurisdiction
  Develop and promote technical assistance publications that include common interoperability terminology for public safety and further addresses communications-related issues to improve the use of Incident Command Systems
  Continue to support the development of standards that will enable multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary interoperability
  Continue to work with the joint DOJ/DHS 25 Cities Project, which will help make the top 25 high threat metropolitan areas interoperable
  Continue to participate on the White House Spectrum Policy Initiative Taskforce which will make recommendations to the President
Web site

Emergency incidents, whether caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes, traffic accidents, fires, civil disturbances, or terrorism-- require a seamless, coordinated response from government. Recent emergencies have demonstrated the importance of coordination among local, tribal, State, and Federal public safety officials at the incident scene. Today, the public safety wireless communications infrastructure is poorly equipped to meet many of the challenges that arise in emergency situations. In particular, public safety responders lack interoperability, which can impede public safety response efforts.

Key issues that hamper public safety wireless communications include:

• Incompatible and aging communications equipment
• Limited and fragmented funding
• Limited and fragmented communications planning
• A lack of coordination and cooperation among public safety agencies
• Limited and fragmented radio spectrum
• Limited equipment standards

SAFECOM has developed the following work packages to address these issues:

• Program Management Support and Administration
• Technology Solutions
• Technical Assistance and Outreach
• Standards
• Policy

By accelerating the convergent integration of wireless public safety communication networks, SAFECOM will provide improved public safety services to local, tribal, State, and Federal government public safety practitioners. More efficient communications among practitioners potentially reduces loss of life and property in emergency situations. SAFECOM’s role is to provide public safety agencies with the knowledge, leadership and guidance needed to help them achieve short-term interoperability and long-term compatibility.


There are 44,000 separate public safety agencies and organizations in the United States. Federal customers include over 100 agencies engaged in public safety disciplines such as law enforcement, firefighting, public health, and disaster recovery.

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