Agencies must report on telecommunications backup: OMB

Agencies must report to the Office of Management and Budget their progress in establishing backup telecommunications services that would be continuously available during emergencies and crises.

Effective July 1, agencies should begin to review their telecommunication capabilities to determine if they are prepared for contingencies and continuity of operations, OMB said in a transmittal letter. Agencies must report their findings to OMB by Aug. 1.

In their reports, agencies should provide methods for ensuring the availability of essential and national security/emergency telecommunications services. The methods may include use of redundant and physically separate telecommunications service-entry points into buildings and the use of physically diverse local network facilities.

Agencies must confirm they are complying where appropriate with directives issued by the National Communications System and guidance issued in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Federal Preparedness Circular 65. The two documents establish policies and procedures for national security and emergency preparedness, as well as selection of alternate facilities for operations.

Although the requirement applies only to agencies in federally owned buildings, agencies should also include plans for contingencies and continuity of operation situations in leased buildings. Agencies also must apply the requirement to new telecommunications procurements.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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