DHS issues wireless interoperability requirements

DHS issues wireless interoperability requirements

The Homeland Security Department today released technical requirements for future public-safety wireless communications and interoperability.

The document, created by DHS' Science and Technology Directorate, is the latest attempt to get the troubled Project Safecom back on track. Shifted from team to team, the project has failed to make much progress coordinating public-safety comm in the past 2 1/2 years.

The delays prompted a recent negative General Accounting Office report [see GCN story]. DHS largely agreed with GAO's assessment and the recommendation that project managers need to forge written agreements among the federal, state and local partners.

The new requirements document describes how first responders should use mobile information resources. The document notes that DHS hopes it will encourage industry to mesh their R&D with public-safety needs.

The plan describes situations in which first responders use wireless communications and defines the ways in which such systems must function. It touches, for example, on scalability, security, commercial availability and designs based on standards.

Charles McQueary, undersecretary for science and technology, said in a statement that the requirements statement 'not only complements the grant guidance we have in place but also provides a road map for our interoperability goals and brings government and public-safety officials together in a common mission.'

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