DHS seeks interoperability viewpoints

The Homeland Security Department today invited the general public to comment on the department's program to coordinate public safety communications and interoperability, known as SAFECOM.

In a Federal Register notice issued today, DHS noted that SAFECOM is intended to oversee all federal projects related to interoperability and that the department had worked with the public safety community to define the joint communications method.

'The SAFECOM Interoperability Baseline Survey, which was developed from this definition, will allow DHS to measure the current state of public safety communications interoperability among state and local public safety practitioners,' according to the Federal Register notice. DHS officials expect that the survey will provide information helpful in planning future interoperability projects.

The department will accept comments until Feb. 17, 2006. DHS plans to post all the comments, without change.

Foresman confirmed undersecretary for preparedness

Separately, Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff welcomed the Senate confirmation of George W. Foresman to be the department's undersecretary for preparedness.

The Senate's confirmation of Foresman likely will give impetus to the new Preparedness Directorate created by Chertoff's second-stage review reorganization plan.

'George's confirmation is a critical step in standing up this new directorate and consolidating the department's existing preparedness efforts,' Chertoff said in a statement.

'There is an urgent need to enhance preparedness for catastrophic events in this country, whether natural or man-made,' Chertoff added, as he praised Foresman's qualifications drawn from more than 20 years of work in the field.

Chertoff nominated Foresman in late October. Foresman was Virginia's assistant to the governor for commonwealth preparedness, where he previously held the deputy position.

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