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Funding the Ecosystem

Among the many pieces of counsel provided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to state administrative agencies (SAAs) in preparing their applications to the Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) program was a recommendation that communities extend interoperability to cover the entire ecosystem of emergency response assets. This is consistent with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requirements that states and, by extension, local funding recipients coordinate their homeland security funding from all sources to maximize its impact. But it begs the question: “What is the ecosystem of emergency response assets?”

Of course, this question extends well beyond that of funding and becomes a philosophical discussion of which agencies, institutions and even individuals are responsible for homeland security and emergency response.

The National Infrastructure Protection Plan identifies the parties as “Federal Sector-Specific Agencies and other Federal, State, local, tribal and private sector security partners,” including owner/operators of critical infrastructure and key resources and their employees. Depending on how literally you wish to interpret the definition of “critical infrastructure,” this could include every government employee and half the private sector, as well. A DHS introduction to the National Preparedness Goal and National Response Plan states that “all levels of government, the private sector and non-governmental agencies must be prepared to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from a wide spectrum of major events that exceed the capabilities of any single entity.”  


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