Editor’s Note: President Obama’s Executive Order 13618 — Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions, an update to previous Executive Orders to ensure continuity of emergency communications, is attached below.
From: Government Security News
By: Mark Rockwell
In an executive order issued on July 6, the White House established a new executive committee aimed at keeping critical communications systems running during a national emergency.
The order establishes a high-level committee, with members from DHS, the Department of Defense, State Department, Commerce Department, Federal Communications Commission, General Services Administration and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), who will examine methods to keep government communications operating during times of national crises.
Secretaries of DHS and DoD will co-chair the committee. DHS is tasked with developing governmental continuity capabilities and DoD developing military continuity.
” Survivable, resilient, enduring, and effective communications, both domestic and international, are essential to enable the executive branch to communicate within itself and with: the legislative and judicial branches; State, local, territorial, and tribal governments; private sector entities; and the public, allies, and other nations,” said the president’s order. “Such communications must be possible under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies, and improve national resilience. The views of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public must inform the development of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications policies, programs, and capabilities.”
The directive calls on the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to issue an annual report to the NS/EP Communications Executive Committee that highlights national priorities for the analyses, studies, research, and development regarding NS/EP communications. The OSTP is also tasked with advising the president on prioritization of radio spectrum and wired networks that support emergency preparedness.
The committee will also develop a long-term strategic vision” of how to NS/EP communications will be used in crisis situations.
Specifically, DHS will oversee communications that support continuity of government; federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal emergency preparedness and response communications; non-military executive branch communications systems; critical infrastructure protection networks; and non-military communications networks, particularly with respect to prioritization and restoration. It will also work with privately-owned communications providers to satisfy priority communications requirements, when appropriate, said the order.
The DHS secretary is also tasked with establishing an Executive Committee Joint Program Office (JPO) to provide full-time, expert, and administrative support for the new committee. The JPO staff shall include members from the other NS/EP members as needed, according to the order. DHS is also tasked with providing resource support to the JPO.
DHS was also ordered to maintain a joint industry-Government center capable of assisting in the initiation, coordination, restoration, and reconstitution of NS/EP communications services or facilities under all conditions of emerging threats, crisis, or emergency.
It must also submit a report within 60 days outlining it will integrate emergency communications services, like Government Emergency Telecommunications Service, Wireless Priority Service, Telecommunications Service Priority program and JPO.