REPORT TO CONGRESS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FY 2003 INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT GRANT PROGRAM

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1 REPORT TO CONGRESS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FY 2003 INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT GRANT PROGRAM Department of Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness & Response Directorate May 2003

2 Table of Contents OVERVIEW...2 BACKGROUND 2 APPROPRIATION 3 DEPARTMENT SUPPORT FOR PROGRAM.3 PURPOSE...3 AUTHORITY..4 ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES.4 STANDARDS..4 COST SHARE REQUIREMENTS...5 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN...5 DEVELOP PROGRAM PROCESSES AND DOCUMENTATION 5 OUTREACH AND APPLICATION PROCESS...6 AWARDS AND FOLLOW-UP...7 APPENDIX A: TEXT OF LEGISLATION 9 APPENDIX B: TIMELINE OF ACTIVITIES. 11 1

3 PURPOSE OF REPORT This report intends to respond to the House Conference Report ( ) that directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide a comprehensive plan to the Committees on Appropriations of the House and Senate for the acquisition of interoperable communications equipment. Although this report discusses the implementation of a coordinated grant program with the Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), it is not intended to fulfill the request made in the House Conference Report for a report from the COPS office (House Conference Report , at 655). OVERVIEW The implementation of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 interoperable communications equipment grant program will be coordinated between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Both agencies received funding in FY 2003 for interoperable communications equipment grants. In the FY 2003 Consolidated Omnibus Appropriation, FEMA received $25 million for this purpose, and COPS received $20 million (out of this, $5 million will go to the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)/Office of Law Enforcement Standards to support the development of standards for interoperability and $3 million to the National Institute for Justice s AGILE Program). In addition, the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003, provided both COPS and FEMA, now the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate (EP&R) with $54.75 million each for this purpose. Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), EP&R will ensure coordination between this effort and the various homeland security grant programs administered through the States and territories by the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP). BACKGROUND One of the major issues facing the Emergency Services Sector is the inability of emergency service workers including traditional first responders to communicate with one another when the need arises. These emergency first responders have long been defined as the first arriving organized responders with the capability and mission to contain, mitigate, and resolve the emergency at hand. 1 Their effective and efficient emergency response requires coordination, communication, and sharing of vital information among numerous public safety agencies. As recognized in the National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets, most systems supporting emergency response personnel, however, have been specifically developed and implemented with respect to the unique needs of each agency. 2 Such specification without regard to the need for interoperability tends to complicate the ability of those agencies to effectively communicate with others in the future. This fact is echoed by the public safety community in the National Task Force on Interoperability s report Why Can t We Talk? Working Together To Bridge the Communications Gap To Save Lives. 3 1 Emergency First Responder Report, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Fire Administration, January National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets, The White House, February 2003, p Why Can t We Talk? Working Together To Bridge the Communications Gap To Save Lives, AGILE Program, February The National Task Force on Interoperability is funded by the NIJ s AGILE program. 2

4 Appropriation The Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003 (Public Law 108-7) and the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003 (Public Law ). Department Support for Program On March 1, 2003, FEMA was transferred into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Preparedness Division of the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R) Directorate will be principally responsible for the development and implementation of the Interoperable Communications Equipment program in FY Execution of this program will be coordinated with the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) to ensure that the funding provided under this program is consistent with the state homeland security strategies and allowable equipment purchases under the FY03 State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) and FY03 supplemental appropriations. The DHS Office of State and Local Coordination shall ensure coordination between these two grant programs and help develop the department s approach to further integrate these programs in the FY04 budget. PURPOSE In line with the needs of public safety and the National Strategy cited above, Federal FY 2003 Appropriations provides grant funding to improve the effectiveness of public safety communications systems and to resolve interoperability issues. By definition, communications interoperability refers to the ability of public safety agencies to talk to one another across jurisdictions via radio communications networks to exchange voice and/or data on demand, in real time, when needed. This coordinated COPS/EP&R effort will provide funding to jurisdictions across the nation for demonstration projects that will explore uses of equipment and technologies to increase interoperability among the fire service, law enforcement, and emergency medical service communities. These projects will illustrate and encourage the acceptance of new technologies and operating methods to assist communities in achieving interoperability. This coordinated grant program will further expand on the work that is already underway to support interoperable communications, including the SAFECOM program s efforts and planning guidance developed by the National Task Force on Interoperability to assist State and local governments with achieving interoperability. The activities funded under this competitive demonstration grant program should be the result of thorough and rigorous planning and applications should demonstrate how these activities will help State and local agencies achieve interoperability among the fire service, law enforcement, and emergency medical service communities, as well as how these efforts will facilitate and enhance mutual aid efforts. The inability to communicate with one another is not just a problem for public safety organizations when responding to a terrorist attack. Interoperability is a critical component of 3

5 any response, regardless of the hazard. An effective and efficient response to any emergency or disaster requires coordination, communication and sharing of vital information among public safety agencies. The funding available in FY 2003 will not solve the national interoperability problem, but through this demonstration program we hope to find solutions that will guide future communications equipment funding so that all purchases meet an interoperability performance standard. Lessons learned in these demonstration projects will also be incorporated into future SHSGP lists of allowable equipment purchases under ODP grant programs. Authority The activities fall within the authority provided to the Department of Homeland Security in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Public Law ), the authority provided to FEMA in the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 (15 U.S.C ), and the authority provided to the COPS Office in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Public Law ). Eligible Activities Designated jurisdictions will be invited to submit applications for interoperable communications projects that include the purchase of: Interoperable communications equipment components for multi-disciplinary and/or multi-jurisdictional public safety communications projects. Requests may provide local jurisdictions with equipment or services to participate on public safety, commercial, or other shared networks; and Portable gateway solutions. Applicants may request assistance for other technologies if the application demonstrates how the proposed technology will improve interoperability among the public safety community. If an interoperable communications plan has not been developed, the application should also include a description of how a plan will be established as part of the proposed project. Standards When procuring equipment for system construction, upgrades, enhancement, replacement, or for crossband and gateway patches, an open standards-based approach should be used. Specifically, all new or upgraded communications systems including new radio equipment should be compatible with the ANSI/TIA/EIAA-102 Phase 1 (Project 25) suite of standards. With input from the user community, these standards have been developed to allow for backward compatibility with existing digital and analog systems and to provide for interoperability in future systems. The FCC has chosen the Project 25 suite of standards for voice and lowmoderate speed data interoperability in the new nationwide 700 MHz frequency band, and the Integrated Wireless Network (IWN) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice has chosen the Project 25 suite of standards for its new radio equipment. The decision to apply this suite of standards to all newly purchased Land Mobile Radios has also been embraced by the Department of Defense. 4

6 Cost Share Requirements Grant awards will require a 25% non-federal cost share. Further information on cost-share requirements will be addressed in the forthcoming Notice of Funds Availability. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN EP&R and COPS will collaborate on a competitive grant program in FY 2003 in order to maximize the strategic impact of the funding that is available for interoperable communications equipment. The program will provide competitive funding to local jurisdictions to demonstrate effective solutions for achieving interoperability. In the future, these demonstrations will serve as models of interoperable solutions that can be exported throughout the nation. Develop Program Processes and Documentation EP&R and COPS will develop the process and all supporting documentation for the FY 2003 interoperable communications equipment program, including grant guidelines and documentation. Selection of Applicants Anticipated Completion: June 2003 Solutions for achieving interoperability are not one size fits all. The interoperable communications needs of a large city may be drastically different from the needs of a smaller jurisdiction or region in a Midwest State. For the EP&R portion of the grant program, Governors will be asked to nominate one local jurisdiction in the State to submit an application for competitive consideration. The COPS Office will use Metropolitan Statistical Area statistics to select its applicants. Although the grants will be awarded directly to local jurisdictions, it is important that the State supports the jurisdiction s proposal so that the outcomes and lessons learned from the demonstration may be incorporated in state homeland security strategies and eventually be exported throughout the State. EP&R will send a letter to each Governor explaining the program and requesting that the Governor designate a local jurisdiction to submit an application for an interoperable communications demonstration project. By inviting one applicant from each State, proposals for the program will demonstrate solutions for achieving interoperability among a variety of demographics and characteristics. All of these solutions will be important lessons learned and will help guide future funding as all States and local jurisdictions work to solve their interoperability problems. Governors will be asked to consult with their designated State Administrative Agency 4 (SAA) so that the proposed interoperable communications initiative can be integrated into the state's overall homeland security strategy. 4 The SAA is the state-designated coordinator for the ODP-administered State Homeland Security Grant Programs. They are responsible for the development of the state s vulnerability assessments and homeland security strategy that are required under ODP s grant programs. 5

7 Governors will be encouraged to consider innovative and inclusive approaches to achieving interoperability among the public safety community, including regional or other partnerships that cross jurisdictional boundaries. The designation of a local jurisdiction is not meant to preclude partnering relationships, but rather to ensure that the proposed solutions address local public safety needs and reflect partnerships with neighboring jurisdictions, including the State. Designated jurisdictions will be invited to submit an application package for funding consideration. The projects must demonstrate how interoperability can be achieved for the entire public safety community regardless of which office or agency serves as the grantee for a designated jurisdiction. Develop Grant Guidance and Application Packages Anticipated Completion: June 2003 Grant application guidance will be developed jointly by EP&R and COPS, in collaboration with the SAFECOM program, the National Institute for Justice (NIJ)/AGILE program, and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Guidance packages will include application instructions, grants guidance, agreement articles, and relevant reference materials. EP&R and COPS will build upon the SAFECOM program s outreach efforts to public safety organizations and incorporate that input into the program to the maximum extent possible. Outreach and Application Process Federal Register Announcement Anticipated Completion: June 2003 A Notice of Funds Availability will be published in the Federal Register to inform the community about the program elements and provide a point of contact for requesting additional information on the program. Distribute Application Packages to Designated Applicants Anticipated Completion: June 2003 Outreach to National Organizations Anticipated Completion: Ongoing It is essential to conduct marketing and outreach to State and local public safety and government associations to ensure that their members understand the goals and mechanics of the FY 2003 grants program and can promote their proposals within the States if they serve as the lead jurisdiction. Jurisdictions Submit Applications Anticipated Completion: July 2003 Applications must reflect multi-jurisdictional and/or multi-disciplinary participation and demonstrate that the proposal is based on an understanding of first responder needs. 6

8 Proposals should have a clear and demonstrated plan for accomplishing improved interoperability between first responders of local, tribal, regional, and State public safety agencies or organizations. Applicants must explain how the proposed project would fit into an overall effort to increase interoperability for the public safety community. Even if the requested funding is only for a piece of an interoperability endeavor (i.e. procurement of new equipment), an executive summary should be provided to illustrate the broader context of the jurisdiction s interoperability plans. For example, the explanation could include information on the governance structure overseeing the effort; a communications system plan; a deployment plan; operations, maintenance, and training plan; and a financial plan. At a minimum, the application must: Define the vision, goals, and objectives of what the jurisdiction is ultimately trying to accomplish and how the proposed project would fit into an overall effort to increase interoperability. If an interoperable communications plan has already been developed, it should be included in the application. Describe the specific problems or needs that will be addressed. Discuss how the proposal features new or innovative approaches or solutions to increase interoperability. Reflect a multi-disciplinary and/or multi-jurisdictional approach toward achieving interoperability. Identify partners and provide information on any existing agreements such as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Mutual Aid Agreement. Propose a detailed budget and timeline, including plans for meeting the cost-share requirement. Include an operational plan that addresses how the effort will be funded now and in the future. Awards and Follow-up Applications will be peer reviewed and grant awards will be made in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. Review Award Submissions through Peer Review Process Anticipated Completion: August 2003 All applications will be peer reviewed in coordination with the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) AGILE Program. EP&R and the COPS Office will work with NIST and NIJ to identify peer reviewers from the public safety community. Peer review panels will be composed of both practitioners and technologists knowledgeable in the area of interoperable communications. The panels will review the applications on behalf of both agencies and provide feedback and recommendations for funding decisions to EP&R and the COPS Office. 7

9 Award Grants Anticipated Completion: September 2003 Funding decisions will be at the discretion of EP&R and the COPS Office. Both agencies will participate in coordination meetings to ensure the optimum use of limited funding resources and to avoid any duplication of effort. Each agency will award its own grant funding. EP&R will make its funding decisions and award announcements in consultation with the DHS Office of State and Local Coordination and the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP). The maximum federal share for a grant will be $6 million. The invitation to submit an application does not guarantee grant funding. Technical Assistance for Grantees Anticipated Completion: September 2004 Grantees will be encouraged to seek assistance from existing technical assistance resources available to the public safety community, in addition to the technical assistance provided directly by EP&R and COPS, to ensure that the chosen public safety interoperability projects are implemented in the most efficient manner. These additional resources will assist the grantees with both technical and program management to optimize the resources and efficiency associated with communications technology procurement, implementation, and integration. Examples of such technical assistance resources include International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) System, Integrated Justice Information Sharing (IJIS) Institute, and SEARCH (The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics). Evaluation of Demonstration Projects Anticipated Completion: September 2004 An evaluation will be conducted to document successes and impediments experienced by the grant recipients in implementing these demonstration projects. These evaluations will help to export the lessons learned to other States and communities. EP&R and COPS will provide grantees with a template for conducting the final evaluation. Grant Monitoring Anticipated Completion: Ongoing EP&R and COPS will require awardees to submit reports outlining accomplishments and establishing a timeline for fulfilling the conditions of the award to ensure that the funding is being spent in accordance with the established guidance and that program objectives are being met. 8

10 APPENDIX A: TEXT OF LEGISLATION Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003 FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLANNING AND ASSISTANCE For necessary expenses, not otherwise provided for, to carry out activities under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, and the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as amended (42 U.S.C et seq.), the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C et seq.), the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, as amended (42 U.S.C et seq.), the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974, as amended (15 U.S.C et seq.), the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (50 U.S.C. App et seq.), sections 107 and 303 of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended (50 U.S.C ), and Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, $388,299,000: Provided, That of the amount provided under this heading: $25,000,000 shall be for grants for interoperable communications equipment; $25,000,000 shall be for grants for emergency operations centers; $60,000,000 shall be for existing Urban Search and Rescue Teams; $165,000,000 shall be for emergency management performance grants; $20,000,000 shall be for Community Emergency Response Teams. COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES For activities authorized by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Public Law (`the 1994 Act') (including administrative costs), $928,912,000, to remain available until expended: Provided, That section 1703 (b) and (c) of the 1968 Act shall not apply to non-hiring grants made pursuant to part Q of title I thereof (42 U.S.C. 3796dd et seq.): Provided further, That all prior year balances derived from the Violent Crime Trust Fund for Community Oriented Policing Services may be transferred into this appropriation: Provided further, That the officer redeployment demonstration described in section 1701(b)(1)(C) shall not apply to equipment, technology, support system or overtime grants made pursuant to part Q of title I thereof (42 U.S.C. 3796dd et seq.). Of the amounts provided: (2) for crime technology, $400,567,000 as follows: $189,954,000 for a law enforcement technology program; $20,000,000 for the COPS Interoperable Communications Technology Program; $40,000,000 for grants to upgrade criminal records, as authorized under the Crime Identification Technology Act of 1998 (42 U.S.C ); $41,000,000 for DNA analysis and backlog reduction of which $36,000,000 shall be used as authorized by the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 (Public Law ) and of which $5,000,000 shall be available for Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement Grants under part 9

11 BB of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3797j et seq.); $40,538,000 for State and local DNA laboratories as authorized by section 1001(a)(22) of the 1968 Act, and improvements to laboratory general forensic science capacity and capabilities; and $69,075,000 for grants, contracts and other assistance to States under section 102(b) of the Crime Identification Technology Act of 1998 (42 U.S.C ), of which $17,000,000 is for the National Institute of Justice for grants, contracts, and other agreements to develop school safety technologies and training; Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003 Department of Homeland Security, Emergency Preparedness and Response: EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLANNING AND ASSISTANCE For an additional amount for `Emergency Management Planning and Assistance', $54,750,000, for grants for interoperable communications equipment: Provided, That the Secretary shall notify the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives 15 days prior to the obligation of any amount of these funds. Department of Justice: COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES For an additional amount for `Community Oriented Policing Services', $54,750,000, to remain available until December 31, 2003, shall be for the Community Oriented Policing Services, Interoperable Communications Technology Program, for grants to States and localities to improve communications within and among law enforcement agencies: Provided, That the funds provided under this heading shall not be available for obligation or expenditure except in compliance with the procedures set forth in section 605 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act,

12 APPENDIX B: TIMELINE OF ACTIVITIES Month Activities May 2003 Develop Grant Guidance and Application Package Begin outreach to State and local public safety and government organizations June 2003 Selection of Applicants Federal Register Notice of Funds Availability Distribute Grant Guidance and Application Package to applicants July 2003 Applicants Submit Grant Applications August 2003 Review Award Submissions through Peer Review Process September 2003 Award Grants Begin Technical Assistance and Monitoring of Grants 11

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