REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS
Policy Academy on Enhancing Emergency Communications Interoperability
Purpose: To assist states in developing strategies for improving the interoperability of emergency communications.
Opportunities Provided: Five competitively selected state teams will: (1) participate in two, two-day meetings where they will review the latest research on best practices in interoperable communications, identify strategies for overcoming barriers to statewide implementation of their interoperable plans, and explore opportunities for enhancing collaboration between governors’ offices and statewide interoperable coordinators; (2) receive technical assistance in convening a stakeholder workshop to refine recommendations they develop during the kickoff summit; and (3) present those recommendations and a plan of action to their governor. In addition, selected states will be eligible to receive up to $15,000 in funding to support planning efforts.
Proposals Due: Monday, March 7, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. ET
Bidder’s Conference Call: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. ET
Call-in Number: 855-240-2575
Selection Announcement: Week of March 14, 2016
Project Period: April 2016 – September 2016
First Policy Academy Meeting: April/May 2016
Second Policy Academy Meeting: August/September 2016
Eligibility: States, commonwealths and territories with full NGA membership benefits.
NGA Center Contacts: Timothy Blute, Senior Policy Analyst, Homeland Security and Public Safety Division
(202) 624-7854 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Garcia, Policy Analyst, Homeland Security and Public Safety Division
(202) 624-5312 or email@example.com
Through this policy academy, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), will assist five states in developing strategies for improving emergency communications interoperability.
The term “interoperable communications” refers to the ability of federal, state, and local emergency responders to communicate with each other by voice, data, and video on demand, in real-time, and as authorized. Interoperable communications is key to an effective emergency response, yet fire, police, and other public safety entities in most jurisdictions continue to rely on communications systems and equipment that are often incompatible. Such limitations make interoperability one of the most critical issues facing public safety today. With the buildout of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, continued use of land mobile radio, and deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1 systems in the next decade, the need for interoperability will continue to be of critical importance.
A variety of challenges exist to achieving interoperability. Technical and financial limitations can be obstacles. Others include those related to policy and governance. For example, without a formalized, statewide governance structure in place, it can be difficult to coordinate a unified approach across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions.
Through the Policy Academy on Enhancing Emergency Communications Interoperability, the NGA Center, in partnership with OEC, aims to assist states in addressing challenges to achieving interoperability. The Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), within the Department of Homeland Security partners with public safety personnel at all levels of government to lead the nationwide effort to improve emergency communications capabilities. The Policy and Planning Branch advises OEC and DHS leadership through policy options, strategic planning initiatives, research projects, and targeted outreach activities to support identified mission priorities.
POLICY ACADEMY DESCRIPTION
An NGA Center policy academy is a highly interactive process designed to assist a select number of states in developing and implementing action plans for addressing complex public policy challenges. The policy academy process and lessons learned from it are also intended to serve as a catalyst for adoption of best practices in all states.
Through the Policy Academy on Enhancing Emergency Communications Interoperability, up to five states will be competitively selected to participate in a set of activities designed to help them develop or strengthen interoperability plans to enhance governance capacities at the state level for public safety emergency communications interoperability. State team members will receive guidance and technical assistance from NGA Center staff and faculty experts—such as consultants from the private sector, research organizations, academia, and the federal government—to help them identify strategies for overcoming barriers to statewide implementation of those plans.
Policy Academy Teams. Each participating state will assemble a high-level multidisciplinary “core” team of five state representatives. The team should be designated by the governor’s office and include senior level advisors, such as the chief information officer, chief information security officer, state point of contact, statewide interoperability coordinator, homeland security advisors, legislators, law enforcement agency representatives, or others with responsibilities related to managing the state’s interoperable communication systems.
Selected states will:
Participate in two, two-day policy academy meetings with other policy academy states;
Convene an in-state workshop facilitated by NGA Center staff;
Develop and begin to implement interoperable emergency communications plans and systems;
Educate governors and their key policy staff on the critical importance of pursuing aggressive improvements to the state-level governance structures that inform and direct the deployment and utilization of emergency communications interoperability among public safety and emergency services agencies;
Participate in regular conference calls and other networking activities;
Receive customized ongoing technical assistance from NGA Center staff and faculty experts; and
Receive up to $15,000 in funding to support planning and convening experts within their state. Continue reading