6 U.S. Code § 194 - Enhancement of public safety communications interoperability
(a) Coordination of public safety interoperable communications programs
The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce and the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, shall establish a program to enhance public safety interoperable communications at all levels of government. Such program shall—
(A) establish a comprehensive national approach to achieving public safety interoperable communications;
(C) develop, in consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies and State and local authorities, appropriate minimum capabilities for communications interoperability for Federal, State, and local public safety agencies;
(D) accelerate, in consultation with other Federal agencies, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the private sector, and nationally recognized standards organizations as appropriate, the development of national voluntary consensus standards for public safety interoperable communications, recognizing—
(E) encourage the development and implementation of flexible and open architectures incorporating, where possible, technologies that currently are commercially available, with appropriate levels of security, for short-term and long-term solutions to public safety communications interoperability;
(F) assist other Federal agencies in identifying priorities for research, development, and testing and evaluation with regard to public safety interoperable communications;
(G) identify priorities within the Department of Homeland Security for research, development, and testing and evaluation with regard to public safety interoperable communications;
(H) establish coordinated guidance for Federal grant programs for public safety interoperable communications;
(I) provide technical assistance to State and local public safety agencies regarding planning, acquisition strategies, interoperability architectures, training, and other functions necessary to achieve public safety communications interoperability;
(J) develop and disseminate best practices to improve public safety communications interoperability; and
(2) Office for Interoperability and Compatibility
(A) Establishment of Office
The Secretary may establish an Office for Interoperability and Compatibility within the Directorate of Science and Technology to carry out this subsection.
(3) Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this subsection—
Not later than 120 days after December 17, 2004, the Secretary shall report to the Congress on Department of Homeland Security plans for accelerating the development of national voluntary consensus standards for public safety interoperable communications, a schedule of milestones for such development, and achievements of such development.
(c) International interoperability
Not later than 18 months after December 17, 2004, the President shall establish a mechanism for coordinating cross-border interoperability issues between—
(e) Multiyear interoperability grants
(1) Multiyear commitments
In awarding grants to any State, region, local government, or Indian tribe for the purposes of enhancing interoperable communications capabilities for emergency response providers, the Secretary may commit to obligate Federal assistance beyond the current fiscal year, subject to the limitations and restrictions in this subsection.
(3) Letters of intent
Pursuant to paragraph (1), the Secretary may issue a letter of intent to an applicant committing to obligate from future budget authority an amount, not more than the Federal Government’s share of the project’s cost, for an interoperability communications project (including interest costs and costs of formulating the project).
A letter of intent under this paragraph shall establish a schedule under which the Secretary will reimburse the applicant for the Federal Government’s share of the project’s costs, as amounts become available, if the applicant, after the Secretary issues the letter, carries out the project before receiving amounts under a grant issued by the Secretary.
(C) Notice to Secretary
An applicant that is issued a letter of intent under this subsection shall notify the Secretary of the applicant’s intent to carry out a project pursuant to the letter before the project begins.
(D) Notice to Congress
The Secretary shall transmit a written notification to the Congress no later than 3 days before the issuance of a letter of intent under this section.
A letter of intent issued under this section is not an obligation of the Government under section 1501 of title 31 and is not deemed to be an administrative commitment for financing. An obligation or administrative commitment may be made only as amounts are provided in authorization and appropriations laws.
(F) Statutory construction
Nothing in this subsection shall be construed—
(i) to prohibit the obligation of amounts pursuant to a letter of intent under this subsection in the same fiscal year as the letter of intent is issued; or
(f) Interoperable communications plans
Any applicant requesting funding assistance from the Secretary for interoperable communications for emergency response providers shall submit an Interoperable Communications Plan to the Secretary for approval. Such a plan shall—
(1) describe the current state of communications interoperability in the applicable jurisdictions among Federal, State, and local emergency response providers and other relevant private resources;
(2) describe the available and planned use of public safety frequency spectrum and resources for interoperable communications within such jurisdictions;
(3) describe how the planned use of spectrum and resources for interoperable communications is compatible with surrounding capabilities and interoperable communications plans of Federal, State, and local governmental entities, military installations, foreign governments, critical infrastructure, and other relevant entities;
(4) include a 5-year plan for the dedication of Federal, State, and local government and private resources to achieve a consistent, secure, and effective interoperable communications system, including planning, system design and engineering, testing and technology development, procurement and installation, training, and operations and maintenance;
(5) describe how such 5-year plan meets or exceeds any applicable standards and grant requirements established by the Secretary;
(6) include information on the governance structure used to develop the plan, including such information about all agencies and organizations that participated in developing the plan and the scope and timeframe of the plan; and
In this section:
(1) Interoperable communications
The term “interoperable communications” means the ability of emergency response providers and relevant Federal, State, and local government agencies to communicate with each other as necessary, through a dedicated public safety network utilizing information technology systems and radio communications systems, and to exchange voice, data, and video with one another on demand, in real time, as necessary.
(2) Emergency response providers
The term “emergency response providers” has the meaning that term has under section 101 of this title.
(i) Sense of Congress regarding interoperable communications
The Congress finds that—
(A) many first responders working in the same jurisdiction or in different jurisdictions cannot effectively and efficiently communicate with one another; and
(2) Sense of Congress
It is the sense of Congress that interoperable emergency communications systems and radios should continue to be deployed as soon as practicable for use by the first responder community, and that upgraded and new digital communications systems and new digital radios must meet prevailing national, voluntary consensus standards for interoperability.
 See References in Text note below.
Source(Pub. L. 108–458, title VII, § 7303,Dec. 17, 2004, 118 Stat. 3843; Pub. L. 110–53, title III, § 301(c),Aug. 3, 2007, 121 Stat. 299.)
References in Text
Section 321 of this title, referred to in subsec. (a)(2)(B)(ii), was in the original a reference to section 510 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as added by section 7303(d) ofPub. L. 108–458, which was repealed by Pub. L. 109–295, title VI, § 611(5),Oct. 4, 2006, 120 Stat. 1395.
Section is comprised of section 7303 ofPub. L. 108–458. Subsec. (d) ofsection 7303 of Pub. L. 108–458enacted section 321 of this title. Subsec. (h) ofsection 7303 of Pub. L. 108–458amended sections 238 and 312 of this title.
Section was enacted as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, and also as part of the 9/11 Commission Implementation Act of 2004, and not as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 which comprises this chapter.
Section 301(c) ofPub. L. 110–53, which directed the amendment of section 7303 of the “Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004”, was executed to this section, which is section 7303 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, to reflect the probable intent of Congress. See 2007 Amendment notes below.
2007—Subsec. (f)(6), (7). Pub. L. 110–53, § 301(c)(1), added pars. (6) and (7). See Codification note above.
Subsec. (g)(1). Pub. L. 110–53, § 301(c)(2), substituted “and video” for “or video”. See Codification note above.
Pub. L. 108–458, title VII, § 7308,Dec. 17, 2004, 118 Stat. 3849, provided that: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act [see Tables for classification], this subtitle [subtitle C (§§ 7301–7308) of title VII of Pub. L. 108–458, enacting this section and section 321 of this title, amending sections 238 and 312 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section and section 5196 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare] shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act [Dec. 17, 2004].”
Transfer of Functions
For transfer of the SAFECOM Program, excluding elements related to research, development, testing, and evaluation and standards, to the Director for Emergency Communications, see section 571 (d)(1) of this title.
Cross Border Interoperability Reports
“(a) In General.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Aug. 3, 2007], the Federal Communications Commission, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications, the Office of Management of [sic] Budget, and the Department of State shall report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce on—
“(1) the status of the mechanism established by the President under section 7303(c) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (6 U.S.C. 194 (c)) for coordinating cross border interoperability issues between—
“(A) the United States and Canada; and
“(B) the United States and Mexico;
“(2) the status of treaty negotiations with Canada and Mexico regarding the coordination of the re-banding of 800 megahertz radios, as required under the final rule of the Federal Communication Commission in the ‘Private Land Mobile Services; 800 MHz Public Safety Interface Proceeding’ (WT Docket No. 02–55; ET Docket No. 00–258; ET Docket No. 95–18, RM–9498; RM–10024; FCC 04–168) including the status of any outstanding issues in the negotiations between—
“(A) the United States and Canada; and
“(B) the United States and Mexico;
“(3) communications between the Commission and the Department of State over possible amendments to the bilateral legal agreements and protocols that govern the coordination process for license applications seeking to use channels and frequencies above Line A;
“(4) the annual rejection rate for the last 5 years by the United States of applications for new channels and frequencies by Canadian private and public entities; and
“(5) any additional procedures and mechanisms that can be taken by the Commission to decrease the rejection rate for applications by United States private and public entities seeking licenses to use channels and frequencies above Line A.
“(b) Updated Reports to Be Filed on the Status of Treaty of [sic] Negotiations.—The Federal Communications Commission, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Management of Budget, and the Department of State shall continually provide updated reports to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives on the status of treaty negotiations under subsection (a)(2) until the appropriate United States treaty has been revised with each of—
“(1) Canada; and
“(c) International Negotiations To Remedy Situation.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Aug. 3, 2007], the Secretary of the Department of State shall report to Congress on—
“(1) the current process for considering applications by Canada for frequencies and channels by United States communities above Line A;
“(2) the status of current negotiations to reform and revise such process;
“(3) the estimated date of conclusion for such negotiations;
“(4) whether the current process allows for automatic denials or dismissals of initial applications by the Government of Canada, and whether such denials or dismissals are currently occurring; and
“(5) communications between the Department of State and the Federal Communications Commission pursuant to subsection (a)(3).”
Submission of Reports to Appropriate Congressional Committees
Pub. L. 110–53, title XXII, § 2205,Aug. 3, 2007, 121 Stat. 543, provided that: “In addition to the committees specifically enumerated to receive reports under this title [enacting provisions set out as note under this section, section 701 of this title, and section 247d–3a of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, and amending provisions set out as a note under section 309 of Title 47, Telecommunications], any report transmitted under the provisions of this title shall also be transmitted to the appropriate congressional committees (as defined in section 2(2) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101 (2))).”
Regional Model Strategic Plan Pilot Projects
Pub. L. 108–458, title VII, § 7304,Dec. 17, 2004, 118 Stat. 3847, directed the Secretary of Homeland Security, not later than 90 days after Dec. 17, 2004, to establish not fewer than 2 pilot projects in high threat urban areas or regions likely to implement a national model strategic plan in order to develop a regional strategic plan to foster interagency communication and coordinate the gathering of all Federal, State, and local first responders in that area, consistent with the national strategic plan developed by the Department of Homeland Security, and to submit to Congress an interim report regarding the progress of the interagency communications pilot projects 6 months after Dec. 17, 2004, and a final report 18 months after Dec. 17, 2004.