REPOST: [coldwarcomms] NAWAS refurbishment and Digital EAS via public TV
----- Original Message -----
From: "jmgreene83" <jmgreene83@...>
Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2006 11:16 PM
Subject: [coldwarcomms] NAWAS refurbishment and Digital EAS via public TV
Two items spotted in Federal Computer Week:
1) The National Warning System is a bit under the weather -
DHS wants a contractor to refurbish the 24-hour emergency
telephone network that links the National Warning System with
governors' offices and emergency officials in 50 states. The system
is operated by FEMA at its Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center
FEMA intends to negotiate with Communications Laboratories, Inc.
of Melbourne, Florida to replace the equipment, but also wants other
qualified contractors to offer descriptions of their services and
pricing within 15 days. The agency said it would decide whether to
seek competitive bids for the project ater those proposals are
The warning system was developed in the 1950s so that the federal
government would have immediate voice communications with governors
and othr nonmilitary officials in case of a nuclear attack. It has
since evolved to provide warnings of terrorism attacks, severe
weather, natural disasters, and other incidents.
2) Public TV enlisted for alert system -
Most people living in the Gulf Coast region prbably heard of
Hurricane Katrina's approach from the media. But once the hurricane
struck, silencing many TV and radio transmitters, emergency alerts
about area flooding, evacuation routes, and aid were sporadic.
...The 2006 hurricane season may be different. Nine hurricane-
threatened states are implementing DHS's new Digital Emergency Alert
System in a pilot project this summer, sponsored with public
The pilot relies on a new digital system intended to upgrade and
expand the nation's Emergency Alert System that dates back at least
four decades. The new system would offer more capablities than the
patchwork of technologies and procedures used now to distribute
alerts in states and localities.
The new system uses public TV transmitters to digitally broadcast
emergency alerts. Cell phones, pagers, e-mail applications and
devices, and other broadcasters are among the systems and tools that
can receive and instantly retransmit the system's wireless signals.
The technology complies with the Common Alerting Protocol, an XML
standard approved by the Organization for the Advancement of
Structured Information Standards and endorsed by DHS.
The project in the hurricane belt began in July and is expected
to begin deployment this fall, said Edward Czarnecki, VP of Gov't
solutions for SpectraRep Inc of Chantilly, Va., the company selected
by the Association of Public Television to provide integration and
project management services for the digital alert system.
The digital broadcasting technology has been proven to work for
transmitting emergency messages in tests DHS did in the Washington
area. "This is a fully operational system that works," said
Work is being done, Czarenecki said, to link the alerts with cell
phone companies, Internet service providers, and other
telecommunications and IT service providers to relay the alerts
directly to cell phones, e-mail, pagers, etc.
Many legacy IT systems can receive alerts but are not fully
compatible with the Common Alerting Protocol, he said.