FY 2020 SAFECOM Guidance On Emergency Communications Grants

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SAFECOM Guidance onEmergency CommunicationsGrantsFiscal Year 2020U.S. Department of Homeland SecurityCybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

FY 2020 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications GrantsA Message to StakeholdersOn behalf of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), I am releasing the Fiscal Year2020 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants (SAFECOM Guidance). Thisdocument is updated annually to provide current information on emergency communications policies,eligible costs, best practices, and technical standards for state, local, tribal, and territorial grant recipientsinvesting federal funds in emergency communications projects.The SAFECOM Guidance aligns with the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), recentlyupdated in 2019, which emphasizes the need to enhance governance structures, plans, and protocols thatenable the emergency response community to communicate and share information under all circumstances.It aims to maximize the use of all communications capabilities available to public safety officials—voice,video, and data—and to ensure the security of data and information exchange. To accomplish this, grantrecipients must engage the whole community in preparedness activities. Similarly, the SAFECOMGuidance addresses the rapidly evolving emergency communications ecosystem and encourages grantrecipients to support the concepts and recommendations within the NECP.The Administration, Office of Management and Budget, and federal grant program offices recognize theSAFECOM Guidance as the primary guidance on emergency communications grants. Since 2015, theDepartment of Homeland Security has required its grant recipients investing in emergency communicationsto comply with SAFECOM Guidance. All grant applicants are encouraged to coordinate with their statewidegovernance bodies and emergency communications leaders (e.g., Statewide Interoperability Coordinators)to ensure projects support the state, local, tribal, or territory’s strategy to improve interoperable emergencycommunications. In addition, grant applicants should work with public and private entities, and acrossjurisdictions and disciplines, to assess needs, plan projects, coordinate resources, and improve responsethrough cross-training and joint exercises. These coordination efforts are important to ensureinteroperability remains a top priority.The SAFECOM Guidance encourages grant applicants to participate, support, and invest in planningactivities that will help states or territories prepare for deployment of new emergency communicationssystems or technologies. At the same time, there is a need to sustain current land mobile radio (LMR)systems into the foreseeable future. Grant recipients should continue enhancing governance and leadership,developing plans and procedures, conducting training and exercises, and investing in standards-basedequipment to sustain LMR capabilities, while concurrently planning for the integration and deployment ofnew technologies. Grant recipients must also consider cybersecurity risks across all capabilities whenplanning operable, interoperable, and continuity of communications.As in previous years, CISA developed the SAFECOM Guidance in partnership with SAFECOM and theNational Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators. CISA also consulted federal partners and theEmergency Communications Preparedness Center to ensure emergency communications policies arecoordinated and consistent across the Federal Government. Grant applicants are encouraged to referencethis document when developing emergency communications investments for federal funding, and to directany questions to my office at ECD@cisa.dhs.gov.Vincent DeLaurentisActing Assistant Director for Emergency CommunicationsCybersecurity and Infrastructure Security AgencyU.S. Department of Homeland Security2

FY 2020 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications GrantsContentsA Message to Stakeholders . 2Contents . 31. Introduction . 41.1 Purpose of SAFECOM Guidance . 41.2 Report Methodology . 51.3 Use of SAFECOM Guidance . 61.4 Key Changes and Updates . 82. Emergency Communications Priorities . 92.1 Priority 1: Governance and Leadership . 92.2 Priority 2: Planning and Procedures . 102.3 Priority 3: Training, Exercises, and Evaluation . 122.4 Priority 4: Activities that Enhance Communications Coordination. 132.5 Priority 5: Standards-based Technology and Infrastructure. 142.6 Priority 6: Cybersecurity . 163. Before Applying . 173.1 Review the NECP and SCIP . 173.2 Coordinate with Statewide Emergency Communications Leaders . 173.3 Recognize Changes in the Emergency Communications Ecosystem . 173.4 Understand Federal Grant Requirements and Restrictions . 234. Eligible Activities . 264.1 Personnel. 264.2 Planning and Organization. 274.3. Training. 304.4 Exercises . 314.5 Equipment . 325. Emergency Communications Systems and Capabilities . 366. Grants Management Best Practices . 377. Funding Sources . 38Appendix A – Acronym List. A-1Appendix B – Technology and Equipment Standards and Resources . B-1Appendix C – Emergency Communications Resources . C-1Appendix D – Compliance Requirements for DHS Grants . D-13

FY 2020 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants1.IntroductionThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is mandated to administer responsibilities and authorities relatingto the SAFECOM Program. Within DHS, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) isresponsible for developing coordinated guidance for federal grant programs for public safety communications. 1As a result, CISA develops the annual SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants(SAFECOM Guidance) as a reference guide for entities applying for federal financial assistance for emergencycommunications projects. While only entities funding emergency communications projects with DHS grantfunding are required to comply with SAFECOM Guidance (see Appendix D), all entities are highly encouragedto follow the recommendations within this document to ensure interoperable, resilient, and fully effectivecommunications.The SAFECOM Guidance provides general information on eligible activities, technical standards, and otherterms and conditions that are common to most federal emergency communications grants. 2 It aims to ensurethat policies and standards across federal grant programs provide a consistent approach to improvingemergency communications nationwide. The SAFECOM Guidance achieves this consistency by aligningrecommendations with the Nation’s strategic plan for emergency communications, entitled the NationalEmergency Communications Plan (NECP). 3SAFECOM is a public safety-driven program sponsored by CISA, which develops policy, guidance, andfuture efforts by drawing on SAFECOM member expertise and recommendations. The DHS Science andTechnology Directorate also supports SAFECOM-related research, development, testing, evaluation, as wellas the acceleration of standards. SAFECOM works to build partnerships among all levels of government,linking the strategic planning, technical support, and implementation needs of the emergency responsecommunity with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, to improve communications.Additionally, CISA consulted members of the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center, whichcoordinates roles and activities of agencies across the Federal Government to improve interoperable publicsafety and emergency response communications. It consists of 14 federal departments and agenciesrepresenting the government’s broad role in improving coordination of emergency communications efforts,including information sharing, planning, regulation, policy, operations, grants, and technical assistance.Together, SAFECOM members and federal partners coordinate on emergency communications policy andstandards to ensure projects are compatible, interoperable, and most importantly, meet needs of end-users.1.1Purpose of SAFECOM GuidanceThe SAFECOM Guidance provides guidance to grant recipients 4 on: Recommendations for planning, coordinating, and implementing projectsEmergency communications activities that can be funded through federal grantsBest practices, policies, and technical standards that help to improve interoperabilityResources to help grant recipients comply with technical standards and grant requirements6 U.S.C. § 571(c)(2) and 6 U.S.C. § 574.Federal financial assistance includes grants, loans, cooperative agreements, and other funds provided by theFederal Government. For this document, these terms are used interchangeably unless otherwise indicated.3For more information on the NECP, see: https://www.cisa.gov/necp.4In accordance with Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 200, the terms “recipient” and “sub-recipient”is defined as a non-federal entity that receives a federal award directly from a federal awarding agency to carry outan activity under a federal program.124

FY 2020 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications GrantsThe SAFECOM Guidance is designed to promote and align with the national vision established in theNECP. CISA published a second update to the NECP in September 2019 that builds upon revisions madein 2014, while also positioning the NECP to maintain relevance into the future. Updates to the NECP goalsand objectives aim to enhance emergency communications capabilities at all levels of government incoordination with the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and communities across the Nation.The plan’s success relies on the whole community embracing the NECP goals and objectives, and mostimportantly implementing them. Critical components for advancing emergency communications fall underthree national priorities: Enhance effective governance across partners with a stake in emergency communications,embracing a shared responsibility of the whole community from traditional emergency respondersand supporting entities to the citizens servedAddress interoperability challenges posed by rapid technology advancements and increasedinformation sharing, ensuring the most critical information gets to the right people at the right timeBuild resilient and secure emergency communications systems to reduce cybersecurity threatsand vulnerabilitiesRecommendations within the SAFECOM Guidance are intended to help state, local, tribal, and territorialstakeholders develop projects that meet critical emergency communications needs defined in the NECPand their Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP). 5 Best practices and technical standardslocated within the SAFECOM Guidance help ensure federally-funded investments are interoperable, fullyeffective and reliable, and support national policies. However, not all guidance is applicable to all grantprograms. Grants funding emergency communications are administered by numerous federal agencies andare subject to various statutory and programmatic requirements. As a result, grant applicants andrecipients should review specific grant guidance carefully to ensure their proposed activities are eligible,and all standards, terms, and conditions required by the program are met. 61.2Report MethodologyCISA consulted with local, state, and federal partners to develop the SAFECOM Guidance, including: Emergency Communications Preparedness Center (ECPC) Grants Focus Group 7Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB)SAFECOM 8 and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC)U.S. Department of Commerceo First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority)o National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)o National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)U.S. Department of Homeland Securityo Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)o Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)o Science and Technology Directorate, Office for Interoperability and CompatibilityU.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice ProgramsU.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)For information on SCIPs, see: operability-plans.For the purposes of this document, “grant guidance” may include Notices of Funding Opportunity, Grant Notices,Grant Applications, and other formal notices of grants and federal financial assistance programs.7The ECPC Grants Focus Group is comprised of grant officers, program administrators, and communicationsexperts representing the 14 federal agencies that participate in the ECPC.8For a list of SAFECOM members, see: http://www.dhs.gov/safecom/membership.565

FY 2020 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants1.3Use of SAFECOM GuidanceThe SAFECOM Guidance should be used during planning, development, and implementation ofemergency communications projects and in conjunction with other planning documents. Before proposingprojects for funding, prospective applicants are encouraged to read the NECP, federal and statepreparedness documents such as statewide plans and reports, and the SAFECOM Guidance to ensureprojects support federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial plans for improving emergency communications.Table 1 provides a list of essential resources available to recipients.Table 1. Essential Resources for Emergency Communications Grant OMWebsiteDescriptionsThe NECP is the Nation’s strategic plan that promotes communication and informationsharing across all levels of government, jurisdictions, disciplines, and organizations forall threats and hazards, as needed and when authorized. It provides information andguidance to those that plan for, coordinate, invest in, and use communications tosupport response operations. Grant applicants are encouraged to read the NECP tounderstand the national strategy, and to ensure investments support the goals andobjectives. The NECP is available at: https://www.cisa.gov/necp.The SCIP contains the state, territory, or tribal government’s strategy to improveemergency communications. States and territories were required to develop and submita SCIP to DHS by December 2008 and required to submit reports annually on theprogress of the state or territory in implementing its SCIP. Many federal grants fundingemergency communications require grant applicants to align projects to needs identifiedin SCIPs. Grant recipients and sub-recipients should review the SCIP for theirstate/territory and work with their Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC) toensure investments support statewide plans to improve communications. To find yourstate’s SCIP, please contact your SWIC. Contact information for SWICs can be found onthe NCSWIC membership page: https://www.dhs.gov/safecom/ncswic-membership.The SAFECOM website provides information and resources for public safety agenciesdeveloping emergency communications projects. For the most recent SAFECOMGuidance and list of grants funding emergency communications, see the SAFECOMwebsite at: https://www.dhs.gov/safecom/funding.IPAWS WebsiteThis website contains information on IPAWS’s capabilities, who can use IPAWS to sendalerts and warnings, and organizations that work with the IPAWS ProgramManagement Office to support public alerts and warnings. IPAWS is accessed throughsoftware that meets IPAWS system requirements. There is no cost to send messagesthrough IPAWS, although there may be costs associated with acquiring compatible alertorigination software. Grant recipients are encouraged to invest in alerting software.IPAWS is not mandatory and does not replace existing methods of alerting, but insteadcomplements existing systems and offers new capabilities to deliver timely andactionable alerts. See the IPAWS website at: g-system and information for alerting authorities e ofManagementand Budget(OMB) GrantsCircularsFederal awards must adhere to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, CostPrinciples, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards tle2-vol1/CFR-2014-title2-vol1-part200.Grant applicants should reference specific Notices of Funding Opportunity to determineapplicable requirements at: https://www.grants.gov. Additional information is on theChief Financial Officers Council website at: https://cfo.gov/grants.6

FY 2020 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications rDescriptionsStates, territories, and tribal governments are encouraged to designate a full-time SWICwho has the authority and resources to actively i

FY 2020 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants . 5 . The SAFECOM Guidance is designed to promote and align with the national vision established in the NECP. CISA published a second update to the NECP in September 2019 that builds upon revisions made

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