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Monday, September 24, 2012

National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications: A Summary of Executive Order 13618

Shawn Reese
Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy

In the event of a national security crisis or disaster, federal, state, local, and territorial government and private sector communications are important. National security and emergency preparedness communication systems include landline, wireless, broadcast and cable television, radio, public safety systems, satellite communications, and the Internet. For instance, federal national security and emergency preparedness communications programs include the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service, Wireless Priority Service, and classified messaging related to the Continuity of Government Condition. Reliable and secure telecommunications systems are necessary to effectively manage national security incidents and emergencies.

On July 6, 2012, President Barrack Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13618 which addresses the federal government’s need and responsibility to communicate during national security and emergency situations and crises by assigning federal national security and emergency preparedness communications functions. EO 13618 is a continuation of older executive orders issued by other presidents and is related to the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. §606). This executive order, however, changes federal national security and emergency preparedness communications functions by dissolving the National Communications System, establishing an executive committee to oversee federal national security and emergency preparedness communications functions, establishing a programs office within the Department of Homeland Security to assist the executive committee, and assigning specific responsibilities to federal government entities. This report provides a summary of EO 13618 provisions, and a brief discussion of its salient points.

Date of Report: September 19, 2012
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: R42740
Price: $29.95

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