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WESTMINSTER, COLO – The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board held a series of open committee meetings today during which they considered a number of actions to enhance the effectiveness of the organization and to increase coordination with stakeholders on planning for the deployment of a nationwide public safety broadband network. The four committees also received a series of program updates from FirstNet senior leadership on their efforts to implement the strategic program roadmap.
The Governance and Personnel Committee Meeting approved a resolution outlining the process for selecting a General Manager (see separate release). Chairwoman Sue Swenson said FirstNet would conduct the search through a two-pronged process that includes retaining an executive search firm and using an open application process to be posted for the public on www.usajobs.gov.
In addition, FirstNet Acting General Manager TJ Kennedy provided the committee with an update on key hiring and facility developments. Mr. Kennedy said the next phase of growing the FirstNet staff would focus on hiring LTE (long term evolution) experts and outreach personnel with state, local, and public safety backgrounds. Mr. Kennedy reported that staff had begun working today in our headquarters building in Reston, Va.
The Outreach Committee adopted a resolution that recommends the FirstNet Board approve a charter for the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). FirstNet established the PSAC to assist it in carrying out its duties to design, construct, and deploy a nationwide public safety broadband network. Following the committee’s approval, the FirstNet Board will consider Resolution 59, “Defining the Roles and Responsibilities of the PSAC” at tomorrow’s meeting.
The Outreach Committee also received an update on initial consultation developments from David Buchanan, who is Director of State Consultation, and a stakeholder briefing from Amanda Hilliard, who is Director of Outreach. She reviewed key accomplishments – including more than 50 speaking engagements between March and May of this year – and discussed planned activities for coordinating with the PSAC and state, local, tribal, and federal entities.
The FirstNet Technology Committee received a briefing from Chief Technical Officer Ali Afrashteh on his efforts to build up the technical team as well as FirstNet’s support for the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Program. Deputy CTO Jeff Bratcher provided an overview of current public safety LTE deployments in Los Angeles; New Mexico; New Jersey; Harris County (Texas); and Adams County (Colo). Mr. Bratcher said FirstNet would work to share lessons learned between the projects and FirstNet to inform the deployment of a nationwide public safety broadband network.
FirstNet Chief Financial Officer Randy Lyon briefed the Finance Committee on expenditures and outlays in key functional areas, as well as planning for the Fiscal Year 2015 budget. Chief Administrative Officer Frank Freeman III provided an update on plans to build out our permanent space in the Reston headquarters that would accommodate the planned growth in staff. Chief Information Officer Jim Gwinn briefed the committee on his efforts enhance the organization’s IT capabilities to increase internal collaboration and communication and leverage wireless technologies.
In concluding the committee meetings, FirstNet Chairwoman Sue Swenson thanked the Board members and senior leadership for focusing on the strategic elements of the program roadmap that are critical to the success of the organization and its planning for the network.
FirstNet will provide emergency responders with the first high-speed, nationwide network dedicated to public safety. The network will improve communications among local, state, regional, tribal and national emergency services personnel. FirstNet is an independent entity within the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration. FirstNet is governed by a 15-member Board appointed by Secretary of Commerce that consists of representatives from public safety, government, and the wireless industry.