By Amanda Hilliard, Director of Outreach
Earlier this week, the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) held its second in-person meeting of 2014. Thirty-one PSAC members attended the meeting, along with members of the FirstNet Board and its senior management team and staff. We were pleased to have representatives from the Public Safety Communications Research Program (PSCR) and the Department of Homeland Security in attendance, too.
During the opening, the Committee acknowledged the passing of PSAC Executive Committee member Bill McCammon and recognized the significant contributions he made to the public safety community throughout his career.
FirstNet’s Acting General Manager TJ Kennedy followed with an update on FirstNet’s Strategic Program Roadmap. TJ said FirstNet’s primary areas of focus are developing a comprehensive Request for Proposal for the network and executing consultations with all 56 states and territories. He provided a brief update on results from the recent Public Notice and Request for Information and thanked the PSAC member organizations that participated in the process. TJ also discussed the eight state and territorial consultation meetings that have been executed to date.
Later, PSAC Chairman Harlin McEwen and FirstNet Deputy Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Jeff Bratcher provided updates on the Identity, Credential, and Access Management (ICAM) National Strategy Summit (ICAM Summit) held in early October. The ICAM Summit examined how current ICAM programs identify and verify individuals, approve credentials, and authorize access to systems or networks. A formal report from the ICAM Summit with recommendations is forthcoming.
The rest of the morning was spent discussing Priority and Quality of Service (QoS), which will be a primary focus for the PSAC’s work in the coming year. Tracy McElvaney from PSCR provided an excellent training session on LTE and QoS/Priority during which he introduced key aspects for consideration as the PSAC begins to tackle this issue. This led to significant dialogue among PSAC members.
The afternoon sessions focused on public safety grade and took a deeper dive on FirstNet’s consultation and outreach activities. Andy Merson, who is supporting the FirstNet CTO team, discussed FirstNet’s efforts to understand existing and future hardening guidelines, technology, and the state of infrastructure as reviewed in the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) Defining Public Safety Grade Systems and Facilities Report. This topic is another key area in which FirstNet is seeking advice and recommendations from the PSAC in the coming year.
I wrapped up the meeting with a more detailed update on the state consultation meetings and how our lessons to date will be informing the draft RFP. I also discussed our outreach accomplishments for the past quarter and our plans for the coming year.
I want to thank PSAC Chairman Harlin McEwen for his work in preparing and running the meeting, as well as our speakers and FirstNet Associations Manager Vicki Lee for coordinating the meeting. FirstNet looks forward to working with PSAC in the coming year and getting its feedback in four key areas – early builder lessons learned, tribal engagement strategies, priority and pre-emption, and public safety grade.