Guest Blog Post by Chief (Ret.) Harlin R. McEwen, Chairman, Public Safety Advisory Committee
At the request of FirstNet, FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) launched two Task Teams in early 2016 to address critical topics related to the eventual deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN): Identity, Credential and Access Management (ICAM) and Local Control. Captain Chris Lombard from the Interagency Board chaired the ICAM Task Team, while Barry Fraser from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors chaired the Local Control Task Team.
I am pleased to report that, under their leadership, the teams have completed their work on these issues, and the PSAC has delivered their findings to FirstNet. Below are brief summaries of the respective task teams’ findings:
- ICAM: The Task Team created a preliminary ICAM framework that describes different levels of interoperability enabled by efficient ICAM processes. This initial stage develops a framework for public safety agencies and users to gain access to the FirstNet Network. The Task Team recommended that the barrier to entry into this initial stage for agencies and public safety users be kept low by leveraging existing public safety information security policies and procedures. As the ICAM framework progresses to the later stages, resulting in greater access to public safety data, the responsibilities of the agencies and the public safety users increase. The final stage results in an interoperable federated identity solution for public safety. The Task Team believes this solution incorporates the best elements of existing ICAM methodologies and the highest level of interoperability between them. The Task Team understands that an interoperable ICAM solution for public safety is an extremely complicated undertaking, and has encouraged FirstNet to continue engaging the PSAC throughout the creation and evolution of a FirstNet ICAM solution.
- Local Control: After aligning themselves on terminology, the Local Control Task Team created recommendations for the use of the quality of service (QoS), Priority and Preemption (QPP) Framework. This discussion on QPP governance built upon the PSAC’s Priority and Preemption Task Team’s prior work in 2015, which viewed Local Control as a way a public safety agency or user would interact with the QPP Framework. The Task Team coalesced around five recommendations, including reaching consensus that “manual control of QPP should rarely, if ever, be necessary,” and “in these rare situations, it is envisioned to be coordinated with FirstNet.” The Task Team also discussed deployables, coverage and capacity expansion solutions utilizing an eNodeB, and onboarding and training best practices essential to the adoption, use and success of the NPSBN.
I commend and sincerely thank the Task Teams, the Task Team chairs and FirstNet’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for their committed and diligent work on these two complex and important topics over the past several months. The PSAC Executive Committee and I look forward to leading the PSAC to continued successful partnerships with the FirstNet Board and staff.