Focusing Federal Consultation Along the Southwest Border

September 13, 2016
Federal, state, local and tribal reps meet at the FirstNet Southwest Border Forum in Phoenix, AZ.
Federal, state, local and tribal reps meet at the FirstNet Southwest Border Forum in Phoenix, AZ.

By Chris Algiere, FirstNet Federal Consultation Lead   

The FirstNet Federal Border Forum (“Forum”) held in late August in Phoenix was an important next step in our efforts to consult with federal practitioners regarding the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (“Network”).  Our goal for the two-day event was two-fold:  to enhance our understanding of operations and technologies used by public safety practitioners that work in that region.  Likewise, the FirstNet team worked to provide participants with the most up-to-date and actionable information about the Network, including examples for how a future with public safety broadband can enhance their day-to-day and emergency operations. 

The Forum reflected the reality that agencies in the southwest operate in partnership across all levels of government.  Forty-plus stakeholders from the federal, state, local and tribal levels came together and expressed similar successes, questions, concerns, and challenges. 

This included representatives from the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Interior and Agriculture.  We were also pleased to be joined by state and local representatives from Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, as well as tribal representatives from the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Navajo Nation, and Tohono O’odam Nation.

Discussion topics included updates on FirstNet, agency operations along the border, and the Early Builder programs in New Mexico, Harris County and LA RICS.  We also took up many technical subjects such as Radio Access Network, devices, applications and LTE standards.

Through the breakout sessions participants were able to walk through scenarios that outlined how technology supports their mission and operations, both in the current state as well as looking forward to a future FirstNet capability. 

My genuine thanks to those that were able to take the time out of their workday schedules to join us and achieve our goals for the Forum.  I look forward to what the future holds for us all working together toward our common goals for the Network.



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