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Current environment

In the event of a national disaster

As the workshop participants worked together to clarify how telecommunications incident response management occurs in the event of a national disaster, the group agreed that the National Response Plan (NRP) would go into effect and guide their actions Under the NRP, the NCC, a part of the NCS, coordinates information sharing to the Joint Field Offices (JFO) and the State Emergency Management Offices (SEMO). For example, in a national disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina, JFO and SEMO worked together to collect and coordinate information from a variety of critical infrastructure sectors; telecommunications information would only be one area about which data is collected. The mechanism for collecting and disseminating information for all critical infrastructure (CI) sectors is dictated by the NRP. The NCS, working with colleagues in both public and private sectors, keeps the President and all necessary individuals posted regarding the response and restoration activities.

The workshop participants agreed that the roles and responsibilities as documented through the NRP provide a model for information sharing and disaster management in the event of a national incident (further details about the national and other regional collaboration models are located in Appendix 3 Current Practice Review.) The question remains, however, to what extent might a similar model be relevant when an incident was localized to either a specific geographic area or jurisdiction beneath the federal radar?

In the event of a state or regional disaster

The participants agreed that in the event of a local, regional, or state disaster, the NCS may not receive detailed information about the incident or play a role in the response. According to NCS officials, the NCS watch center tracks those local events that catch their attention; however, they are only alerted or called into action when an event is identified as threatening an asset related to national security or emergency preparedness (NSEP) In the event of a regional or localized telecommunications incident, the NCS may not mobilize their members or mobilize only for information purposes; therefore information may not be disseminated by the NCS to the many different local entities that cross the organizational sectors.