The telecommunications infrastructure of the United States is large, organizationally bureaucratic, and vulnerable. Yet, it is the means by which the U.S. facilitates its dominant forms of strategic power, specifically a thriving economy and an unparalleled military. It is literally the backbone of the Information Age. Is this critical infrastructure capable of meeting the demand being placed upon it? What organizations are responsible for it? What are the vulnerabilities? And do the answers to these questions have national security implications? This paper examines the national telecommunications infrastructure of the United States and argues that the size and bureaucratic nature of this infrastructure exposes the United States to vulnerabilities and inefficiencies that may impact national security. It evaluates efforts to establish an infrastructure capable of meeting the intent of Presidential Directives and legislation regarding a secure, robust, and interoperable national communications infrastructure. It looks specifically at Department of Defense organizations involved with this effort and examines recent shifts in oversight of the National Communications System (NCS) from the Department of Defense (DOD) to the newly established Office of Homeland Security.
Technological advances have led to an increasing convergence of previously separate networks used to transmit voice and data commun. Such interconnectivity poses significant challenges to our nation¿s ability to respond to major disruptions. Two oper. centers -- managed by the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) -- plan for and monitor disruptions on voice and data networks. In Sept. 2007, a DHS task force made 3 recommendations toward establishing an integrated operations center that DHS agreed to adopt. To determine the status of efforts to establish this center, this report reviewed documentation, interviewed relevant DHS and private sector officials, and reviewed laws and policies to identify DHS¿s responsibilities in addressing convergence. Illus.
Emergency communication systems by National Communications System (U.S.)