[SBE] My personal take on yesterday's EAS Summit...
rar01 at mac.com
Tue May 20 09:04:44 EDT 2008
The following comes from notes I took during the Summit. It does not
cover the meeting we had at NAB HQ. after where the attendees agreed
to support a meeting in Chicago on July 10 where manufacturers would
sign off on a CAP EAS Profile they would all follow. More on that
later. I fully support this meeting and intent, as long as we can
assure that ALL manufacturers are invited and have an opportunity to
have their say in the time leading up to the meeting. This pro-active
action was a result of mutual frustration felt by all who attended the
morning Summit meeting.
REMARKS ON THE SUMMIT ITSELF:
Opening remarks were made by Derek Poarch, Chief, FCC's Public Safety
and Homeland Security Bureau. Noted that representatives of the
Canadian government were present. He introduced FCC Chairman Martin
who made some generalized comments about making sure that EAS evolved
to a true 24/7 warning system employing CAP. He hoped for a "fruitful
exchange" for the Summit. He left soon after making his remarks.
Commissioner Tate pretaped remarks centering on her concerns for
better warnings for campus emergencies. She has a daughter in college
who travels roads near the recent Virginia State tragic event. She
wants us to have a "wold class" EAS, whatever that means.
Commissioner McDowell had taped remarks that were pretty bland, but
Tom Beers opened Panel One saying that the goal should be maintenance
of the current EAS and a transition to an enhanced system using the
"portal" of CAP 1.1. Interesting use of the word, "portal" since
that's close to the nickname for the building the FCC is currently
housed in, The Portals.
Poarch introduced Ann Arnold who recounted her bad experience in Texas
as SECC Chair and prior to that with EBS with a Department of Safety
that simply did not want to get involved with making emergency public
information work. She bluntly said that most of her problems, and the
problems we all face, stem from no federal agency taking
responsibility to bring the "locals" in.
Next was Dale Gehman. He recounted how Amber helped EAS. He also said
that he is seeing a lot of non-compliant EAS issues in his
inspections. For one, he mentioned that clocks in EAS devices were off
63% of the time. He said that future devices must tie in to clock
updates. He mentioned that FIPS never was a good geo-targeting method
and that CAP will allow for specific geo-targeting. He pointed out
that CAP will allow for text-to-voice that will get rid of the SAME
"canned" scrolled messages being at odds with audio messages. He
talked about costs and that some delays in implementing enhanced EAS
will be worth it if the result is a system that is truly better than
what we have now.
Steve Johnson spoke on behalf of the cable industry and outlined some
the challenges that cable face to implement EAS properly. He cited the
limited amount of text capability and the lack of geo-targeting that
leads to a lack of credibility for EAS messages that can hopefully be
addressed in the open FCC proceeding. He also cited the lack of
consistency in EAS plans across the country that makes life for cable
operators more difficult.
Mark Manuelian spoke about PEP. Mark is currently an advisor to PEPAC.
PEPAC has undergone a name change now that it is mainly responsible
for PEP infrastructure maintenance and build-out. The new acronym is
Primary Entry Point Administrative Council. PEPAC now has a full time
employee responsible for maintenance, Watt Hairston who some of you
may know. PEP enhancements include new stations, and a tie-in with XM
for distribution. All State EOC's will have XM receivers. (I imagine
that any LECC could write XM into their plans once this happens, too).
Mark talked about the accidental live code test that uncovered one EAS
box manufacturer who did not implement EAN properly. That, he says, is
being resolved. PEPAC also acquires EAS boxes and is doing bench
Pat Roberts from Florida was scheduled to speak but was a no-show.
I asked a question: Regarding the legal responsibility to warn, where
does it reside in law if indeed such a duty in the legal sense exists?
Silence and no answers offered.
William Lane moderated Panel Two.
Leading off was Marlena Barzilai with APTS who talked about DEAS. My
take: DEAS is a pet project of DHS that they are putting a lot into --
probably more effort there than on really productive work such as
meeting all the terms of Executive Order 13407. She is a lawyer and
knew next to nothing about the workings of DEAS.
Art Botterell talked about his current job with Contra Costa County, a
hotbed of chemical and oil company activity leading to good training
through experience. They have a lot of activations and their geo-
targeting warnings using CAP really works. A memorable line: "Every
warning received (should be) a warning that matters." He observed that
too many SECC's and LECC's were running on old plans -- literally on
autopilot. He also talked about the importance within CAP of digital
signatures to authenticate messages properly -- something totally
lacking in EAS/SAME.
Lance Craver is FEMA's director for the IPAWS program. He talked in
govspeak about "deconflicting with our federal partners" "IPAWS
interoperability", a "robust EAS", and that they would conduct a
"straightforward and inclusive process." He did mention they are
standing up a test center for EAS devices.
He also said their job was to "Support the FCC Order". He highlighted
a "summer pilot program for DEAS". My take: A lot of govspeak that did
not say very much.
Clay opened by telling he got his assignment chairing our committee by
being a leading EBS critic. He talked about how, as Washington stat's
SECC Chair, he brought about a different SECC plan based on local
relay networks and tie-in with NOAA/NWS. He challenged other states to
do the same and not wait for further FCC action - "Go beyond Part 11",
he said. He credited the Mt. St. Helens incident with getting needed
government support. He highlighted the lack of Federal leadership and
the need to set standard practices and institute best practices. Clay
talked a bit about SBE draft strategy white paper that he distributed
at the Summit.
Suzanne Goucher (NASBA former President) wanted to know where
training, leadership and funding were going to come from to make
possible enhanced EAS. She posited that we, the people at the Summit
and our cohorts, are the core group that can make it all happen. She
also said that her state, Maine, has not yet made up its mind on what
direction they would go in implementing enhanced EAS.
Craig Hodan stood in for Mark Paese from NOAA. He mentioned that
85-95% of EAS activations are weather related. He stated that NOAA's
policy was to cooperate with its federal partners in implementing
Executive ORder 13407. He outlined NOAA's responsibility for NWR and
talked about its strengths and weaknesses stemming from old equipment
and single point failure issues. He also said that NWS is not fully
CAP-compliant yet, but "will be".
Art in his closing comments let Lance Craver have it with both
barrels. I cannot due full justice to what he said in my notes, but I
will quote his tag line to DHS: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way."
That induced a healthy round of applause from the audience.
My general impressions:
1. DHS has slowed down or stalled forward progress for whatever
reasons they have to do so.
2. FCC is frustrated with them.
3. The "elephant in the room", as Art puts it, has been talked about
4. The SBE White Paper was very well received. People were asking for
extra copies. I expect to see some press coverage.
5. Lastly, we must review and release Gary Timm's draft profile ASAP
to aid the upcoming meeting in Chicago*. Gary's work goes well beyond
the White Paper the Board approved for release.
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