Congresswoman: Inter-agency communications have improved since 9/11

U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks | U.S. House of Representatives

The country has improved communications among federal agencies since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said.

Brooks, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications
for the Committee on Homeland Security, said Tuesday that while there has been progress in inter-agency communications, more work needs to be done.

“Much has changed since 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina exposed significant gaps in communications
capabilities,” Brooks said. “Congress established the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) through the post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act to coordinate federal inter-operable communications programs and conduct outreach to support emergency response providers.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said states and local governments have invested more than $5 billion in preparedness grant funding to enhance communications capabilities.

However, Brooks said there continues to be issues with communication as shown during the response to Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the East Coast in 2012, and the Washington Navy Yard Shooting in 2013.

“Last week, OEC released an updated National Emergency Communications Plan that takes into account the changes in technology since the first plan,” Brooks said.

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