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Encyclopedia > National Communications System
NSC seal
NSC seal

The National Communications System is an office within the United States Department of Homeland Security charged with enabling national security and emergency preparedness communications (NS/EP telecommunications) using the national telecommunications system. Image File history File links NCSlogo. ... Image File history File links NCSlogo. ... The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a Cabinet department of the federal government of the United States that is concerned with protecting the American homeland and the safety of American citizens. ... NS/EP telecommunications is an abbreviation for National Security or Emergency Preparedness telecommunications of the United States. ...


Background and History of the NCS

The genesis of the National Communications System (NCS) began in 1962 after the Cuban missile crisis when communications problems among the United States, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and foreign heads of state threatened to complicate the crisis further. After the crisis, President John F. Kennedy ordered an investigation of national security communications, and the National Security Council (NSC) formed an interdepartmental committee to examine the communications networks and institute changes. This interdepartmental committee recommended the formation of a single unified communications system to serve the President, Department of Defense, diplomatic and intelligence activities, and civilian leaders. Consequently, in order to provide better communications support to critical Government functions during emergencies, President Kennedy established the National Communications System by a Presidential Memorandum on August 21, 1963. The NCS mandate included linking, improving, and extending the communications facilities and components of various Federal agencies, focusing on interconnectivity and survivability. U.S.A.F. spy photo of one of the suspected launch sites The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States regarding the Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba. ... Soviet redirects here. ... NATO 2002 Summit The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), sometimes called North Atlantic Alliance, Atlantic Alliance or the Western Alliance, is an international organisation for defence collaboration established in 1949, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington, DC, on April 4, 1949. ... John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to as John F. Kennedy, JFK or Jack Kennedy, was the 35th President of the United States. ... A National Security Council is an executive body which coordinates national security issues and typically includes the heads of departments involved in diplomacy and defense with a small staff. ... The presidential seal was used by President Hayes in 1880 and last modified in 1959 by adding the 50th star for Hawaii. ... The United States Department of Defense, abbreviated DoD or DOD and sometimes called the Defense Department, is a civilian Cabinet organization of the United States government. ... August 21 is the 233rd day of the year (234th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1963 calendar). ...

On April 3, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order (E.O.) 12472 which broadened the NCS' national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) capabilities and superseded President Kennedy's original 1963 memorandum. The NCS expanded from its original six members to an interagency group of 23 Federal departments and agencies, and began coordinating and planning NS/EP telecommunications to support crises and disasters. April 3 is the 93rd day of the year (94th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 272 days remaining. ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). ... An executive order is an edict issued by a member of the executive branch of a government, usually the head of that branch. ... Security measures taken to protect the Houses of Parliament in London, England. ... Emergency operations or Emergency preparedness is a set of doctrines to prepare civil society to cope with natural or man-made disasters. ...

With the United States Information Agency being absorbed into the U.S. State Department in October 2000, the NCS membership currently stands at 23 members. The United States Information Agency (USIA), which existed from 1953 to 1999, was a United States agency devoted to what it called public diplomacy. ... The United States Department of State, often referred to as the State Department, is the Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the United States government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. ...

Each NCS member organization is represented on the NCS through the Committee of Principals (COP) -- and its subordinate Council of Representatives (COR). The COP, formed as a result of Executive Order 12472, provides advice and recommendations to the NCS and the National Security Council through the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board on NS/EP telecommunications and its ties to other critical infrastructures. The NCS also participates in joint industry-Government planning through its work with the President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC), with the NCS's National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications (NCC) and the NCC's subordinate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC).

After nearly 40 years with the Secretary of Defense serving as its Executive Agent, President George W. Bush transferred the National Communications System to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The NCS was one of 22 Federal agencies transferred to the Department on March 1, 2003, in accordance with Executive Order 13286. A revised Executive Order 12472 reflects the changes of E.O. 13286. On November 15, 2005, the NCS became part of the Department's Directorate for Preparedness after nearly two years under the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate. Currently, the DHS Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection serves as the NCS Manager. George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and the 43rd and current President of the United States. ... The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a Cabinet department of the federal government of the United States that is concerned with protecting the American homeland and the safety of American citizens. ... March 1, 2003 Iraq disarmament crisis: The Turkish speaker of Parliament voids the vote accepting U.S. troops involved in the planned invasion of Iraq into Turkey on constitutional grounds. ...

Services of the National Communications System

In fulfillment of their mission to enable emergency communications, the NCS has created a number of different services.

  • NS/EP Priority Telecommunications
    • Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) - provides emergency access and priority processing in the local and long distance segments of the public switched wireline network. Used in an emergency or crisis situation during which the probability of completing a call over normal or other alternate telecommunication means has significantly decreased.
    • Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) - provides service vendors with a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate for prioritizing service requests by identifying those services critical to NS/EP. A telecommunications service with a TSP assignment is assured of receiving full attention by the service vendor before a non-TSP service.
    • Wireless Priority Service (WPS) - provides priority cellular network access. The WPS was approved by the FCC for NS/EP requirements on a call-by-call priority basis. The NCS executes the program on behalf of the Executive Office of the President. Only individuals in NS/EP key leadership positions are authorized use of WPS.
  • National Coordinating Center (NCC) for Telecommunications
    • Alerting and Coordination Network (ACN) - The Alerting and Coordination Network (ACN) provides a stable emergency voice communications network connecting telecommunications service providers’ Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) and Network Operations Centers (NOCs) to support national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) telecommunications network restoration coordination, transmission of telecommunications requirements and priorities, and incident reporting when the Public Switched Network (PSN) is inoperable, stressed or congested. It is engineered to provide a reliable and survivable network capability, and, as such, has no logical dependency on the PSN. As a result, if the PSN suffers disruptions, the ACN will not be affected.
    • Shared Resources High Frequency Radio Program (SHARES) - The SHARES HF Radio Program brings together the assets of over 1,000 HF radio stations worldwide to voluntarily pass emergency messages when normal communications are destroyed or unavailable. SHARES uses common radio operating and message formatting procedures and more than 250 designated frequencies. Participation in SHARES is open to all Federal departments and agencies and their designated affiliates on a voluntary basis. More than 90 Federal, state, and industry organizations currently contribute resources throughout the United States and in 26 countries and U.S. possessions
    • Telecom ISAC - In January 2000, the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism designated the NCC-ISAC as the ISAC for telecommunications. On March 1, 2000, the NCC-ISAC commenced operations. The initial NCC-ISAC membership is based on NCC membership, which is evolving to reflect a broader base of technologies comprising the telecommunications infrastructure. NCC-ISAC will support the mission assigned by Executive Order 12472 and the national critical infrastructure protection goals of government and industry. The NCC-ISAC will facilitate voluntary collaboration and information sharing among its participants gathering information on vulnerabilities, threats, intrusions, and anomalies from telecommunications industry, government, and other sources. The NCC-ISAC will analyze the data with the goal of averting or mitigating impact upon the telecommunications infrastructure. Additionally, data will be used to establish baseline statistics and patterns and maintained to provide a library of historical data. Results will be sanitized and disseminated in accordance with sharing agreements established for that purpose by the NCC-ISAC participants.
  • Emergency Response Training (ERT)
    • Planning, Training, and Exercise Support (PTE) - Our mission is to ensure NCS readiness, enhance partnerships within government and industry, coordinate telecommunications operational planning among NCS elements, develop emergency response requirements, and to provide skilled civilians and reservists during crises and emergencies.
    • Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) - The National Communications System (NCS) Augmentee Program was established in 1988 to provide a cadre of skilled civilian and military reservists to enhance the efforts of the Office of the Manager, NCS (OMNCS), the National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications (NCC), and NCS Regional Managers (RMs) during national crises and emergencies. The NCS Augmentee Program consists of two components: the civilian members of the National Defense Executive Reserve (NDER) and the U.S. Army reservists participating in the Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) Program.

The Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) is a White House-directed emergency phone service provided by a division of the Department of Homeland Security. ... The Nationwide Wireless Priority Service (WPS) is a system in the United States that allows high-priority emergency telephone calls to avoid congestion on wireless telephone networks. ... The Emergency Operations Center, or EOC, is an central command and control facility responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency prepardness and emergency management, or disaster management functions at a strategic level in an emergency situation, and ensuring the continuity of operation of the company, or political subdivision. ... Network Operations Centre or NOC (pronounced knock) is a name normally associated with one or more locations from which control is exercised over a network or part thereof. ... The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is the concentration of the worlds public circuit-switched telephone networks, in much the same way that the Internet is the concentration of the worlds public IP-based packet-switched networks. ...

See also

The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) is a system for three-digit area codes and seven-digit telephone numbers that direct telephone calls to particular regions on a public switched telephone network (PSTN), where they are further routed by the local network. ... The Defense Switched Network (DSN) is a primary information transfer network for the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN). ... The old United States Civil Defense logo. ... In common or colloquial usage, a hotline refers to a line to get immediate assistance with a problem. ...

External links

This article incorporates text from http://www.ncs.gov, a public domain work of the United States Government. The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ... A work of the United States Government is, as defined by United States copyright law, a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that persons official duties. ...



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