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Thursday, March 27, 2008

US Department of Homeland Security Signs Historic Agreement with EIC

The Emergency Interoperability Consortium (EIC) announced that an
historic agreement between EIC and Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
has been signed to help further the continued development of data sharing
standards for the emergency response community. With the endorsement of
Department of Homeland Security Under-Secretary Admiral Jay Cohen, this
unique relationship, thought to be the first of its kind between DHS and
a non-government entity, strengthens an established alliance between the
organizations to jointly promote the design, development, release, and
use of standards to help solve data sharing problems commonly encountered
during life-saving emergency operations. By working together, both DHS
and the EIC believe that government and industry can more quickly and
cost-effectively bridge the data sharing gap between organizations that
must be able to interoperate in response to the natural and man-made
hazards that form the core of the DHS mission. Numerous federal, state
and local organizations as well as private industry benefit from the
collaborative efforts of the DHS/EIC relationship. Utilization of the
Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) and the Emergency Data Exchange Language
(EDXL) OASIS standards, and several other supporting standards form an
interoperable data sharing communications bridge linking organizations,
government entities and the general public. Los Angeles Fire Department
Battalion Chief Robert Cramer: "By integrating these data technology
capabilities on a platform, we're making it viable to provide data
interoperability among fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services,
Hazmat, and supporting agencies such as county health and transportation.
Creating a common operating picture across multiple agencies and
jurisdictions can reduce response times and save more lives." Specific
objectives of the alliance, as specified in the Memorandum of Agreement,
are to: (1) Improve information sharing capabilities to protect the
nation and its citizens from the consequences of disasters and other
emergencies, regardless of cause; (2) Encourage broad-based participation
in the design, development, acceptance, and use of XML standards to
enable emergency organizations to receive and share data in real time;
(3) Educate federal, state, local, and tribal governments, the media,
citizens, and industry on the meaning and importance of data sharing
within the emergency response communities; (4) Promote innovation in
these communities around open architectures and standards; (5) Foster a
collaborative working environment among federal, state, local, and tribal
jurisdictions on these matters. EIC recommends and assists with the
implementation of technical interoperability standards for emergency
and incident management. The Consortium consists of both public and
private entities to ensure the practical use of open standards. The
EIC has cooperated with DHS, worked with and in its practitioner working
groups to develop detailed requirements for standards, organized
interoperability demonstrations using draft and final standards, and
submitted requirements to OASIS to initiate formal standards development.

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