The latest in a string of executive orders from Barack Obama is the order titled “Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions” in which the underlying commonality is apparently to establish methods of command and control over all communications in the event of a national emergency. The thing is, Obama has already declared a national emergency…
The words most often used in this latest executive order include communications, executive, NS/EP (National Security Emergency Preparedness), committee, security, order, federal, and president.
Excerpts from the order include (emphasis added),
Section 1. Policy. The Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions. Survivable, resilient, enduring, and effective communications, both domestic and international, are essential to enable the executive branch to communicate within itself and with: the legislative and judicial branches; State, local, territorial, and tribal governments; private sector entities; and the public, allies, and other nations. Such communications must be possible under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies, and improve national resilience. The views of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public must inform the development of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications policies, programs, and capabilities.
maintain a joint industry-Government center that is capable of assisting in the initiation, coordination, restoration, and reconstitution of NS/EP communications services or facilities under all conditions of emerging threats, crisis, or emergency;
develop, maintain, and publish policies, plans, and procedures for the management and use of radio frequency assignments, including the authority to amend, modify, or revoke such assignments, in those parts of the electromagnetic spectrum assigned to the Federal Government;
prepare policies, plans, and procedures concerning communications facilities, services, or equipment under their management or operational control to maximize their capability to respond to the NS/EP needs of the Federal Government;
While we already have the Emergency Broadcast System, it seems that this executive order is taking it to a whole new level. Who needs Congress when you can legislate by executive order?
One wonders why the current government feels it necessary to spell out the need for a new bureaucracy, a ‘center’, and an umbrella of policies and control over communications infrastructure that is already managed and maintained by the existing companies within the industry itself? Would not these industries do their best to re-establish their communications infrastructure should there be damage? Would the government do it better?
It seems like this is a layer, or a government umbrella over the communications industry. The question is, why do we (they) need this?