Stakeholders in the 9-1-1 system this week launched an independent body to achieve greater trust and interoperability in Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems.
NENA: The 9-1-1 Association has been a leader in establishing the NG9-1-1 Interoperability Oversight Commission (NIOC), whose mission will be overseeing key programs related to interoperability in NG9-1-1, including the PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) Credentialing Agency (PCA) and the NG9-1-1 Forest Guide.
These programs are required in standards promulgated by NENA and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to promote security and interoperability for NG9-1-1, as well as discoverability and fallback for routing queries.
Although NENA played a leading role in establishing the NIOC, it has been set up to be fully independent. No one but the group’s board may may compel it to do anything, and stakeholders may only make recommendations and requests. NIOC has the power to direct NENA staff to execute its agenda or to hire its own staff to do so. NIOC also manages its own finances and approves any contracts to deliver the interoperability services under its purview. The NIOC is forbidden from earning a profit or having positive revenue; it may only recover the minimum costs it incurs in operating its interoperability resources. NIOC commissioners serve on a purely voluntary basis and are not paid.
The NENA Board of Directors established the group’s bylaws in February and finished the selection of commission members on March 22. NIOC conducted its first order of business on March 25, agreeing to arrange its first meeting to select a chair.
NIOC’s bylaws require a diverse membership representing public and private stakeholders across North America, with the possibility of future expansion internationally by amending the bylaws. After renewing nominations and applications from a wide variety of stakeholder interests, the NENA Board selected the following individuals to sit on NIOC, with staggered term lengths of two to three years:
On behalf of the president of the NENA Board, Mr. Dave Sehnert, director of innovation and integration at Mission Critical Partners in Port Matilda, Pennsylvania, was nominated by affirmative vote by the NENA Board.
On behalf of the NENA Development Steering Council (DSC), Mr. Rick Blackwell, director of the Greenville County Office of 9-1-1 in South Carolina, was nominated by an affirmative vote of the DSC.
On behalf of the NENA 9-1-1 Core Services Committee (911CSC), Mr. Steve O’Conor, senior consultant at Next Generation 9-1-1 Consulting Services in Melbourne, Florida, was nominated by affirmative vote of 911CSC.
To fill the slot for one member representing a U.S. state, provincial, or national non-U.S. 9-1-1 authority with responsibility for operating an NG9-1-1 network, Ms. Maria Jacques, 9-1-1 Director of the state of Maine, was nominated by the National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA).
To fill the slot for one member representing local or regional 9-1-1 authority with responsibility for operating an NG9-1-1 network within a region smaller than a U.S. state or province, such as a county, metropolitan area or a council of governments, Mr. Steve McMurrer, 9-1-1 Systems Administrator of Fairfax County, Virginia, was nominated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
To fill the slot for one member representing commercial provider of NG9-1-1 core services, Mr. Doug Cunningham, Sales Engineer II with CenturyLink, was nominated by CenturyLink’s executive team.
To fill the slot for one member representing commercial providers of NG9-1-1 end-user products, Mr. Jeff Wittek, Director of Strategy at Motorola, was nominated by the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT).
To fill the slot for one member representing organizations with a direct responsibility for handling 9-1-1 emergency calls, Ms. Darlene Pankonie, Communications Division Manager at Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Washington County, Minnesota, was nominated by the Minnesota Metropolitan Emergency Services Board (MESB).
To fill the slot for one member representing an elected official who does not directly represent a public safety agency but has oversight of 9-1-1 services, Ms. Irene Fernando, a county Commissioner in Hennepin County Minnesota.
To fill the slot for one member representing public safety associations not otherwise represented by another member, Mr. Kris Zuniga of Kings County, California was nominated by the California State Sheriff’s Association.
In addition to the commissioners, delegates from the NENA staff office, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. 9-1-1 Program Office and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission are invited to participate in the group’s meetings, make motions, offer new business, and speak in debate, but they cannot vote.
“Modern cybersecurity practices assume zero trust, meaning you don’t trust anybody until a third party proves they are trustworthy” says Monica Million, Executive Director at Colorado 9-1-1 Resource Center and President of NENA. “The NIOC is established to provide that level of trust in the services needed to achieve NG9-1-1 interoperability.”