U.S. President Barack Obama has signed an executive order — titled "Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions" — that gives to the Federal Government the authority to control communications networks during emergencies.
The order directs agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Defense, Department of State and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to come up with policy recommendations and plans for ensuring continuity of government communications capabilities in a crisis.
The executive order states that "the Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances carry out its critical and time sensitive missions".
"Survivability, resilient, enduring, and effective communications, both domestic and international, are essential to enable the executive branch to communicate [...]" - it states - and "[...] Such communications must be possible under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies, and improve national resilience."
The order also authorizes the creation of a new National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Committee (NS/EP), which will consist of representatives from each of these agencies.
As part of its mission the executive committee will develop a long-term strategic plan and propose funding initiatives to support the incorporation of the necessary redundancy, mobility, interoperability and restorability of government communications capabilities "under all circumstances."
The executive order tasks the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to identity all the key technology and policy issues that the NS/EP committee will need to focus on to fulfill its mission.
The OSTP will be responsible for submitting an annual report to the President and the NS/EP committee on a range of issues including prioritization of radio spectrum and wired communications that support the NS/EP mission
Read the executive order here: