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New FCC Public Safety Chief Says EAS Is on Priority List

Barnett aims to be 'data-driven, fact-based and transparent'

Just a few weeks shy of the eighth anniversary of 9/11, the new chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Jamie Barnett lists the broadband rollout, E-911, EAS and cyber-security as some of the priorities his bureau is tackling.

“This bureau is about crafting policy to support first responders and restoring communications after disasters,” said Barnett, who after a long Navy career came to the agency from the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank that marries science and technology with government policy.

“To do our job, we have to be data-driven, fact-based and transparent,” he said, echoing recent statements to Congress by Chairman Julius Genachowski.

In a briefing with reporters Thursday, he said the agency is coming into a “transformational” time with an opportunity to update public safety as new technology becomes available.

Asked by Radio World how EAS fits into the commission’s public safety priorities, Barnett said, “EAS is high on our list” and that the next-gen system will provide capabilities to zero in to specific geographic areas.

FCC officials plan to meet with FEMA to discuss EAS in about a week, he said. RW recently reported that FEMA hopes to adopt the next-gen protocol for EAS early in 2010.

Related story:
Advanced EAS Gains Momentum,” July 2009