The IT Law Wiki


National security/emergency preparedness (NS/EP) means

those physical, technical, and administrative characteristics of telecommunications systems that will ensure a prescribed level of survivability in times of national or other emergency mission needs of the Government entities that use them.[1]

"According to Executive Order 13618. . ., NS/EP refers to the federal government's need to 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."[2]


Historically, the "national security" component of NS/EP communications drew on the communications industry's support of warfighting, intelligence-gathering, and other national security/intelligence community missions. Likewise, the "emergency preparedness" component of NS/EP was understood to incorporate recovery from domestic natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

More recently, with the advances in technology and ever more global connectivity, man-made physical and cyber threats to the communication networks come from ever wider communities and threat vectors; those exercising terrorism of the sort evidenced during the September 11, 2001, attacks as an instrument of international policy are also likely to join in these efforts. Similarly, the ICT sector's emergency disaster response is no longer limited to domestic incidents. Consequently, U.S. interests charged with supporting NS/EP communications services now must be able to deploy those services globally.

The national security/emergency preparedness (NS/EP) community depends heavily on priority treatment of voice calls within the public switched telephone network (PSN) to support NS/EP operations.