Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
9/20/2012. Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA) to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to modernize and implement the national integrated public alert and warning system, including by:
(1) establishing or adapting common alerting and warning protocols, standards, terminology, and operating procedures;
(2) including the capability to adapt the dissemination of information and the content of communications on the basis of geographic location, risks, or personal user preferences and the capability to alert, warn, and provide the equivalent amount of information to individuals with disabilities and access and functional needs;
(3) ensuring the conduct of training, tests, and exercises for the system that are incorporated into other training and exercise programs of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS);
(4) ensuring that ongoing training, integrated into the National Incident Management System, for receiving and disseminating public alert and warning system messages utilizing advanced technologies is provided to state, local, tribal, and other homeland security stakeholders;
(5) ensuring that the system uses the National Terrorism Advisory System;
(6) conducting periodic nationwide tests of the system at least once every three years; and
(7) consulting, coordinating, and cooperating with other federal agencies and with state, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and other key stakeholders to leverage existing alert and warning capabilities.
Requires the Secretary to ensure that the system:
(1) incorporates redundant and diverse modes to disseminate warning messages to reach the greatest number of individuals;
(2) can be adapted to incorporate future technologies;
(3) is resilient, secure, and can withstand acts of terrorism and other external attacks;
(4) promotes state, local, tribal, and regional partnerships to enhance coordination;
(5) is designed to provide alerts that are accessible to the largest portion of the affected population feasible and to improve the ability of remote areas and areas with underdeveloped telecommunications infrastructure to receive alerts; and
(6) includes mechanisms to ensure the protection of individual privacy.
Directs the Secretary to establish the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Advisory Committee, which shall develop and submit in annual reports recommendations for the continuation and improvement of an integrated public alert and warning system, including:
(1) recommendations for common alerting and warning protocols, standards, terminology, and operating procedures for the system;
(2) an assessment of system accomplishments and deficiencies, as well as the impact on current alert and warning systems; and
(3) recommendations for increasing participation in the system, particularly among elementary, secondary, and higher education institutions.
Requires the recommendations to include recommendations to provide a system that:
(1) has the capability to adapt the distribution and content of communications on the basis of geographic location, risks, multiple communication systems and technologies or personal user preferences and to alert and warn individuals with disabilities, access and functional needs, and limited English proficiency;
(2) incorporates multiple communications technologies;
(3) is designed to adapt to and incorporate future technologies for communicating directly with the public, to provide alerts to the largest portion of the affected population feasible, and to improve the ability of remote areas to receive alerts;
(4) encourages proper use by state and local governments through training programs and other means;
(5) promotes local and regional partnerships to enhance community preparedness and response;
(6) promotes the participation of representatives from under served and under represented communities to ensure that alerts and warnings reach such populations; and
(7) provides redundant alert mechanisms to reach the greatest number of people regardless of whether they have access to, or utilize, any specific medium of communication or any particular device.
Requires the Secretary, one year after the system is fully functional and every six months thereafter, to report to specified congressional committees on the functionality and performance of the system.
Authorizes appropriations for FY2013-FY2017. Directs the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to permit the use of homeland security grant funds to improve public alert and warning capabilities.
House Democratic Caucus Summary
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