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New Executive Order for President Obama, Control Over Communications?
by Ezra Van Auken
This past Friday the White House website released official documents stating a new executive order for President Obama. The granted power explains, “The views of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public must inform the development of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications policies, programs, and capabilities.” Obama’s order also implements, “The federal government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions,” during any time of “crisis”.
Overall the EO will allow a branch of governance to gain communications power around the country, under the guise of providing relief during a disaster. According to the White House release government officials will establish an “NS/EP Communications Executive Committee” and “Executive Committee Joint Program Office”, both used to scale down overall government into a smaller group.
The Executive Committee will consist of heads from each Department, the Secretary of Homeland Security and Secretary of Defense will serve as Co-chairs to the Committee.
NS/EP Communications Executive Committee Role or Powers:
(a) advise and make policy recommendations to the President, through the PPD-1 process, on enhancing the survivability, resilience, and future architecture of NS/EP communications, including what should constitute NS/EP communications requirements (b) develop a long-term strategic vision for NS/EP communications and propose funding requirements and plans to the President and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), through the PPD-1 process, for NS/EP communications initiatives that benefit multiple agencies or other Federal entities (c) coordinate the planning for, and provision of, NS/EP communications for the Federal Government under all hazards (d) promote the incorporation of the optimal combination of hardness, redundancy, mobility, connectivity, interoperability, restorability, and security to obtain, to the maximum extent practicable, the survivability of NS/EP communications under all circumstances (e) recommend to the President, through the PPD-1 process, the regimes to test, exercise, and evaluate the capabilities of existing and planned communications systems, networks, or facilities to meet all executive branch NS/EP communications requirements, including any recommended remedial actions (f) provide quarterly updates to the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and the Director of OSTP, through the Co-Chairs, on the status of Executive Committee activities and develop an annual NS/EP communications strategic agenda utilizing the PPD-1 process (g) enable industry input with respect to the responsibilities established in this section (h) develop, approve, and maintain a charter for the Executive Committee.
Besides the Executive Committee will be Obama’s “Executive Committee Joint Program Office”, the group will be established by the United States, Secretary of Homeland Security; using members from the Executive Committee.
Executive Committee Joint Program Office or JPO Roles and Powers:
(a) oversee the development, testing, implementation, and sustainment of NS/EP communications that are directly responsive to the national security needs of the President, Vice President, and senior national leadership, including: communications with or among the President, Vice President, White House staff, heads of state and government, and Nuclear Command and Control leadership; Continuity of Government communications; and communications among the executive, judicial, and legislative branches to support Enduring Constitutional Government (b) incorporate, integrate, and ensure interoperability and the optimal combination of hardness, redundancy, mobility, connectivity, interoperability, restorability, and security to obtain, to the maximum extent practicable, the survivability of NS/EP communications defined in section 5.1(a) of this order under all circumstances, including conditions of crisis or emergency (c) provide to the Executive Committee the technical support necessary to develop and maintain plans adequate to provide for the security and protection of NS/EP communications (d) provide, operate, and maintain communication services and facilities adequate to execute responsibilities consistent with Executive Order 12333 of December 4, 1981, as amended.