On February 21, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate’s Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Program hosted the CMAS Forum in Las Vegas.  The event, hosted at the outset of the International Wireless Communications Expo, provided a unique opportunity for CMAS stakeholders—state and local alert originators, Federal partners, and industry representatives—to come together and discuss current- and future-state requirements for CMAS RDT&E, including the impact of emerging technologies on alerts and warnings systems.

The day-long session contained the following key segments:

  • Opening remarks by Denis Gusty, DHS S&T CMAS Program Manager.
  • A discussion among Federal partners regarding roles related to CMAS, how Federal partners are working together, and support available to stakeholders nationwide.  The following panelists led this discussion:
    • Mike Gerber, Emerging Dissemination Technologies Lead, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service (Moderator)
    • Denis Gusty, CMAS RDT&E Program Manager, DHS S&T
    • Bob Hoever, Associate Director, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
    • Wade Witmer, Deputy Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)
  • A panel of alert originators and disseminators who discussed their roles, preparation, and experiences related to CMAS.  This discussion was led by the following panelists:
    • Jay Bhatt, Senior Product Manager, Alcatel-Lucent
    • Katherine Hern, Community Warning System Manager, Contra Costa County, California
    • Brian Josef, Assistant Vice President, Regulatory Affairs CTIA – The Wireless Association®
    • Tim Pierce, Communications Interoperability Planner, Dane County, Wisconsin
    • Rick Ruth, Product Marketing Manager, TeleCommunication Systems, Inc.
    • Roy Shrout, Deputy Coordinator, Fairfax County, Virginia
  • An overview, provided by Mark Frankel, Information Security Officer for the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), regarding OEM’s preparation and participation in the December 2011 CMAS test in New York City, as well as OEM’s plans to implement CMAS.
  • A final segment, entitled “Looking towards the Future of CMAS,” comprised of two breakout sessions in which participants provided input around specific CMAS RDT&E efforts, including research and development, systems integration guidance, and analysis of mobile penetration.

Throughout these discussions, a sense of collaboration and momentum around the impact and benefits of CMAS at the state and local level was evident, and the following themes emerged:

  • Preparation for CMAS deployment in April 2012 and the expectations associated with this roll-out
  • Shared ownership to increase education and outreach
  • Understanding of geo-targeting capabilities and possible enhancements
  • Commitment to using the system appropriately to protect its integrity

For more information about the CMAS RDT&E Program, future Forums, or other opportunities to get involved, please visit the First Responder Communities of Practice or e-mail cmas_forum [at] sra [dot] com.  For more information about IPAWS, please visit the FEMA IPAWS website.


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