Survey on Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Interoperability and Procurement

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Contents

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Introduction

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been asked by the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and other members of the Senate to report on the state of land mobile radio (LMR) interoperable communications among federal government agencies, and with identified partner entities at the state, local, and tribal levels.

To respond to this request, we are administering a survey to your agency: _____, as well as other civilian (non-military) agencies that use LMR to communicate with at least one other agency for daily operations, planned events, or unplanned/emergency events. Your Department, as a member of the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center (ECPC), has identified your agency as a user of LMR technology for these purposes.

Our aim is to provide an assessment of LMR needs, current capabilities, and remaining technical and non-technical challenges toward achieving LMR interoperability. Therefore, we have several questions for you, related to the LMR technology you use, relevant procurement activities, and the five elements of interoperability, as identified in SAFECOM's Interoperability Continuum. These five elements are: Usage, Technology, Training and Exercises, Governance (including practices related to LMR procurement), and Standard Operating Procedures.

As necessary, please gather information from appropriate personnel at your agency to provide the most accurate responses to the survey. If you have any questions while completing this survey, please contact (the name, email, and telephone number of two GAO staff appeared here).

(View question)

Definitions

When completing this survey, please refer to the following definitions:

Interoperability: FCC defines interoperability as an essential communications link within public safety and public service wireless communications systems which permits units from two or more different entities to interact with one another and to exchange information according to a prescribed method in order to achieve predictable results. For purpose of this report, we are only interested in interoperability as it relates to the use of land mobile radio (LMR) technology to communicate effectively (i.e., as needed and as authorized), even if using disparate LMR systems.

LMR systems are terrestrially-based, wireless communications systems commonly used by federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency responders, public works companies, others to support voice and low-speed data communications.

For the purpose of this survey, we use the term LMR system to include:
Base station radios located in fixed positions, such as public safety answering points or dispatch centers, with powerful transmitters.
Repeaters, to retransmit radio signals received from handheld portable radios, mobile radios, and base station radios.
Related network infrastructure, required to connect the different base stations to the same communications system.

Also, for the purpose of this survey, we use the term LMR devices (i.e., subscriber unit) to include:
Handheld portable radios carried by public safety personnel, which tend to have a limited transmission range.
Mobile radios, often located in vehicles, which use the vehicle's power supply and a larger antenna, providing a greater transmission range than handheld portable radios.

Department: Cabinet-level federal government organization.

Agency: Component organization of a federal government Department includes federal bureaus (e.g., BLM), administrations (e.g., NOAA), agencies (e.g., FEMA), etc.

Entity: Non-federal organization, including state, local, or tribal organizations.

(View question)

Use of Land Mobile Radios (LMR)

1. Does your agency use LMR to communicate with at least one other federal agency?

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
57 16 73

This survey is intended for agencies that use LMR to communicate with at least one other federal agency. Your agency was identified by your department as an LMR user. To confirm, does your agency use LMR to communicate with any other federal agencies?
If "no", you will be directed to the end of this survey.

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
0 17 17

Your Agency's Mission

2. For each emergency support function listed below, please identify whether the function relates directly to your agency's core mission, or whether it is secondary or not applicable to your agency's core mission.

(View question)

2a. Transportation

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
13 13 28 54

2b. Communications

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
23 12 19 54

2c. Public Works and Engineering

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
7 14 31 52

2d. Firefighting

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
16 5 35 56

2e. Emergency Management

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
24 17 14 55

2f. Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
6 10 36 52

2g. Logistics Management and Resource Support

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
11 14 29 54

2h. Public Health and Medical Services

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
10 7 36 53

2i. Search and Rescue

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
11 11 32 54

2j. Oil and Hazardous Materials Response

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
11 15 29 55

2k. Agriculture and Natural Resources

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
13 7 34 54

2l. Energy

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
12 6 35 53

2m. Public Safety and Security (e.g., law enforcement, drug interdiction, etc.)

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
35 8 12 55

2n. Long-Term Community Recovery

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
4 5 43 52

2o. External Affairs

(View question)

Yes, core mission
Yes, secondary
mission
No, not part
of our mission
Number of respondents
3 14 34 51

2p. Are there any other emergency support functions that are directly related to your agency's core mission that were not included in the list above?

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
3 53 56

Please describe your agency's additional emergency support functions, as related to your core mission, below:

(View question)

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Characteristics of LMR System

3. Does the LMR system your agency uses most often to communicate with other federal agencies comply with the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Project-25 (P25) standards (i.e., a P25-compliant system)?

Please do NOT include LMR devices (i.e., subscriber units) in your response.

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
47 3 7 57

4. Does this LMR system include customized, proprietary (i.e., non-standardized) equipment or features?

Please do NOT include LMR devices (i.e., subscriber units) in your response.

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
16 35 5 56

Please briefly explain why the non-standardized features are needed:

(View question)

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5. What company manufactured the majority of this LMR system’s technological components, such as repeaters, base station radios, etc.?

Please do NOT include LMR devices (i.e., subscriber units) in your response.

(View question)

Harris Motorola RELM Thales Other Don't know Number of respondents
4 40 3 1 7 2 57

If you checked "other manufacturer" (above), please specify:

(View question)

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Characteristics of LMR Devices

6. Which of the following characteristics most accurately describe the LMR devices (i.e., subscriber units) used most often by your agency?

(View question)

1. Mobile

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
9 48 57

2. Portable

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
2 55 57

3. Dual-band

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
37 20 57

4. Tri-band

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
49 8 57

5. Quad-band

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
53 4 57

6. Analog

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
29 28 57

7. Digital

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
11 46 57

8. Encryption

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
23 34 57

9. LTE handsets (as an LMR radio)

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
55 2 57

10. Other (please specify below):

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
55 2 57

If you checked "other characteristics" (above), please specify:

(View question)

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7. Which of the following manufacturers provided the majority of LMR devices (i.e., subscriber units) currently used by your agency?

(View question)

1. Airbus

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
57 0 57

2. Codan Radio Communications

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
55 2 57

3. Datron

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
57 0 57

4. EF Johnson Technologies

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
54 3 57

5. Harris

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
48 9 57

6. ICOM

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
49 8 57

7. Kenwood USA

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
50 7 57

8. Midland Radio Corporation

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
52 5 57

9. Motorola

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
13 44 57

10. PowerTrunk

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
57 0 57

11. Raytheon

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
57 0 57

12. RELM

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
44 13 57

13. Simoco

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
57 0 57

14. Tait Communications

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
56 1 57

15. Thales Communications, Inc

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
54 3 57

16. Other (please specify below):

Not checked Checked Number of respondents
54 3 57

If you checked "other manufacturer" (above), please specify:

(View question)

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Characteristics of LMR Devices

8. Does your agency or department generally require its LMR devices to comply with P25 standards?

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
49 8 57

9. Does your agency use P25-compliant LMR devices (i.e., subscriber units)?

(View question)

Yes No Partially Number of respondents
48 6 3 57

What are the reasons that your agency does not exclusively use P25-compliant LMR devices?

(View question)

9a. No perceived need

(View question)

Reason Not a reason Don't know Number of respondents
1 0 4 5

9b. Benefits of technology are unclear

(View question)

Reason Not a reason Don't know Number of respondents
1 0 4 5

9c. Lack of support from leadership/decision maker(s) to acquire P25-compliant devices

(View question)

Reason Not a reason Don't know Number of respondents
0 1 4 5

9d. Difficult to integrate technology with current system

(View question)

Reason Not a reason Don't know Number of respondents
2 0 4 6

9e. Cost of P25-compliant devices is too high

(View question)

Reason Not a reason Don't know Number of respondents
0 1 4 5

9f. Lack of technical expertise in using and maintaining P25-compliant devices

(View question)

Reason Not a reason Don't know Number of respondents
0 1 4 5

9g. My agency requires LMR devices with proprietary or unique features that do not meet P25 standards

(View question)

Reason Not a reason Don't know Number of respondents
1 1 4 6

9h. Other (please specify below):

(View question)

Reason Not a reason Don't know Number of respondents
3 0 3 6

If you indicated "other" (above), please specify:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


10. Does your agency use LMR devices with customized, proprietary (i.e., non-standardized), or vendor-specific features?

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
20 30 7 57

Please briefly explain why these features are needed:

(View question)

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LMR Procurement Practices

11. Has your agency coordinated procurement activities of LMR devices (i.e., subscriber units) and related equipment with other federal agencies, either within your Department or outside your Department, within the past 5 years?

Examples of these activities may include identifying common technical requirements, developing common contracting vehicles to leverage buying power through strategic sourcing, etc.

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
35 22 57

What, if any, barriers limit your ability to engage in coordinated procurement with other federal agencies?

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


LMR Procurement Practices - Contracting Vehicles

12. Has your agency used any of the following common contracting vehicles to purchase new LMR devices (i.e., subscriber units) or related equipment over the past 5 years?

(View question)

12a. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Tactical Communications (TacCOM)

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
17 31 9 57

To what extent, if at all, has your agency realized any of the following benefits from using this contract vehicle?

(View question)

Cost savings

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
7 3 7 0 17

Reduced administrative burden

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
7 3 7 0 17

Enhanced LMR interoperability

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
2 3 10 2 17

Standardized equipment with partner agencies

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
3 4 9 1 17

12b. DHS Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE) or EAGLE II

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
4 43 10 57

To what extent, if at all, has your agency realized any of the following benefits from using this contract vehicle?

(View question)

Cost savings

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
1 2 1 0 4

Reduced administrative burden

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
1 1 2 0 4

Enhanced LMR interoperability

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 2 2 0 4

Standardized equipment with partner agencies

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 2 2 0 4

12c. General Services Administration (GSA) Connections II

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
4 39 13 56

To what extent, if at all, has your agency realized any of the following benefits from using this contract vehicle?

(View question)

Cost savings

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
1 1 1 1 4

Reduced administrative burden

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
2 0 1 1 4

Enhanced LMR interoperability

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 1 2 1 4

Standardized equipment with partner agencies

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 1 2 1 4

12d. GSA Networx program

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
4 42 11 57

To what extent, if at all, has your agency realized any of the following benefits from using this contract vehicle?

(View question)

Cost savings

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
1 2 1 0 4

Reduced administrative burden

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
1 2 1 0 4

Enhanced LMR interoperability

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 2 2 0 4

Standardized equipment with partner agencies

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 1 3 0 4

12e. GSA Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions program

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
1 40 15 56

To what extent, if at all, has your agency realized any of the following benefits from using this contract vehicle?

(View question)

Cost savings

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 0 1 0 1

Reduced administrative burden

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 0 1 0 1

Enhanced LMR interoperability

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 0 1 0 1

Standardized equipment with partner agencies

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 0 1 0 1

12f. GSA IT Schedule 70

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
7 36 12 55

To what extent, if at all, has your agency realized any of the following benefits from using this contract vehicle?

(View question)

Cost savings

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
2 3 1 1 7

Reduced administrative burden

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
3 1 2 1 7

Enhanced LMR interoperability

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
1 2 3 1 7

Standardized equipment with partner agencies

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
1 1 4 1 7

12g. GSA Schedule 84 (for law enforcement, fire, etc.)

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
4 37 16 57

To what extent, if at all, has your agency realized any of the following benefits from using this contract vehicle?

(View question)

Cost savings

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
1 2 1 0 4

Reduced administrative burden

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
1 2 1 0 4

Enhanced LMR interoperability

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 2 1 1 4

Standardized equipment with partner agencies

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 1 2 1 4

12h. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP)

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
3 42 11 56

To what extent, if at all, has your agency realized any of the following benefits from using this contract vehicle?

(View question)

Cost savings

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 2 1 0 3

Reduced administrative burden

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
1 2 0 0 3

Enhanced LMR interoperability

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 0 3 0 3

Standardized equipment with partner agencies

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
0 0 3 0 3

12i. Department of Interior (DOI) Fish and Wildlife Service Land Mobile Radio System Support Services IDIQ

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
12 37 8 57

To what extent, if at all, has your agency realized any of the following benefits from using this contract vehicle?

(View question)

Cost savings

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
5 6 1 0 12

Reduced administrative burden

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
4 3 5 0 12

Enhanced LMR interoperability

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
4 2 6 0 12

Standardized equipment with partner agencies

(View question)

Great benefit
Some benefit
Slight or no
benefit
Don't know
Number of respondents
5 3 4 0 12

13. Has your agency used any other contracting vehicles to purchase new LMR devices (i.e., subscriber units) or related equipment over the past 5 years? If so, please name them below:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


14. Has your agency used sole source contracts to procure LMR devices in the past 5 years?

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
23 33 56

Please explain why your agency used a sole source contract to procure LMR devices:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


Federal Partner Agencies

This page represents an example of a series of questions (questions 15 through 25) that appeared in the survey.

In the survey, we asked respondents to indicate whether their agency had required interoperable LMR communications, over the past 5 years, with civilian (i.e., non-military) federal agencies within the following departments:

• Agriculture
• Treasury
• Interior
• Labor
• Energy
• State
• Justice
• Homeland Security
• Federal Communications Commission
• Health & Human Services
• Commerce

We noted that respondents could provide answers for agencies within their Department or outside of their Department.

Questions 15 through 25 appeared as follows in the survey:

(View question)

Q. Has your agency required interoperable LMR communications over the past 5 years with any of the following agencies under the Department A?

• Agency 1
• Agency 2
• etc.
( ) Yes, with at least one of these agencies
( ) No (If No, skip to next department)

(View question)

Q. Has your agency required interoperable LMR communications over the past 5 years with Agency 1 (i.e., an agency within Department A)?
( ) Yes
( ) No (If No, skip to next agency)

(View question)

Q. For which of the following has your agency required interoperability?
( ) Daily operations
( ) Planned events
( ) Unplanned events (including emergencies)

(View question)

Q. What is the general level of LMR interoperability that has been achieved?
( ) Excellent
( ) Good
( ) Fair
( ) Poor
( ) Nonexistent

(View question)

Q. Do you coordinate with this agency to identify common technical requirements when purchasing new equipment?
( ) Yes
( ) No

(View question)

Q. Do you have standard operating procedures related to your LMR operability with this agency?
( ) Yes
( ) No

(View question)

Federal Partner Agencies: Challenges

26. Please briefly explain two or three main challenges limiting your interoperability with federal partner agencies, if applicable:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


Non-Federal Partner Entities

27. Has your agency required interoperable LMR communications with any of the following entities over the past 5 years?

(View question)

27a. State entities

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
41 14 55

27b. Local entities

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
45 9 54

27c. Tribal entities

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
18 32 50

28. Are there any challenges that have limited your interoperability with any non-federal partner entities? If so, please describe below.

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum Elements: Usage

The usage element of SAFECOM's interoperability continuum involves the familiarity with and usage of communications procedures and technologies across all types of events, including daily operations, planned events, and unplanned events.

(View question)

29. Does your agency provide loaner radios (i.e., shared radios for temporary use) to any of the following agencies or entities to communicate as needed?

(View question)

29a. Federal agencies within your Department

(View question)

Yes, on a routine
basis
Yes, on a case-by-case
basis
No
Don't know
Number of respondents
5 29 21 2 57

29b. Federal agencies outside your Department

(View question)

Yes, on a routine
basis
Yes, on a case-by-case
basis
No
Don't know
Number of respondents
6 27 22 2 57

29c. Non-federal entities (e.g., at the state, local, or tribal levels)

(View question)

Yes, on a routine
basis
Yes, on a case-by-case
basis
No
Don't know
Number of respondents
8 29 17 3 57

30. Are your agency's radios pre-programmed to be able to use NTIA-regulated Federal interoperability channels in tactical communications with other agencies?

Examples of these channels may include Law Enforcement, Incident Response, etc.

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
46 11 57

Please explain why your radios are not pre-programmed to this channel:

(View question)

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31. Are your agency's radios pre-programmed to be able to use FCC nationwide interoperability channels in tactical radio communications when authorized?

Examples of these channels may include VTAC, UTAC, 7TAC, 8TAC, etc.

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
40 17 57

Please explain why your radios are not pre-programmed to this channel:

(View question)

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SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum Elements: Technology

The technology element of SAFECOM's interoperability continuum involves standards and emerging communications technologies. This includes acquiring technologies that (i) meet user needs and standards, (ii) are compatible with other relevant technologies, and (iii) are sufficiently scalable to support response to day-to-day incidents as well as large-scale disasters.

(View question)

32. Have any of the following technology-related factors been implemented in your agency's operating environment?

(View question)

32a. Transition from conventional radio systems to trunked radio systems

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
12 18 27 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
5 3 0 1 3 12

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
6 7 27 5 45

32b. Use of IP-based systems or other technologies to “bridge” otherwise incompatible LMR systems (e.g., gateway)

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
9 23 25 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
6 1 0 0 2 9

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
9 10 17 11 47

32c. Use of software-defined radios

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
13 13 29 55

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
6 6 1 0 0 13

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
3 8 19 12 42

32d. Use of multi-band radios

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
21 16 19 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
11 7 2 0 1 21

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
9 7 14 5 35

32e. Increased use of standards-based and/or P25-compliant equipment

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
36 12 9 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
21 11 1 2 1 36

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
9 2 3 7 21

32f. Use of a dedicated interoperability channel

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
27 14 16 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
15 9 1 1 1 27

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
4 9 8 9 30

32g. Use of shared resources or systems (such as providing loaner radios or swapping radios with key partners)

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
27 16 13 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
20 7 0 0 0 27

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
1 4 17 7 29

32h. Use of console patching

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
16 15 25 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
9 6 1 0 0 16

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
4 11 13 12 40

33. Are there any other technology-related factors, not listed above, that have helped your agency's interoperability with key partners? If so, please describe below:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum Elements: Technology

34. To what extent, if at all, have the following factors hindered your agency's ability to maintain LMR interoperability with your partner agencies or entities?

(View question)

34a. Incompatible LMR communications equipment used by partner agencies or entities

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
8 12 15 15 7 57

34b. Proprietary standards or features in LMR systems used by partner agencies or entities

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
6 9 14 18 10 57

34c. Incompatible encryption capability with systems used by partner agencies or entities

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
8 10 9 21 9 57

34d. Limited funding to replace or upgrade incompatible or aging LMR equipment

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
28 11 5 8 5 57

34e. Unclear internal methods, procedures, processes or requirements for interoperability

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
5 15 12 16 9 57

34f. Inconsistent application of interoperability methods, procedures, processes or requirements across Federal Departments and agencies

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
6 14 13 12 12 57

35. Are there any other technology-related factors, not listed above, that have hindered your agency's interoperability with key partners? If so, please describe below:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum Elements: Training

The training and exercises element of SAFECOM's interoperability continuum involves implementing effective training and exercise programs to ensure that LMR users have the skills and capabilities to communicate effectively during emergencies.

(View question)

36. Does your agency maintain training plans detailing the type and frequency of training provided?

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
28 29 57

36a. Do the plans include integrated training with state and local first responders?

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
14 14 28

37. Have any of the following training-related factors been implemented in your agency's operating environment?

(View question)

37a. Training on standard operation procedures, continuity processes, and related topics

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
19 25 12 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
13 5 0 0 1 19

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
9 11 7 10 37

37b. Completion of National Incident Management System (NIMS) training

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
21 14 20 55

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
14 4 2 0 1 21

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
1 12 7 14 34

37c. Training related to accessing NTIA-regulated Federal interoperability channels

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
15 23 19 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
7 5 2 0 1 15

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
10 7 14 10 41

37d. Training related to accessing FCC nationwide interoperability channels

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
9 21 26 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
2 3 2 0 2 9

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
7 8 17 14 46

37e. Sharing best practices and lessons learned (e.g., from after-action reports)

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
23 15 18 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
10 12 0 0 1 23

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
6 7 9 11 33

37f. Training on LMR equipment for daily operations (e.g., on-the-job training)

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
32 17 8 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
21 7 2 1 1 32

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
5 7 5 8 25

37g. Training on LMR equipment for planned events

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
29 18 9 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
20 7 1 0 1 29

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
5 8 6 8 27

37h. Training on LMR equipment for unplanned events or emergency incidents

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
26 16 15 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
17 6 2 0 1 26

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
7 9 7 8 31

38. Are there any other training-related factors, not listed above, that have helped your agency's interoperability with key partners? If so, please describe below:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum Elements: Exercises

39. Have any of the following exercises-related factors been implemented in your agency's operating environment?

(View question)

39a. Exercises for agencies to test specific technologies and procedures

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
18 20 19 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
13 3 1 0 0 17

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
4 11 11 13 39

39b. Tabletop exercises including the mechanics of LMR communications

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
13 22 22 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
10 3 0 0 0 13

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
5 12 15 12 44

39c. Regular schedule of exercises to allow agencies to plan ahead and participate

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
16 16 25 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
13 3 0 0 0 16

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
3 13 11 14 41

39d. Joint exercises with key partners to gain familiarity with LMR equipment for daily operations

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
12 18 25 55

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
9 3 0 0 0 12

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
2 15 13 13 43

39e. Joint exercises with key partners to gain familiarity with LMR equipment for planned events

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
12 21 24 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
10 2 0 0 0 12

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
3 14 13 14 44

39f. Joint exercises with key partners to gain familiarity with LMR equipment for unplanned events or emergency

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
13 24 20 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
10 3 0 0 0 13

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
2 19 10 13 44

39g. Integrated exercises to include state and local first responders

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
13 18 26 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
11 1 1 0 0 13

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
1 12 14 17 44

40. Are there any other exercises-related factors, not listed above, that have helped your agency's interoperability with key partners? If so, please describe below:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum Elements: Governance

The governance element of SAFECOM's interoperability continuum involves decision-making groups or governance structures through which stakeholders collaborate and make coordinated decisions.

(View question)

41. Does your agency and/or Department have an established, centrally-coordinated internal governance structure with the ability to actively negotiate decisions or establish policies related to interoperability solutions for your agency or Department?

(View question)

41a. At the agency level

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
29 14 10 53

41b. At the Department level

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
27 6 21 54

42. Have any of the following governance-related factors been implemented in your agency's operating environment?

(View question)

42a. Established strategic planning process to address LMR operations

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
17 20 19 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
13 3 0 0 1 17

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
6 13 7 13 39

42b. An established governance structure within your agency to manage the use of LMR technologies

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
22 14 20 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
16 3 2 0 1 22

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
6 11 4 13 34

42c. Formalized agreements with key partners to strengthen governance among participants in the agreement (e.g., by working with regional or statewide governing bodies)

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
21 15 19 55

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
17 3 1 0 0 21

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
2 10 9 13 34

42d. Participation in an established inter-agency governance structure to coordinate on issues related to interoperability, such as spectrum policy, standards, compatible systems, etc.

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
24 15 17 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
15 5 3 0 1 24

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
3 7 9 13 32

42e. Participation in external emergency-communications-related working groups

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
21 15 19 55

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
9 9 3 0 0 21

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
2 9 9 14 34

42f. Leveraging state governing bodies (e.g., Statewide Interoperability Coordinators, Governing Boards, or Executive Committees)

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
12 10 32 54

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
6 3 3 0 0 12

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
4 8 13 17 42

42g. Requiring grant recipients (at state, local, or tribal level) to coordinate with federal agency administering grant

(View question)

Yes, implemented
No, not implemented Partially implemented Number of respondents
2 38 14 54

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
2 0 0 0 0 2

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
4 3 15 29 51

43. Are there any other governance-related factors, not listed above, that have helped your agency's interoperability with key partners? If so, please describe below:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum Elements: Governance

44. To what extent, if at all, have the following factors hindered your agency's ability to maintain LMR interoperability with your partner agencies or entities?

(View question)

44a. Differences in budget cycles of non-federal partner entities, making it difficult to coordinate equipment purchases

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
8 6 6 26 11 57

44b. Differences in funding priorities of non-federal partner entities, making it difficult to coordinate equipment purchases

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
11 3 6 25 12 57

44c. Differences in procurement cycles of federal partner agencies, making it difficult to coordinate equipment purchases (e.g., through strategic sourcing)

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
8 8 7 23 11 57

44d. Limited or ineffective coordination and cooperation among key partners, in general

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
8 10 13 16 10 57

44e. Limited availability of Federal spectrum

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
12 11 10 19 5 57

44f. Limited availability of non-Federal spectrum

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
6 7 11 20 13 57

44g. Differences in security requirements of LMR system among the key partners (e.g., encryption)

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
8 14 8 19 7 56

45. Are there any other governance-related factors, not listed above, that have hindered your agency's interoperability with key partners? If so, please describe below:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum Elements:
Standard Operating Procedures

The standard operating procedures (SOP) element of SAFECOM's interoperability continuum involves policies, practices and procedures, such as formal guidelines or instructions that enable emergency responders to coordinate across disciplines and jurisdictions to address common interoperability interests.

(View question)

46. Have any of the following governance-related factors been implemented in your agency's operating environment?

(View question)

46a. SOPs for sharing of encryption keys or agreeing to an encryption standard

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
14 13 30 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
11 2 1 0 0 14

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
5 11 14 11 41

46b. SOPs for using shared channels

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
20 20 17 57

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
16 3 1 0 0 20

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
4 13 11 7 35

46c. Integration of NIMS ICS structure in SOPs

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
14 11 31 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
13 0 0 1 0 14

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
4 8 11 17 40

46d. Involving non-Federal entities, such as state and/or local first responders, involved when developing your agency's SOPs

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
8 16 31 55

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
6 1 1 0 0 8

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
2 14 14 16 46

46e. Determination of an Incident Commander

(View question)

Yes, implemented
Partially implemented No, not implemented Number of respondents
30 6 20 56

How much, if at all, has this factor helped your agency's interoperability with key partners?

(View question)

Greatly helped Somewhat helped Slightly helped Has not helped Don't know Number of respondents
21 6 2 0 1 30

How much, if at all, is it a priority for your agency to implement this factor?

(View question)

High priority Medium priority Low priority Don't know Number of respondents
3 4 7 11 25

47. Are there any other SOP-related factors, not listed above, that have helped your agency's interoperability with key partners? If so, please describe below:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum Elements:
Standard Operating Procedures

48. To what extent, if at all, have the following factors hindered your agency's ability to maintain LMR interoperability with your partner agencies or entities?

(View question)

48a. Undefined or unclear command and control structure for interoperable communications during emergencies or unplanned events

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
2 11 10 20 14 57

48b. Lack of common procedures and protocols for emergency communications

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
6 12 9 19 11 57

48c. Partner agency or entity does not follow the agreed-upon SOP

(View question)

Greatly hindered Somewhat hindered Slightly hindered Has not hindered Don't know
Number of respondents
1 7 9 18 22 57

49. Are there any other SOP-related factors, not listed above, that have hindered your agency's interoperability with key partners? If so, please describe below:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


Policies, Directives, and Best Practices

50. Does your agency follow specific policies, directives, or best practices which prioritize achieving and maintaining LMR interoperable communications with key partners?

(View question)

Yes No Number of respondents
39 18 57

What are the source(s) of these policies, directives, or best practices?

(View question)

50a. My agency

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
33 3 1 37

50b. My Department

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
28 5 5 38

50c. External to my Department

(View question)

Yes No Don't know Number of respondents
25 5 7 37

Additional Comments

51. Please provide any additional comments you may have about your agency's LMR interoperability, including additional steps your agency is taking to facilitate interoperability and address remaining challenges:

(View question)

data intentionally not reported


End of Survey

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