Upcoming Events

Conference to Examine the Crisis in Public Safety Communications

The Crisis in Public Safety Communications

Friday, December 8, 2006          8:00 a.m. — 1:30 p.m.

George Mason University School of Law

3301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA

 (Virginia Square-GMU Orange Line Metro Stop)

Exactly five years to the day before the September 11, 2001, attacks, the FCC issued a report warning that a lack of interoperability among public safety emergency communications systems was preventing emergency personnel from protecting life and property. "Rescuing victims of the [1993] World Trade Center bombing, who were caught between floors, was hindered when police officers could not communicate with firefighters on the very next floor," the report stated. Sadly, it was precisely such interoperability problems that would prevent over 100 New York City firefighters from receiving an evacuation order on September 11th before the towers collapsed. Until an improved public safety communications system actually is implemented, tragic outcomes will continue to haunt first responders to public emergencies.

The Crisis in Public Safety Communications brings together prominent scholars, policymakers, and industry officials to discuss solutions to this deadly serious problem. Major telecommunications scholars will present groundbreaking research on what causes the lack of effective communication between local public safety personnel and how U.S. spectrum policies have failed to remedy this Balkanization problem.This research then will be discussed by two panels of industry executives, public safety officials, and policymakers with deep knowledge of the problems confronting us.

Admission is free, but seating is limited. To reserve your spot, please email Anil Caliskan, acaliska@gmu.edu. Parking passes available upon request.

Click here to register for this event online.

*Reporters should RSVP to Ginny Smith at 703-993-8007 or vsmith4@gmu.edu.


8:00 - 8:30 a.m.             Opening Remarks

Nancy Victory, Chair of FCC Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks, and formerly Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

8:30 - 10:00 a.m.           Perspectives from the Academic Community

10:00 - 10:10 a.m.       Break

10:10 - 11:10 a.m.         Perspectives from the Business Community

11:10 - 11:15 a.m.       Break

11:15 - 12:15 p.m.         Perspectives from the Policymaking Community 

  • Ken Moran, Acting Bureau Chief, Homeland Security Bureau, FCC (invited)
  • Chris Essid, Interoperability Coordinator, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Christine Kurth, Deputy Staff Director, Senate Commerce Committee
  • Adele Morris, Economist, US Department of the Treasury


12:15 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch and Luncheon Address

Charles Werner, Fire Chief with the City of Charlottesville, VA, Fire Department; past chair and present member of the Commonwealth of Virginia's Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee.

1:30 p.m.                      Conclusion

The Crisis in Public Safety Communications is co-sponsored by the Information Economy Project of the National Center for Technology and Law at George Mason University and the Mercatus Center.