The Interoperability Evolution: A New Road Map

Speaking at the recent Tactical Interoperable Communications Conference in Washington, DC, in May, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff noted, "I’m going to tell you that the biggest barrier to interoperability is not technology. Here is...


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Disparate public-safety agencies have and will continue to evolve in the area of interoperability. While this may take years to assimilate into the collective public safety consciousness, it will eventually make the country much better prepared. For those who acknowledge that the interoperability world is round from the beginning, it will often take undaunted courage similar to that of Lewis and Clark when they explored and mapped the new frontier. This is a new public-safety frontier and until it is understood, fully explored and mapped – the silos that have limited communications will remain a barrier.


Charles Werner, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a 28-year veteran of the fire service and is fire chief of the Charlottesville, VA, Fire Department. Werner serves on a number of local, state and federal interoperability working groups, and is technology chair for the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association and chair of the Commonwealth of Virginia First Responder Executive Committee. In addition, he serves on the SAFECOM Executive Committee and Advisory Group.