"The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is built on a structure conceived in the 1950s when over-theair broadcasting was the best-available technology for widely disseminating emergency alerts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly administers EAS with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS), an organization within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NOAA/NWS weather radio system has been upgraded to include an all-hazard warning capability. Measures to improve the NOAA network and a new Digital Emergency Alert System (DEAS) are ongoing. DEAS benefits from the additional capacity that digital technology provides for message transmission. In addition, FEMA is developing the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to meet requirements for an alert system as specified by an Executive Order issued by President George W. Bush. When completed, IPAWS should be able to accept any legitimate alert or action announcement, verify it, and relay it to wide variety of communications devices. Legislation was passed at the end of the 109th Congress (Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act, or WARN Act, as signed into law as Title VI of P.L. 109-347) to assure funding to public television stations to install digital equipment to handle alerts. The law also required the establishment of a committee to provide the FCC with recommendations regarding the transmittal of emergency alerts by commercial mobile service providers to their subscribers."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32527