Energy Communications: National Communications System Provides Programs for Priority Calling, but Planning for New Initiatives and Performance Measurement Could Be Strengthened, Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate [open pdf - 898KB]
"Government functions and effective disaster response and management rely on the ability of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) personnel to communicate. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Communications System (NCS), is responsible for ensuring continuity of NS/EP communications when network congestion or damage occurs. As requested, GAO assessed the (1) priority communication programs NCS provides, how it enlists subscribers, and to what extent NCS controls access to these programs; (2) challenges that can affect delivery of these programs; and (3) extent to which NCS plans for and evaluates its services. GAO reviewed NCS program documents, such as annual reports and access control procedures and data on program subscribers. GAO also interviewed officials from NCS and select state and local government entities. GAO compared NCS performance measures to federal best practices."