President Barack Obama has expanded the powers of the Department of Homeland Security, granting it the authority to prioritize and re-establish communication networks in the event of a national security emergency or natural disaster.
Obama signed an executive order on Friday that allows for Homeland Security to re-establish communications “through the use of commercial, government, and privately owned communications resources, when appropriate.”
The order also says that the Homeland Security secretary, in conjunction with the defense secretary, would “serve as the federal lead for the prioritized restoration of communications infrastructure and coordinate the prioritization and restoration of communications, including resolution of any conflicts in or among priorities.”
“The Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions. Survivable, resilient, enduring, and effective communications, both domestic and international, are essential,” the order says.
The Daily Caller points out that the federal government already has its own emergency communications network, the National Communications System, which allows members of the federal government to make use of private carriers during the event of a disaster.
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