Exploring the plausibility of a national multi-agency communications system for the Homeland Security Community : a Southeast Ohio half-duplex voice over IP case study
Smith, Christopher S.
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Since 9-11, it has become apparent that the Homeland Security Community is comprised of more than first responders, and is, in essence, a Megacommunity, composed of three components: government, business and nonprofits. However, this has not translated into our communications strategies, which presently focus on radios for first responders in an emergency. Many reasons exist for not addressing this gap, including the myths that it is impossible or would be too expensive. Computer gamers, however, have been utilizing low-tech versions of half-duplex VoIP since the 1990s to connect millions worldwide. A Southeast Ohio VoIP system, consisting of health departments, hospitals, emergency management agencies, and their partners, has been testing a similar system since 2003. This thesis offers a definition of the Homeland Security Community, and provides criteria that were then used to evaluate six communications systems for use as integrated national systems, and to judge the plausibility of the Ohio system as a model. This thesis also proposes the concept of a "Universal Communicator" software system that would address the shortcomings of the Ohio system, and provide an inexpensive solution that would ideally address the nation's need for a national Homeland Security Community Real-Time Voice Communications system.
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