Washington, D.C. – Rob Strayer, Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Homeland Security Project, issued the following statement regarding a provision allocating additional radio spectrum to first responders, which was included in the payroll tax legislation that passed Congress today. This provision will lead to the implementation of a 9/11 Commission recommendation:
“More than a decade after the 9/11 attacks, the payroll tax legislation that passed today will assign an important section of spectrum, known as the D block, to public safety agencies, allowing them to build an interoperable broadband network that will bring together diverse agencies and support mission critical voice, video, text, and other data transmissions. This allocation will lead to the fulfillment of a major unfinished 9/11 Commission recommendation.
“The inability of first responders to communicate with each other was a critical failure on 9/11. Incompatible and inadequate communications systems led to needless loss of life. To remedy this failure, the 9/11 Commission recommended legislation to provide for the expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes. 9/11 Commission co-chairs Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, through their task force at the Bipartisan Policy Center, have persistently urged Congress to implement this recommendation.”