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AuxComm Opportunities in ARES

The introduction of a formal
amateur radio operator position
within the Incident Command System
is the invitation to amateur radio to
formally participate in all aspects of
DHS/FEMA emergency service.


Background:
The FCC is responsible for all wire and wireless communications and licensing in the United States. FCC regulations and licensing requirements pertaining to amateur radio communications is found in FCC- CFR Part 97 - Amateur Radio Service.

Beyond the regulations and licensing, the FCC has delegated all activity and management of amateur radio matters to the ARRL. This includes training and code enforcement.

DHS and FEMA have introduced a formal position within the Incident Command System called the AuxComm radio operator. Its position description requirement is a licensed amateur radio operator with Public Service training or experience.

A job description and training regime have not yet been defined by DHS/FEMA. Thus far, the only organization with Public Service amateur radio training and familiarization is the ARRL ARES program.

This provides an outstanding opportunity for ARES to shape the AuxComm position description, performance and interfaces with the government and volunteer elements of Public Service.

To take advantage to this opportunity ARES must evolve and expand in four areas:
  • Expand its membership by recruiting new and existing amateur radio operators from the local HAM population, government emergency services agencies and departments and the volunteer organizations of the Citizen Corps Partner and Affiliate programs.

  • Expand its services to include:
    - a comprehensive range of training from ARRL and NIMS
    - training in network protocols, message prep and net operations
    - drills and exercises at the local organizational level, the county and the state

  • Establishment of Served Agency Agreements with government and volunteer "customer" organizations based on, and expanding on, the established Memoranda of Understanding between ARRL and various federal and volunteer organizations.

  • Establishment of an Local Interoperability Guide for all local government and volunteer emergency service organizations using amateur radio Public Service communications.

    Failing to sieze this opportunity would allow DHS/FEMA to encroach upon and overtake the ARRL/ARES amateur radio job descriptions and training in Public Service.

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