National Nuclear Security Administration

Improving Emergency Communications Functionality at Lower Cost

January 22, 2016

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NNSA's Emergency Communications Network (ECN) provides the capability to exchange real-time voice, data, and video information for managing emergency situations that involve NNSA assets and interests. In 2015, emergency response support teams in NNSA’s Office of Emergency Operations vastly improved on the communications support available in these situations by revamping the mobile ECN systems. NNSA reduced the size of the ECN systems by approximately 88 percent and their cost by 60 percent, while increasing the available communications pathways by 300 percent.

Previous ECN Mobile systems cost about $400,000; weighed approximately 500 pounds and provided a single source of communications: satellite. New ECN Mobile systems cost approximately $145,000; weigh about 60 pounds and provide three sources of potential communications: satellite, Internet, any available cellular signal.

What does this improvement mean for the United States? More effective and efficient communications for NNSA personnel deployed as part of the nation’s radiological and nuclear emergency response capability, helping to provide security to the nation from the threat of nuclear terrorism.