4
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS

This chapter surveys several aspects of emergency preparedness that affect Voice of America (VOA) planning and operations. The first two sections point out the importance of mission definition for an emergency and the interacting roles of VOA and emergency preparedness efforts of other government agencies. Once these functions are clearly prescribed, priorities and requirements for emergency preparedness can be addressed. The chapter finds that current emergency planning should be strengthened, particularly by attention to a systems approach and increased awareness of National Security Emergency Preparedness (NSEP) planning. Finally, the chapter recommends ten measures that should enhance the VOA’s ability to discharge its responsibilities in crisis.

MISSIONS

The VOA’s mission is to broadcast truthful, accurate information regarding the U.S. government’s policies and American cultural values to countries throughout the world. These broadcasts are currently transmitted in forty-two languages and represent a principal source of information about the United States to the indigenous populations of these countries. The VOA organization has extensive resources, including broadcast facilities and staff, and the operating policies and procedures necessary to conduct its day-to-day broadcast operations.

Although the present VOA resources operate well under normal conditions, they may not do so under emergency conditions. The VOA’s mission becomes even more critical during emergency situations. Therefore, emergency preparedness plans must be formulated to position essential operational resources, to ensure availability of critical communications, and to guide operations during emergency conditions.

The Committee reviewed the VOA’s emergency preparedness plans and the status of its emergency preparedness telecommunications. The Committee concluded that the VOA’s current emergency preparedness plans suffer from two flaws: (1) lack of a clear definition of what constitutes an emergency and (2) lack of a clearly defined mission to pursue in the event of an emergency. The current plans as written address rather trivial events which do not meet the most basic definition of an emergency: a sudden,



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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America 4 EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS This chapter surveys several aspects of emergency preparedness that affect Voice of America (VOA) planning and operations. The first two sections point out the importance of mission definition for an emergency and the interacting roles of VOA and emergency preparedness efforts of other government agencies. Once these functions are clearly prescribed, priorities and requirements for emergency preparedness can be addressed. The chapter finds that current emergency planning should be strengthened, particularly by attention to a systems approach and increased awareness of National Security Emergency Preparedness (NSEP) planning. Finally, the chapter recommends ten measures that should enhance the VOA’s ability to discharge its responsibilities in crisis. MISSIONS The VOA’s mission is to broadcast truthful, accurate information regarding the U.S. government’s policies and American cultural values to countries throughout the world. These broadcasts are currently transmitted in forty-two languages and represent a principal source of information about the United States to the indigenous populations of these countries. The VOA organization has extensive resources, including broadcast facilities and staff, and the operating policies and procedures necessary to conduct its day-to-day broadcast operations. Although the present VOA resources operate well under normal conditions, they may not do so under emergency conditions. The VOA’s mission becomes even more critical during emergency situations. Therefore, emergency preparedness plans must be formulated to position essential operational resources, to ensure availability of critical communications, and to guide operations during emergency conditions. The Committee reviewed the VOA’s emergency preparedness plans and the status of its emergency preparedness telecommunications. The Committee concluded that the VOA’s current emergency preparedness plans suffer from two flaws: (1) lack of a clear definition of what constitutes an emergency and (2) lack of a clearly defined mission to pursue in the event of an emergency. The current plans as written address rather trivial events which do not meet the most basic definition of an emergency: a sudden,

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America urgent occurrence requiring immediate action. This may be the result of the failure of appropriate officers of the government to provide a reasonable mission for VOA to pursue in the event of a defined emergency. The extant mission statement for emergencies --to continue broadcasting in the official United Nations languages -- is so vague that it fails to provide the guidance necessary to distinguish an emergency from, say, a failure of the plumbing system. Planning VOA emergency preparedness procedures is difficult, then, since the VOA lacks tangible mission objectives for emergency situations. The result of this failure is that the VOA's current emergency preparedness plans are wholly inadequate. They have not yet progressed beyond consideration of trivial events that may affect the ability of the VOA Washington staff to continue operations at current levels. Although the logic of the current effort is understandable --to begin at the most basic levels of emergency and work up to the most complex -- the starting point established was so localized that it seems to confuse inconvenience with real necessity for action. This is demonstrated by the number of occasions in the plans in which the defined "emergency" requires no adjustment of current operations. In fact, these occasions would not be emergencies. Emergency preparedness should be approached from the perspective of the VOA's fundamental mission in the event of an emergency. This requires both that the mission be made explicit and that the emergencies of concern be defined. A number of potential emergency missions are implied for the VOA by National Security Decision Directive Number 47 (NSDD-47), National Security Decision Directive Number 97 (NSDD-97), and Executive Order 11490. The current starting point—to continue broadcasting in the official United Nations languages—should be expanded to indicate (a) to what regions each language should be broadcast; (b) at what specific intervals (in hours or minutes) authority to determine broadcast content in these languages would cascade down the levels of responsibility to the individual relay stations; (c) what priorities of content exist for broadcast in each language; and (d) what the sources of content are to be in each language, particularly in news broadcasts, which cannot be prepared in advance. Directives for response to these issues should serve as the starting point in determining the VOA's required response to emergencies and thus the necessary technical personnel, facilities, and operations procedures to carry out emergency preparedness and, eventually, emergency operations. In particular, such directives would provide the necessary guidance to plan reliable, redundant, and reconstructable communications links among the facilities housing the personnel and equipment to carry out an emergency mission. Relying on the current, overly broad mission statement fails to consider key issues which will have great significance during periods when resources are strained and priorities uncertain. The expanded mission statement must also be consistent with NSEP requirements and indicate where appropriate interfaces with NSEP procedures are appropriate.

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America The VOA’s need for dissemination of critical broadcast information should be integrated into the NSEP process to assure planning for VOA communications connectivity. Information dissemination and facility requirements must be coordinated through the national NSEP program to ensure compatibility with facilities, national objectives, and priorities. ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND REQUIREMENTS At present, the VOA depends on other government agencies and organizations for emergency planning. Through NSDD-97 and Executive Order 12472, which define national security telecommunications policy and establish authorities and operating conditions, the United States Information Agency (USIA) was designated as one of the 22 member agencies of the Committee of Principals in the National Communications System. The Office of the Manager, National Communications System (OMNCS), is responsible for establishing NSEP telecommunications to support critical leadership functions of the federal government in times of emergency or national crisis. The Committee has learned from the OMNCS that the USIA has not addressed its NSEP responsibilities to participate in planning meetings, to identify appropriate emergency responses, and to ensure USIA and VOA participation in national emergency preparedness activities. So, while the VOA believes it should have an NSEP mission, a need to ensure continuity of operation, and a requirement for ensured communications connectivity in a national emergency, there is no evidence that current plans truly address an NSEP emergency. Effective NSEP planning requires, however, that the VOA have a mission as well-defined for emergencies as it does for its day-to-day operating mission. Only when the VOA has a well-defined NSEP mission and participates directly in emergency preparedness planning will it be able to plan for and exercise NSEP communications to support its national emergency obligations. In the Committee’s view, since the VOA has not received the support it perceives it needs from the USIA, the VOA should not continue to depend on the USIA for NSEP guidance. Rather, it should seek the agency representation authority and participate directly in NSEP planning. To support this action the VOA should prepare correspondence for the Director, USIA, nominating and designating a VOA principal as the representative to the Committee of Principals. The VOA’s emergency preparedness needs may be unique compared with those of other members of the Committee of Principals. For instance, one principal feature of the planning environment for emergency preparedness, articulated by the final report of the National Research Council’s Committee on National Security Telecommunications Policy Planning Environment (National Research Council, 1986), is that predesignated government executives may not be where they are needed in the aftermath of an emergency. Because of that, that committee recommended that all recovery and reconstitution efforts be planned and organized to start at bottom organization levels. But, given the VOA’s

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America international role, it is imperative that quick response to reconstitute viable linkages among news sources, editorial offices, studio facilities, and broadcast relay sites be planned, organized, and exercised to include participation by all levels of the VOA structure. It is difficult for foreign relay stations to broadcast without central direction, and they may be outside the emergency zone itself. Accordingly, personnel at these sites must have direction in advance of an emergency that would allow them to continue operations. Simple, standard operating procedures posted in prominent positions at each installation for use in emergencies would help onsite personnel in such circumstances. While continuing, they should also seek central direction over pre-established emergency links utilizing the full range of technological capabilities, including satellite, undersea cable, and high-frequency (HF) (including amateur) links, as well as alternate service monitoring of such broadcasters as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Armed Forces Radio & Television Services (AFRTS). The VOA should make reciprocal arrangements with such organizations to attempt emergency links on preselected frequencies or to use their wired satellite links as necessary to re-establish service as quickly as possible. The VOA’s emergency preparedness requirements for facilities, personnel, and logistics arise directly from its mission requirements and objectives under Executive Order 11490. During a national disaster, the VOA must be able to continue to broadcast in the six United Nations languages (namely, English, French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic) from both domestic and foreign relay stations and to transmit wireless files to U.S. missions abroad. To do this, the VOA must have continued access to National Command Authority messages, capabilities to develop programming material, technical means to communicate messages to broadcast and relay sites, and technical means to broadcast the messages to target audiences. DISASTERS AND PRIORITIES Significant Problems in Disasters Local and regional disasters might strain communications and logistics within the impacted areas and present a challenge to the VOA’s ability to cope with their effects, but national disasters constitute the most critical emergencies, presenting severe problems related to massive and widespread destruction to which the VOA must respond. In all cases the most critical problems facing the VOA are (1) to reconstruct the vital studio-to-transmitter links (STLs) to ensure continuity of broadcast operations and clear direction to remote relay stations regarding their roles in emergency responses and (2) to provide content for broadcast that will reassure world audiences of appropriate U.S. response to the emergency situation and continuity of government operations. The more severe and widespread the emergency situation, the more crucial the rapid reconstruction and programming activities are. The worst kind of

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America national disaster would be a nuclear attack or exchange, in which a significant portion of the United States’ national communications and governmental operations could be disabled or destroyed. It is for such cases that the VOA must have a well-articulated mission and the emergency preparedness planning required to ensure that that mission can be implemented successfully. A nuclear exchange most likely will be preceded by a heightened period of tensions. The VOA’s mission during this period could become critically important to ensure that the U.S. message is received and understood throughout the world by both allies and adversaries. During and after the hostilities, the VOA must have the means to perform its mission to assure the world that U.S. governmental functions are continuing, thus providing public reassurance and preventing interdiction by third parties. A national disaster will strain all traditional communication and logistics resources severely, and it will present the VOA with a situation in which restoration will be particularly complex. A national disaster planning process with resources limited to those the VOA has currently in place cannot ensure continuity of operations. The VOA’s challenge is to search for innovative, cost-effective approaches to maximize the chances of mission success in the most difficult of situations. Dependence on “bottom-up” reconstitution and low-technology solutions will facilitate efforts to reconstitute studio-to-transmitter links (STLs) when main installations are damaged. Dependence on local authorities and radio facilities to reestablish broadcasting capability is more likely to allow a quick return to the air than would elaborate national plans dependent on reconstructing VOA’s main facilities (p. 10 in National Research Council, 1986). Mission Priorities While the VOA’s overall mission during disasters is to continue uninterrupted operations, limited resources dictate that certain priorities must be established. In preparing for a national disaster, the starting point should be the planning for critical backup communications for studio facilities and STLs to the highest-priority broadcast and relay facilities. In addition, chosen audience areas should be prioritized to use available resources most effectively. Language specialists, newswriters, and other specialists unique to the VOA mission should be identified, to be drawn on if a national emergency occurs. While the priority designation process should be predetermined, it may become necessary to carry it out in near-real time. This suggests the need for competent, well trained people in the field, where the reconstitution of mission capability can be effectively initiated. And, as stated earlier, it is here that clear directives for field operations and efforts to reestablish central direction from both field sites and central control are essential. Field operations directives

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America must state simply and clearly the authority that may be assumed and the operating procedures to be followed, including those for restoring relay communications until STLs have been reconstituted. The VOA should also establish a system similar to that of the National Defense Executive Reserve, using personnel in diverse geographic areas where backup studio facilities are located who can provide programming for continuing VOA relay-site operations. THE VOICE OF AMERICA’S EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS REQUIREMENTS The VOA’s emergency preparedness requirements for facilities, personnel, and logistics arise directly from modification of its mission during disasters. During a national disaster, the VOA must have the following capabilities: Continued access to the National Command Authority’s message Ability to develop programming material Technical means to communicate messages to broadcast and relay sites Technical means to broadcast the messages to target audiences. The VOA must ensure that it has the physical plant, communications links, trained personnel, and logistics to achieve these objectives. From this perspective, the Committee finds several attributes that the VOA system requires for NSEP: survivability, endurability, flexibility, ingenuity, and the ability to restore and reconstitute the system. Survivability To fulfill its mission during a national disaster, the VOA must ensure the survivability of its personnel, facilities, and communications links. Technical means to accomplish survivability range from “hardening” to protect against nuclear effects, including electromagnetic pulse, to creating backups. Good engineering practice for lightning protection may suffice to harden sites against electromagnetic radiation from atmospheric nuclear bursts. But the VOA should consider at least some minimum measures to protect against effects of high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) on ground systems. Low-level, control, and signal circuits are likely to be vulnerable. The VOA should also consider some measures to protect against effects of high-altitude nuclear detonation on ionospheric propagation. However, the extent of protection depends on the nature of the requirements for mission performance and operational continuity. Such requirements have not been set forth by VOA in a form definite enough to allow decisions on the priorities and extent of HEMP protection. For example, the duration of allowable service outages during and after a nuclear attack and the extent of necessary

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America geographical coverage all affect decisions on the nature of backup power provision and radio frequency circuit protection. The Committee on National Security Telecommunications stated in its annual report (National Research Council, 1985) that “adequate attention to lightning protection is quite likely to suffice in many cases for EMP [electromagnetic pulse] protection as well. For example, sensitive semiconductor devices must be isolated from the electromagnetic radiation pickup of long cables. This is well-known radio-wavelength radiation practice for lightning protection…CMOS [complementary metal oxide semiconductors], NMOS [n-type metal oxide semiconductors], and bipolar devices are not significantly different in basic vulnerability to radio-frequency radiation, while GaAs ICs [gallium arsenide integrated circuits] are likely to be slightly more vulnerable. Single, opto-electronic devices such as lasers and detectors are far less vulnerable because of their inherent design for high bias values: high, forward-biased current in lasers and high, reverse-bias voltage in the detectors. Conventional, vacuum, electronic devices are inherently rugged, and even the micro-integrated versions are likely to retain this capability.” (pp. 24–25) Thus, the Committee concludes that good engineering practice for lightning protection, supplemented by protection against radiation pulses coming in on the power lines by zener diodes or gas-discharge tubes, will provide adequate survivability against HEMP. In addition to the coupling of HEMP through power lines, direct radiative coupling of HEMP also occurs, with possible destruction of semiconductor devices in VOA circuits. However, this is a less severe threat than in military electronic equipment because of the different nature of the circuits. Nevertheless, the threat should be considered and military penetration protection device technology should be fitted if warranted. Finally, the waveform and spectrum of HEMP differ from those of lightning in having faster rise times and consequently higher frequency components. Accordingly, if extensive digital multiplexing were to become a part of the VOA design, such circuits would be vulnerable to the HEMP “upset” phenomenon. Under “upset” the circuits components are not destroyed, but their logical and numerical operation is temporarily compromised until they can be reset to initial conditions. Power to operate relay and broadcast facilities, however, presents another survivability problem. Here, the Committee on National Security Telecommunications (p. 9 in National Research Council, 1985) concluded that “…power will be largely unavailable in the more highly stressed situations.” The VOA should prepare for this eventuality by providing its alternate sites with standby power generating facilities and the fuel to run them for extended periods. Protected power has been engineered as part of such military communications systems as the Ground Wave Emergency Network (GWEN). VOA might find GWEN backup power technology and design helpful in case of commercial power failure.

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America Changes in the ionosphere following a nuclear detonation could cause disruptions preventing transmission of HF signals for extended periods of time, as long as 24 hours. Even at very-high frequency (VHF), satellite links will have outages under such conditions lasting from 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on frequency, with lower frequencies being affected for longer times than higher frequencies. At ultra-high frequency (UHF), ionospheric disturbances induced by nuclear blasts may impair transmission for days. At super-high frequency (SHF), impairment may last for a couple of hours. At extremely-high frequency (EHF), scintillation is not a major problem. Thus the VOA should maintain and use a flexible mix of communications means and interfaces, at different frequencies, to assure continued operation in the event that any single means of communications is interrupted by a range of possible disruptions due to physical or EMP disturbances. Multiple detonations may cause longer-lasting effects over greater geographical areas. The VOA’s options for coping with contingencies caused by ionospheric disturbances may be limited to broadcasting from the alternate transmitter site(s) outside the affected region. The VOA should consider alternative means of disseminating the broadcast message to these transmitter sites. The alternative means could be satellites and low-cost receive-only terminals at alternate transmitter sites. However, alternative transmitter sites will not help if the audience area is affected. Technologies such as direct audio broadcasting by satellite (DBS-A) could help solve this problem. DBS-A systems will operate at microwave frequencies and thus have greater immunity to the effects of atmospheric scintillation. In addition, the portion of the satellite signal propagation path through the atmosphere will be much smaller than that for terrestrial, HF transmissions. Even so, appreciable immunity will require appropriate processing of the satellite signals at both ends of the path. However, the regulatory, fiscal, and technical hurdles facing DBS-A make it unlikely that this solution can be available within the next decade. Geographic dispersion of facilities is a traditional engineering approach to promote the survivability of technical systems. This approach would work particularly well during local and regional disasters. It also may work during a national disaster if sufficient redundancy is provided. For STLs, that could be done through planned redundancy of commercial services, both terrestrial and satellite. The VOA should not assume it necessary to construct its own backup facilities, since this approach has disadvantages—primarily the high costs of building and maintaining the backups. System planners for VOA should consider the possibility of co-siting some VOA sites with GWEN sites. Land is already available, the sites are dispersed, and VOA personnel would not be as vulnerable as in Washington, D.C. Co-siting studios and studio-transmitter links with university and commercial broadcast sites are also good ideas. In addition, many hospitals have usable emergency power. The VOA should attempt to ensure survivability

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America through innovative approaches to redundancy, such as use of mobile facilities and possibly commercial broadcast facilities and colocation of VOA-unique systems at existing commercial or public communications and broadcasting stations. For example, a mobile, news-gathering van could serve multiple purposes as a satellite relay station from or to emergency locations such as command centers, temporary studios, relay sites, or broadcasting sites. At the first warning of hostilities, the mobile facilities could be directed to proceed to their preassigned locations or to any other locations that might be dictated by the particular situation. In addition, the mobile, news-gathering unit could be used on a day-to-day basis to extend the quality and accuracy of news reporting by having live, on-scene coverage. Every major city in the United States has a number of commercial broadcast studios to serve the local markets. VOA’s needs for studios during emergencies could be met by commercial studios and broadcast facilities that could also serve as communications relay facilities to the VOA broadcasting sites. The Committee believes that the cost of connecting these studios to the broadcasting sites may be much less than the life-cycle cost of developing VOA’s own alternate studio and broadcasting sites. Interconnection could be either AM or FM, with rebroadcast at HF from the broadcasting sites. Commercial satellite terminals could also be used to provide critical, redundant, communications paths between studio facilities and broadcasting sites. Another attractive aspect of ensuring survivability through geographical dispersion lies in locating VOA-unique systems on, or adjacent to, existing commercial or public communications terminals. These terminals are connected to the outside world through a variety of systems such as microwave, fiber-optic cable, and satellites. At the same time, they are technically equipped to service the VOA functions. VOA-unique equipment may have to be added, such as small, HF, relay antennas and transmitters or satellite earth-station transmitters and receivers, but the cost of these additions would be much less than that of developing a complete, new, facility complex. Such facilities are referred to as cooperative facilities. Endurability Endurability is the ability to continue to operate for a specified period when equipment and facilities fail sporadically. The length of time that a system may continue to operate is based on the degree of system redundancy and the availability of necessities such as food and fuel. The VOA’s communications system should be prepared to endure for up to several months before resupplying. This requirement will dictate the number of spares and the amounts of consumables and supplies that will be required. In a general nuclear war scenario it is unlikely that any of our major U.S. transmitter sites will endure without their own standby, emergency-power generation, since they depend on the national power grid, which is expected to be down. Lacking adequate standby power-generating capability at U.S. transmitter sites, the VOA’s operational endurability will depend on U.S. communications links to overseas transmitter sites.

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America Flexibility Flexibility is the ability to use a variety of communications means and interfaces to respond promptly to emergency needs. It also implies the ability to use surviving facilities, whether fixed, mobile, or appropriated under emergency powers, to perform the mission under adverse circumstances. Planning for emergency communications will be critically important in establishing a capability to interconnect surviving VOA facilities. Flexibility and survivability are closely related. For example, a system with fixed primary and fixed backup facilities lacks flexibility compared to a system comprising both fixed and mobile facilities. Neither is the system with fixed primary and fixed backup as survivable as the system with both fixed and mobile facilities. The VOA should avoid the simplistic approach of relying solely on fixed, VOA-owned facilities. Ingenuity Ingenuity is difficult to translate into specific technical requirements. However, ingenuity implies system resiliency and is most evident in the technical level and proficiency of the work force. VOA should pay special attention to training and exercising its staff as part of its preparation for emergency situations. It should also understand that effective reconstitution of technical facilities usually is more effective when the whole organization approaches it from a “bottom-up,” as well as “top-down,” perspective. In that regard the development of effective and simple standard operating procedures that grass-roots personnel can use will call for a high level of ingenuity from the planners. Restoration and Reconstitution of Communications and Mission Capability Operational capability and communications interconnectivity cannot be easily reconstituted from a top-down approach. Top-down reconstitution is generally unworkable. Generally the top echelon has the least likelihood of survival, particularly if it is situated in the Washington, D.C. area. Also, the majority of the mission objectives can be carried out by the lower-echelon organizations provided well thought-out emergency plans and procedures are in place. Dispersed, lower-echelon, operating units are more likely to survive, and local leadership will emerge. With adequate emergency planning and well trained and well equipped operating personnel, the lowest-level, operational units can reconstitute operational capability rapidly. Consequently,

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America plans and procedures should be developed for bottom-up reconstitution of operational VOA capabilities in the event of a national disaster. Furthermore, periodic exercising of plans and procedures will provide insight into their strengths and weaknesses and help identify additional capabilities and resources required for emergency preparedness. Such bottom-up reconstitution will require pre-positioning of programming material and critical logistic support items at backup studios, relay sites, and broadcast facilities. As operational control is restored, the VOA can envision the escalation of command or management authority until a full, top-down, communications capability is re-established. THE VOICE OF AMERICA’S CURRENT EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLANS The VOA’s current emergency preparedness plans are designed to cope only with limited contingencies for facilities and people rather than with the VOA’s ability to perform its mission under conditions of national disaster. These plans do not address the important aspects of emergency preparedness. They have been created in a vacuum, in the absence of direction from the USIA or participation by that parent agency in NSEP telecommunications planning. Moreover, the current plans are deficient in their failure to address staffing and organizational requirements. The plans seem to assume that all the VOA people somehow will appear magically at the VOA’s backup facilities, that all communications will be available with no facilities impaired, and that day-to-day operations will be resumed easily once everyone is in place. Much more attention must be devoted to the people, communications facilities, electric power, organizational structure, operating procedures, and logistics to define how the facilities will be manned and operated. This approach will lead to the development of more acceptable emergency planning. Specifically, the Committee recommends the following steps: Drafting a mission statement for the various levels of VOA facilities, including headquarters, backup news production and studio sites, and relay stations. The mission statement should assign specific responsibilities to each level, including operating authority and simple, standard, operating procedures to be followed in seeking both system reconstitution and alternative program content. Consultation with telecommunications network designers to determine reasonable technical means to reconstitute STLs in the event of a national emergency Consultation with private-sector news-gathering, broadcasting, and telecommunications service providers to establish procedures for emergency use of equipment such as mobile, news-gathering vans, alternative studios, and satellite transponders Establishing an emergency preparedness office at each VOA backup site and relay station, and providing the authority to this office to locate sources of necessary fuel, food, supplies, and transportation for short-term operations.

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America SYSTEMS APPROACH TO EMERGENCY PLANNING Planning Fundamentals Planning emergency preparedness is difficult for the VOA since it lacks a tangible mission objective during a national emergency. The requirement of simply being able to “broadcast in six primary languages” fails to take into consideration key issues which may have greater significance when resources are limited and priorities must be established. A definitive emergency mission statement should include a vision of how the VOA contributes to our national objectives and fulfills an NSEP requirement. The statement should also include why, what, when, and where messages should be broadcast and in what languages. Without a rationale consistent with NSEP it will be difficult to get support or funding for a viable VOA emergency preparedness program. Emergencies that require immediate action must be defined. These emergencies should include sudden, urgent events affecting the abilities of the Washington staff to deliver program content to relay sites and of the relay stations to deliver program content to audiences. Thus, both domestic and international emergencies must be addressed. Any events that do not affect one of these two abilities should not be included in emergency preparedness plans, but may be included in standard operating procedures governing day-to-day activities in the VOA. In this, it is essential that the VOA staff distinguish clearly between real emergency situations and localized, daily inadvertencies such as temporary loss of plumbing or air conditioning. The emergency plans outlined should be clear, direct, and simple. Although such plans should be complete, their effectiveness will be positively related to their brevity. Overly complex plans, excessive contingencies, and attention to trivia will compromise the effectiveness of the plans in two ways. First, efforts to become familiar with the plans prior to an emergency will be frustrated, thus resulting in minimal understanding by important personnel. Second, efforts to use the plans in the event of an emergency will be frustrated, thus resulting in personnel having to improvise responses during the emergency, with the inevitable loss of coordinated activity across the system. Because the emergency plans fail to define genuine emergencies or to address the emergency planning adequately, the Committee was not surprised to find that the VOA’s current emergency staffing plans had not considered the hurdles, such as the lack of transportation-facilities, that may impact manning and provisioning of the backup facilities. One possible solution to the need to relocate VOA expert staff from the Washington, D.C. area to the backup sites during emergencies might be to transfer some of the technical functions to the backup sites permanently.

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America Responsibility for developing and implementing emergency preparedness plans should rest with a single authority, composed of a single office of two or three individuals in a clear chain of command. If there is to be an emergency preparedness office, that office should also be prepared and authorized to respond to an emergency by taking charge when it occurs and ensuring that the emergency mission of the VOA is executed. The personnel in the emergency preparedness office should be those most familiar with the plans for emergency response, and should take charge until the emergency situation stabilizes sufficiently to allow normal operational channels to function. In the Committee’s view, the head of that office should also be a member of the Committee of Principals of the National Communications System. Dispersed and Cooperative Facilities The weakest link in the VOA system is the vulnerability of the single most important element—the VOA infrastructure, in Washington, D.C., for generating and disseminating programming material. Therefore, it is apparent that the single most important VOA emergency preparedness recommendation is to provide for some program origination and distribution capabilities outside the Washington, D.C. area. Although relocation of the Washington, D.C. facilities may not be feasible, it may be possible to create some sort of ready reserve capability at a few less vulnerable locations, perhaps in the vicinity of VOA domestic relay sites. Relocating critical VOA facilities at less vulnerable, less urban, geographic areas would increase the possibility of continuous operation in a national disaster. Today’s modern communications systems are virtually insensitive to distance between broadcast studios and broadcast sites. Since the location of studios is irrelevant to the VOA’s day-to-day operations, it is reasonable to disperse critical facilities to areas that offer minimum vulnerability and high availability of essential operational support resources such as interpreters, food, fuel, water, standby power generation, and communications facilities. Studio facilities and other support resources needed for daily operations should be colocated at those broadcast facilities. Colocation will not increase the vulnerability of broadcast facilities, and relocation to less vulnerable sites will increase the possibility of VOA’s overall, operational survivability. The Committee’s recommendation to colocate studios with the broadcast facilities does not mandate that the studio and transmitter sites be the same; only that they be located in the same geographic area. Because of the VOA’s unique requirements for interpreters, it may be desirable to locate the studio near a university with large, foreign-language departments. One efficient approach to relocation of critical VOA facilities might be to install the studio on a university campus, particularly if the university has a media communications department and a radio station.

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America Cooperation between the VOA and universities with language and media communications programs could give rise to a low-cost approach to providing redundant studio facilities and interpreters. Universities are also located in areas that can provide needed support facilities such as food, fuel, housing, and manpower. Arrangements could be made with local schools, law-enforcement agencies, fuel-distribution centers, local power authorities, and local National Guard units to provide a full range of support services, resources, and supplies to meet the VOA’s emergency operational requirements. Program Content Alternative sources of news content should be considered and defined, including such emergency measures as monitoring other broadcasters, such as the BBC World Service or AFRTS, to allow continuation of newscasts when U.S. VOA or other domestic sources may not be available. Normal VOA HF facilities can be used, or satellite connectivity can be established between these alternative news sources and backup studio, relay, or broadcast facilities. Programming material for day-to-day operations can be transmitted from Washington or any other desired location by satellite. Under emergency conditions, programming material could be transmitted directly from any site, such as a relocation center, through a mobile, news-gathering, satellite earth station. The mobile satellite earth station could be located at the National Command Authority fallback site. The mobile station also could be used for both daily and emergency operations to provide on-site news-gathering communications directly to the VOA studio. Permanent relocation of VOA studios also would reduce the amount of preparation needed for emergency operations under disaster conditions. Such relocation would not only provide a low-cost solution to emergency preparedness, but could also reduce the cost of daily operations considerably. Pretaped, “canned,” programming material should be created and a system established to update it in near-real time. This can be implemented in our interactive data-base system and can even be digitally encrypted for transmission security. Procedures for the devolution of operational management and control functions should contain conditions and procedures for the use of this canned material. System Connectivity The key element to preparing the VOA for emergencies is providing the redundant communications capability to ensure connectivity between critically needed VOA facilities and key personnel. The proliferation of satellite communications capability, both domestic and international, provides a viable and relatively low-cost means for establishing critical communications links. The Committee recommends that the VOA develop a communications master plan that would include

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America small, satellite earth stations to be located at primary and backup VOA facilities. While each major facility should have a two-way, satellite communications capability, it is also desirable to have multiple, receive-only capabilities at many of the sites. Low-cost, satellite, receive-only capability could be established with extremely low-cost connectivity from several different satellite sources. For example, a single VOA station could have receive-only equipment monitoring several different satellites, such as two domestic and two international satellites. The smaller stations could be tuned to preset frequencies on single-carrier-per-channel transponders; or could even be tuned to frequencies on video transponders where audio transmissions can be carried on one of the video subcarriers. This could serve a twofold purpose: (1) to receive video news broadcasts on any of the affiliate news-gathering and relay transponders and (2) to include an emergency preparedness procedure that would allow VOA audio to be carried on one of the transponder subcarriers in the event of a national emergency. The receive-only, audio, earth stations can be installed and placed into operation for as little as $2,500 per installation, with only a small, monthly, recurring charge for operation and maintenance and periodic testing, unless there is an intent to use these stations for day-to-day operations. In any event, the Committee recommends that a satellite architectural study be undertaken by the VOA that would support the implementation of this type of capability to provide its NSEP communications. AWARENESS OF NATIONAL SECURITY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLANNING Survivability of communications links poses another major challenge. The VOA is one of the 22 federal agencies designated to participate in NSEP telecommunications. NSEP telecommunications systems are designed specifically to be survivable. In addition, they are being designed to meet the critical, communications needs of leadership functions of the government, including post-nuclear-attack restoration. The VOA should monitor NSEP telecommunications plans actively to ensure that its needs are being considered and included. As part of its participation in the NSEP program, the VOA should take advantage of the emergency preparedness planning activities of the Department of Defense, especially those being initiated as a result of recommendations by the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). The NSTAC was established by the Reagan Administration to provide advice to the President on telecommunications matters related to our national security. Through NSTAC-initiated studies, recommendations are being provided regarding means to enhance NSEP telecommunications. One of the recommendations adopted was the formation of the National Coordinating Center (NCC), manned by representatives of the telecommunications industry and federal government agencies participating in the National Communications System. The NCC is a focal point for planning to address real-time crises and to provide a means to coordinate NSEP activities among the

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America telecommunications carriers and the government agencies. While many independent initiatives are being undertaken by each of the participating federal agencies, cooperative initiatives and planning by the NCC provide a forum through which all participants can benefit from individual, emergency preparedness programs. The VOA’s participation in the NCC would provide an opportunity to take part in day-to-day emergency-preparedness planning, procedure preparation, and real-time exercises. This participation also would provide VOA access to representatives of the agencies, operating companies, and organizations primarily responsible for restoring communications during a national emergency or crisis. Developing a closer, working relationship with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would also be useful, since the VOA’s emergency preparedness plans must address the issues of logistics and the provision of facilities and consumables such as fuel, food, water, and supplies. The VOA could acquire useful information from FEMA plans and supplement them, where necessary, to meet its own specific needs. In the domestic situation, emergency preparedness plans for the VOA should interface with those of FEMA. It would be helpful to the VOA to use FEMA capabilities to establish emergency links to domestic relay stations from both Washington and alternative operations sites, or to earth stations that would link domestic VOA operations with those of foreign relay stations. But the VOA should not depend solely on the capabilities of FEMA. It should also have prepared backup links itself. The VOA is uniquely able to provide such links, in part by using its own HF capability. This capability should be provided at each domestic VOA site, with a set of frequencies selected in advance for emergency transmissions to relay stations, and for program feeds to these stations. RECOMMENDATIONS The VOA has a critical role in communicating the U.S. government’s policies to the outside world over a full range of crises. Therefore, its emergency preparedness plans must consider the survivability of facilities, people, communications links, and logistics—not simply the survivability of a single, backup, broadcast facility. The Committee recommends ten measures to help the VOA achieve this goal: The VOA should have a clearly articulated, emergency mission statement based on a definition of emergency that will trigger appropriate responses. This statement should be applicable to all levels of VOA personnel and operations. The VOA should not rely on the United States Information Agency for emergency-planning guidance; instead, it should seek the authority to designate a VOA principal as a representative to the Committee of Principals of the National Communications System. The VOA should adopt a systems approach to developing its emergency preparedness plans. That approach considers the

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America interrelationship of facilities, people, communications links, electric power, organizational structure, and logistics and develops an emergency preparedness system in which these interrelationships may be optimized. The VOA system should be survivable, endurable, flexible, and ingenious. These attributes pertain to the total system and guide the design of the systems supporting day-to-day VOA operations. The VOA should develop emergency plans to meet these systemic requirements that are clear, direct, and simple and that can be implemented by a single authority. To ensure survivability of facilities, the VOA should plan for a mix of fixed, mobile, and cooperative facilities. Many cooperative facilities could be created with the installation of a small equipment complement to meet the VOA’s unique needs at existing studios and transmitter sites. Commercial broadcast studios or college campus studios could offer an alternative to implementing backup VOA studios. Alternative emergency news sources should also be identified. High-altitude nuclear detonation presents a special challenge for the protection of electronics systems and high-frequency (HF) propagation. Good engineering design and implementation practices may generally suffice to reduce high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) vulnerability. The effect of HF propagation outages can be mitigated by equipping alternative transmitter sites, distributed so that some will presumably be outside the detonation area, with low-cost, receive-only satellite terminals to receive broadcast material relayed via satellites from VOA centers affected by HF propagation disturbances. But the VOA should guard against total inoperability, even of alternative sites, by providing them with standby power-generating facilities and the fuel to run them for extended periods. To ensure availability of communications links, the VOA should implement alternative satellite communications capabilities and directly participate as the United States Information Agency representative in the National Security Emergency Preparedness (NSEP) program to ensure that VOA telecommunications system requirements are included. The VOA should monitor the NSEP telecommunications systems implementation to ensure that its requirements are being met. To meet this recommendation the Committee believes that the VOA will have to become a member of the NSEP Committee of Principals and should seek USIA authority to do so. The VOA should consider partial relocation of its technical systems and technical staff from the Washington, D.C. area to more suitable sites, preferably with geographic dispersion. With the communications resources available today, colocation of policy and technical functions is no longer required. Relocation of technical functions, including translation to a remote site, will reduce expenses during peacetime and enhance survivability under disaster scenarios. The VOA should ensure continuing links between its technical centers and relay sites using developed HF capability or satellite links. Since multiple, large-scale, backup facilities would be prohibitively costly, serious consideration should be given to the

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Antennas, Satellite Broadcasting, and Emergency Preparedness for the Voice of America relocation of primary VOA operational facilities in areas of minimum vulnerability. The VOA’s emergency preparedness plans also should consider standby power, food, water, fuel, and other consumables so that operations can continue for extended periods without resupply. REFERENCES National Research Council. 1985. The Policy Planning Environment for National Security Telecommunications: Annual Report to the National Communications System. Washington: National Academy Press. National Research Council. 1986. The Policy Planning Environment for National Security Telecommunications: Final Report to the National Communications System. Washington: National Academy Press.