Today DHS published an announcement in the Federal Register (77 FR 65393) for a teleconference of the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) on November 5th, 2012. The NSTAC advises the President on matters related to national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) telecommunications policy. This teleconference is a public meeting.
There are three items on the current agenda; two subcommittee updates (no action expected) and the approval of a letter report to the President. The subcommittee reports address;
• The Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network Subcommittee is examining the national security/emergency preparedness implications of the NPSBN and how to allow priority access during national security events; and
• The Secure Government Communications Scoping Subcommittee is looking at the use of commercial-off-the-shelf technologies (COTS) to secure unclassified government agency communications.
During the period of June to September of this year the NSTAC conducted a review of the operations of the DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). According to the notice the purpose of the study was to determine whether the NCCIC has developed in ways consistent with previous NSTAC recommendations. A letter report has been prepared for review and approval.
Another Late Announcement
This is the third announcement of a DHS NPPD sponsored meeting that was not published within the 15 day time limit required by government regulations; this was published 10 days before the meeting so it does provide more advanced notice the previous two. And the reason does appear to be more legitimate:
“A notice of the meeting of the NSTAC is being published in the Federal Register with less than 15 days notice due to an effort to assure the accuracy and validity of the NSTAC meeting agenda and contents. NSTAC changes in leadership and stakeholder approval of the NSTAC meeting discussion points created a longer than usual adjudication process.”
If it weren’t for the two previous very short term notifications (three days in one case) by NPPD, this probably would not be worth mentioning. And this is a teleconference so no one has to make travel and lodging arrangements to attend this meeting. Having said that, the final sentence of this notice bothers me:
“Although the meeting notice was published in the Federal Register late, the agenda will be published on the NCS Web site: www.ncs.gov [presumably by the October 30th date mentioned in the notice - PJC] and an email will be sent out to the NSTAC Members.”
This ignores one of the main purposes of requiring a 15 day notice be published in the Federal Register. That is to inform the public so that they may participate/observe the deliberations of this private body that provides information and insights to the President. Again, not such a big deal since this is a teleconference, but the attitude bothers me.
The public can listen in on these deliberations (register with Ms Gallop-Anderson via email - firstname.lastname@example.org) by 5:00 pm EST on October 29th, 2012. There will be a public comment period at the end of the meeting and registration is also required for that. Documents associated with this meeting will be posted on the NSTAC web site by October 30th. Written comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket # DHS-2012-0063) and must be received by November 19th, 2012; way too late for consideration during the teleconference.