Should disaster strike the U.S., the secretary of Homeland Security will be in charge of re-establishing and prioritizing communications to ensure the continuation of the federal government, according to a new executive order from President Barack Obama.
The executive order, signed on Friday, once again expands the powers of the Department of Homeland Security — this time to include the handling of communications during a national security event or natural disaster. The order also allows for DHS to re-establish communications “through the use of commercial, government, and privately owned communications resources, when appropriate.”
The secretary of homeland security, in coordination with the secretary of defense, would also “serve as the federal lead for the prioritized restoration of communications infrastructure and coordinate the prioritization and restoration of communications, including resolution of any conflicts in or among priorities.”
In addition to further empowering DHS’ role in the federal government, the order also establishes several new committees and outlines the roles of various major executive branch agencies and offices, including the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, DHS, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, General Services Administration and the Federal Communications Commission.