Genachowski Wants Extensive Review of FCC's Emergency Preparedness

Requesting briefing outlining current FCC emergency management plan from Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

As one of his first initiatives and less than 24 hours after being sworn in, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has sent a memo to the acting chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau calling for a "top-to-bottom" review of the FCC's own preparedness for an emergency. And he wants it fast.

"In the event of a crisis, the Commission should be prepared to act decisively," he said in the memo, a copy of which was supplied to B&C.

Genachowski gave the bureau 30 days to prepare a briefing that outlines the current FCC emergency management plan, including the chain of command, contact points with FEMA and other agencies, command-and-control operations in the field and at headquarters, ongoing training and more.

That includes both natural disasters such as hurricanes or pandemics and man-made ones like cyber attacks. The Obama administration has made cyber security a national priority.

Genachowski also wants to know whether the commission needs more money or personpower to deal with emergency management, as well as what outside critiques exist on how it has handled emergencies in the past.

His goal, said Genachowski in the memo, is "to illuminate issues that may need prompt attention" from his office.

Bruce Gottlieb, the chairman's newly named chief counsel and senior legal advisor, will be point person for any questions about just what the chairman is looking for.