The FCC Over-the-Air spectrum observation capabilities enable the Commission to determine the status of communications services and infrastructure during blue skies, disasters, emergencies, and events of national security significance. These capabilities are vital to enabling the mission of the Commission’s Spectrum Monitoring and Analysis Response Team (SMART) – a unique group of operations and communications specialists whose sole mission is to implement the activities that are vital to ensuring the availability of communications for the purposes of homeland defense and promoting the safety and security of U.S. residents and infrastructure.

National Shared Remote Equipment Network (NSREN)

The National Shared Remote Equipment Network (NSREN) is an expansive array comprised of fixed and mobile radio frequency (RF) sensor equipment that supports first responder communications during disasters, emergencies, and significant events.

High Frequency Direction Finding Capability Center

The High Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) Center provides direct support to the public safety community and other federal partners by locating interference sources. The HFDFC ensures public safety and security of the High Frequency (HF) radio spectrum (below 30 MHz) by providing assistance and technical expertise to the FCC and its licensees before, during and after emergencies. It also provides interference resolution to FCC licensees and federal government agencies, and supports the enforcement and management of the HF Spectrum.

Roll Call

Roll Call is a joint effort by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS/FEMA). In the wake of a national-level disaster, the effectiveness of first responders and critical infrastructure managers can be hindered by disrupted or destroyed communications systems. Restoring or replacing these systems is a high priority for Federal responders.

At FEMA's request, FCC agents deploy to the disaster area and use Roll Call equipment to examine the radio spectrum and identify disaster-related communications outages. Outages are identified by studying the radio frequency spectrum "Pre-disaster" and "Post-disaster" and comparing those results to each other and to licensee databases to determine which public safety or critical infrastructure systems are unexpectedly off the air. Furthermore, this capability is used to identify mass media licensees such as AM, FM and TV broadcast stations that may have been affected in the "Post-Disaster" area. Identifying these licensees is of vital importance to the FCC and FEMA in ensuring that public welfare and evacuation information is disseminated to the disaster area in a timely and accurate manner. Using the data derived from Roll Call, FEMA can perform a preliminary damage assessment, enabling incident managers to prioritize the personnel and resources needed to rapidly restore communications and respond to areas requiring immediate assistance.

Satellite Monitoring Facility

The FCC satellite monitoring facility was established in 1979 with a primary mission to detect and resolve interference, both domestically and internationally. This facility covers satellite communications over all of the U.S. and surrounding areas, providing support to the other bureaus of the FCC, U.S. licensees, and federal government agencies. This facility is also registered with International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as the United States’ space monitoring facility, through which it provides interference/signal analysis assistance to international partners.

Interagency Support

The Purposeful Interference Response Team (PIRT) is an interagency organization chartered by the National Security Council to facilitate U.S. Government agencies, working with commercial owner/operators and our allies, to attribute and resolve satellite interference.  The PIRT is comprised of seven core member agencies: Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Federal Communications Commission and several conditional member agencies: National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Justice.  FCC is one of the founding members of the PIRT and actively supports efforts for the resolution of satellite interference both domestically and internationally.

Updated: 
Tuesday, November 2, 2021