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DHS, Nonprofit IT Developer to Update First Responder Communication Platform

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NICS CRADA
NICS CRADA

The Department of Homeland Security's science and technology (DHS S&T) directorate and a Vienna, Virginia-based nonprofit information technology development organization to update a mobile communications tool that works to help first responders exchange critical information.

Beacon NGO will perform code analysis work and add features to the Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS) as part of a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with DHS S&T, the directorate said Thursday.

Under this CRADA, the nonprofit will be responsible for maintaining the system's main code to prevent duplicate maintenance efforts across the user community, which includes NATO member and partner countries, U.S. states and other public safety organizations.

As the main coordinator for future NICS-related partnerships with other stakeholders, Beacon could also use lessons from other code deployments to teach users how to better use the application.

David Alexander, senior science adviser for resilience at S&T, said the partnership seeks to further develop and simplify the system for first responders.

The directorate initially gave open-source developers access to NICS in 2016 and rolled out the technology to emergency response and management organizations,