Science & Tech

Emergency communications

1 min read

The quest for interoperability in the United States and Europe

As almost 60,000 federal, state and local public safety agencies plan to upgrade their communications systems in the wake of 9/11, Kennedy School of Government Assistant Professor of Public Policy Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger took a hard look at communications interoperability and its implementation, in the United States and in Europe. Three steps have been seen as requirements for interoperability: inventing the appropriate technology, setting common standards and frequencies, and providing adequate funding. Mayer-Schoenberger looked at each of these steps in the U.S. and European contexts and analyzed successes and failures, rendering a fuller picture both of the challenges for interoperability and of best practices to meet them. He found that over the last few years the Europeans have pulled ahead of the U.S. in implementing interoperability, although with determination and the right set of strategies, U.S. policymakers can easily make up lost ground.