HHS IRM Policy for Government Emergency Telecommunication System Cards Ordering, Usage and Termination
November 25, 2002
Table of Contents
5. Roles and Responsibilities
5.1 The OPDIV CIOS
5.2 Management Officials
5.3 HHS Employees and Users of HHS IT Resources
6. Applicable Laws/Guidance
7. Information and Assistance
8. Effective Date/Implementation
The purpose of this Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) document is to establish policy for the issuance, usage and termination of the Government Emergency Telecommunications Systems (GETS) cards. This policy establishes new privileges and additional responsibilities for employees in HHS. It recognizes these employees as responsible individuals who are the key to making government more responsive to its citizens during crisis situations. It allows HHS personnel who are issued the GETS cards to maintain critical communications during emergencies when the telephone systems are congested due to traffic over load. It is also the purpose of this policy to allow the OPDIVs management control of their GETS program in such a manner that GETS can fit into the normal work flow of the OPDIV.
The Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) is a telecommunications service provided by the Office of the Manager, National Communications System (OMNCS) that supports Federal, state, and local government, industry, and non-profit organization personnel in performing their National Security and Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) missions. GETS provides emergency access and priority processing in the local and long distance segments of the Public Switched Network (PSN). It is intended to be used in an emergency or crisis situation during which the probability of completing a call over normal or other alternate telecommunication means has significantly decreased.
GETS is necessary because of our increasing reliance on telecommunications. Over the past years, the economic viability and technical feasibility of such advances as nationwide fiber optic networks, high-speed digital switching, and intelligent features have revolutionized the way we communicate. This growth has been accompanied by an increased vulnerability to system failures. Although backup systems are in place, disruptions in service can still occur. Recent events have shown that natural disasters, power outages, fiber cable cuts, and software problems can cripple the telephone services of entire regions. Additionally, congestion in the public switched network (PSN), such as the well-documented "Mother's Day phenomenon," can prevent access to circuits. However, during times of emergency, crisis, or war, personnel with NS/EP missions need to know that their calls will go through. GETS addresses this need. Using enhancements based on existing commercial technology, GETS allows the NS/EP community to communicate over existing PSN paths with a high likelihood of call completion during the most severe conditions of high-traffic congestion and disruption. The result is a cost-effective, easy-to-use telephone service that is accessed through a simple dialing plan and Personal Identification Number (PIN) card verification methodology. It is maintained in a constant state of readiness and provides a cost-effective means to overcome network outages through such methods as enhanced routing and priority treatment.
This policy is based on a model policy adopted by the Chief Information Officers' Council for the Executive Branch.
This policy applies to all Departmental Operating Divisions, including the Office of the Secretary, and organizations conducting business for and on behalf of the Department through contractual relationships when using HHS IT resources. The policy contained in this HHS document apply to all HHS IT activities including the equipment, procedures and technologies that are employed in managing these activities as they apply to GETS card issuance, usage and termination. The policy includes teleworking, travel and other off-site locations as well as all of the office locations of the Department. This policy does not supersede any other applicable law or higher-level agency directive or policy guidance. Agency officials shall apply this policy to contractor personnel, interns, and other non-government employees through incorporation by reference in contracts or memoranda of agreement as conditions for using Government provided IT resources. GETS card issuance, usage and termination is at the discretion of government management and the card holders are personally accountable for the safety and use according to government use of the card as evidenced by signature for government property.
There are five broad categories that serve as guidelines for determining who may qualify as a potential GETS user. These users may be in Federal, state, or local government, industry, or non-profit organizations. The final decision on whether or not an individual is eligible to become a GETS user is the responsibility of that individual's organization.
These five categories are included in Section 4, Policy, of this document
The following policy shall be in effect for each Operating Division unless the Operating Division adopts a more restrictive set of policies or existing labor management agreements preclude one or more of the aspects of the policy below.
There are five broad categories that serve as guidelines for determining who may qualify as a potential GETS user. These users may be in Federal, state, or local government, industry, or non-profit organizations. The final decision on whether or not an individual is eligible to become a GETS user is the responsibility of that individual's organization. (Taken directly from the National Communications System Web Pages)
5.1. The OPDIV CIOS5.1.1. The OPDIV CIOS are responsible for OPDIV GETS Card Inventory; Identifying and authorizing users for their OPDIV; Retrieval and official cancellation of cards upon termination of a user's employment or change in status. While the CIO for each OPDIV will remain responsible for the overall GETS program in their respective OPDIV, each OPDIV will have the discretion to determine the official responsible for managing the program as well as defining OPDIV specific program management functions such as inventory control, training and other management functions.
- Insuring that users receive proper GETS card training and instructions of use;
- Enforcing proper GETS card usage.
See additional information and instructions for ordering, canceling and program training at the NCS Web site WWW.NCS.GOV.
Direct questions, comments, suggestions or requests for further information to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Resources Management, (202) 690-6162.
The effective date of this policy is the date the policy is approved.
These policies and procedures will not be implemented in any recognized bargaining unit until the union has been provided notice of the proposed changes and given an opportunity to fully exercise its representational rights.
The HHS policies contained in this issuance shall be exercised in accordance with Public Law 93-638, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, as amended, and the Secretary's policy statement dated August 7, 1997, as amended, titled "Department Policy on Consultation with American Indian/Alaska Native Tribes and Indian Organizations." It is HHS' policy to consult with Indian people to the greatest practicable extent and to the extent permitted by law before taking actions that effect these governments and people; to assess the impact of the Department's plans, projects, programs and activities on tribal and other available resources; and to remove any procedural impediments to working directly with tribal governments or Indian people.
____/s/_____________________ _November 25, 2002________
NCS - National Communications System
GETS - Government Emergency Telephone System