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What is Interoperability?

Definition of Interoperability

Interoperability is the ability to communicate, as needed, on demand, and as authorized at all levels of government and across all Public Safety disciplines.

The need for communications interoperability is a significant public safety issue for citizens and emergency responders readily recognized by our local public safety officials.

Governance Structure

In Minnesota, the Interoperability Program is directed and supported by the Statewide Radio Board (SRB), seven Regional Radio Boards (RRBs), and the Urban Area Security Initiative Board (UASI). Documents that assist in making Interoperability consistent across the State of Minnesota include the National Emergency Communication Plan (NECP) and the Minnesota Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP).

All 87 Minnesota counties and a number of cities participate in regional governance structures which manage interoperability in Minnesota. These joint powers boards are made up of county commissioners and city council members. The boards’ mission is to fill the interoperability gaps on a regional level and manage local migration to the ARMER system.

The Regional Advisory committees and RRBs are the core of Minnesota’s governance structure. Today, 71 of 87 counties are either on the ARMER system or have committed to join. The success of interoperability is only possible with the continued support of state and local elected officials.

Alignment with Safecom Interoperability Continuum

The activities of ECN's Interoperability program generally align with the Interoperability Continuum under the Safecom program. Safecom is a program managed by the US Department of Homeland Security. Safecom provides a shared, nationwide framework for interoperability.


Figure 1: Interoperability Continuum