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                          STATEMENT OF

     Re:  Review of the Emergency Alert System, Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking
     I am pleased we launch this review of our nation's 
increasingly outdated Emergency Alert System.  We must move 
quickly to act on this rulemaking and further protect the lives 
of all Americans.  

     Our task is not easy, but we cannot afford to wait.  The 
public warning capability of communications technologies should 
be among the highest priorities of this agency.  This will take 
hard work and continued coordination with the Department of 
Homeland Security and our other partners.  

     The Cold-War era EAS system is an imperfect system for our 
modern society, but for the near term it remains one of the best 
options we have to deliver emergency messages to as many people 
as possible as quickly as possible.  The Media Security and 
Reliability Council and the Partnership for Public Warning have 
suggested ways to improve EAS.  The Commission must now buckle 
down and do what it is we are asking state and local officials to 
do - assess vulnerabilities, create a plan for better service, 
and review and update that plan as communications technologies 

     The American public expects broadcasters to deliver timely 
local and national emergency and public safety information.  For 
example, the FCC's broadcast localism hearing in Rapid City, 
South Dakota, proved how vitally important disaster warnings are 
for rural areas of the country.  The County's Emergency 
Management Director testified about the cooperation and 
collaboration among public safety officials and all local 
broadcasters that resulted from a devastating flood and led to a 
voluntary initiative to improve public safety warnings in the 
county.  But not all broadcasters and state and local governments 
have taken this step.   

     We should use our oversight of the broadcast and other 
communications industries to ensure more consistency at the state 
and local level.  With the transition of television and radio to 
digital broadcasting, we have an opportunity to improve upon the 
EAS system to communicate emergency and public safety information 
in even more targeted and innovative ways.  We can design a 
system to better serve all stakeholders, including the disability 
community and the nation's many non-English speakers.    

     But we must act quickly.  In conjunction with our other 
federal partners, the American public counts on us to ensure a 
public warning system second to none.  It is imperative that we 
quickly put ideas into action and lead our country to an even 
higher level of security.