The Department of Homeland Security Office of National Capital Region Coordination (DHS ONCRC) and the Department of Defense Pentagon Force Protection Agency (DoD PFPA) joined public- and private-sector participants Feb.15 in a demonstration to validate the functionality of the First Responder Authentication Credential (FRAC). The demonstration, known as Winter Storm , was a multi-jurisdictional test to verify the integration and interoperability of credential system attributes such as qualifications, authorizations, certifications, and privileges.

“Winter Storm provided further validation of the technological advancements that will enable the nation to meet the goal of developing a unified credentialing system for first responders,” said Thomas Lockwood, director of the Office of National Capital Region Coordination. “Such advancements will ensure that emergency personnel are better equipped to respond to incidents across the nation in an expedited fashion. Winter Storm demonstrated that new ground is being broken on this important effort to build a standardized program to improve the methods, capabilities and coordination of emergency responders throughout the nation.”

More than 50 organizations, in over 20 locations across the United States, including the National Capital Region, actively participated in Winter Storm . Participants and observers viewed details on a commercially available mapping program that gave local, regional, and nationwide emergency operation centers real-time situational awareness of first responders.

Winter Storm is a follow-on event to Winter Fox , a multi-jurisdictional demonstration co-hosted by DHS ONCRC and DoD PFPA in February 2006 that tested the interoperability and usability of the credential system through simulated emergency incidents at federal, state and local facilities. Both demonstrations are part of the DHS' First Responder Partnership Initiative that is working to provide federal and non-federal first responders with a standardized identity management process and common credential that will enable access to government buildings and incident areas in the event of a terrorist attack or other all hazards events.

Since September 11, there has been a critical demand for a common authentication credential for first responders; not only during an all-hazards event, but day-to-day for physical and logical access. The Office of National Capital Region Coordination has made great strides to advance the credentialing program through the cultivation of interagency and multi-jurisdictional partnerships with federal and non-federal agencies.

The Office of National Capital Region Coordination oversees and coordinates federal programs for and relationships with state, local and regional authorities in the National Capital Region. It is responsible for a t otal of 6,000 square miles of the National Capital Region, including 12 local jurisdictions, two states, the District of Columbia, three branches of federal government, 231 federal departments and agencies and 340,000 federal employees.