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Program Information

The genesis of the National Communications System (NCS) began in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis when the US, USSR, NATO, and foreign heads of state experienced communication problems. After the crisis, President John F. Kennedy ordered that an interdepartmental committee investigate national security communications.

After the committee recommended the formation of a single unified communications system to serve the President, Department of Defense (DOD), diplomatic and intelligence activities, and civilian leaders, President Kennedy established the NCS on August 21, 1963. The NCS' mandate included linking, improving, and extending the communication facilities and components of various Federal agencies, focusing on interconnectivity and survivability.

On April 3, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order (E.O.) 12472 which broadened the NCS' national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) capabilities and superseded President Kennedy's 1963 memorandum. The NCS expanded from its original six members to an interagency group of 22 Federal departments and agencies, and began coordinating and planning NS/EP telecommunications to support crises and disasters.

In January 2000, the NCC was designated an ISAC for Telecommunications in accordance with PDD-63. The NCC-ISAC will facilitate the exchange among government and industry participants regarding vulnerability, threat, intrusion, and anomaly information affecting the telecommunications infrastructure.

Since its creation, the NCC has coordinated the restoration and provisioning of NS/EP telecommunication services and facilities during natural disasters and armed conflicts, including the following events: Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield, the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the Northridge (California) Earthquake.

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