Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part I (12/08/2016)

Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2015

(Sec. 3) This bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to update, modernize, and implement the national integrated public alert and warning system, including by:

  • ensuring that under all conditions the President is able to alert and warn governmental authorities and the civilian population in areas endangered by an act of terrorism, natural disaster, war, other man-made disaster, or other hazard to public safety;
  • establishing or adapting common alerting and warning protocols, standards, terminology, and operating procedures;
  • including the capability to adapt the dissemination of information and the content of communications on the basis of geographic location, risks, and multiple communications systems and technologies and the capability to alert, warn, and provide the equivalent amount of information to individuals with limited English proficiency skills, disabilities (particularly sensory disabilities), or other access or functional needs;
  • ensuring training, tests, and exercises for the system and that the system is incorporated into other training and exercise programs of DHS;
  • ensuring that a comprehensive and periodic training program for receiving and disseminating public alert and warning system messages utilizing advanced technologies is provided to homeland security stakeholders;
  • conducting periodic nationwide tests of the system at least every five years; and
  • consulting, coordinating, and cooperating with key stakeholders to leverage existing alert and warning capabilities.

DHS must ensure that the system:

  • incorporates redundant and diverse modes to disseminate warning messages to reach the greatest number of individuals in the intended area;
  • can be adapted to incorporate emerging and future technologies;
  • is reliable, resilient, and secure and can withstand acts of terrorism, hazards, and other external attacks or dangers;
  • is hardened against cyber attacks;
  • promotes state, local, tribal, and regional partnerships to enhance coordination; and
  • is designed to provide alerts that are accessible to the largest portion of the affected population and to improve the ability of those in remote areas and areas with underdeveloped telecommunications infrastructure to receive alerts.

DHS must: (1) produce a Privacy Impact Assessment every five years to evaluate whether the technology of the system has implications on the privacy rights of U.S. citizens; (2) establish the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Advisory Committee; and (3) make available to the public a list of mobile devices capable of receiving warnings and alerts disseminated through such system.

The Advisory Committee shall terminate six years after the date on which it is established.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency must permit the use of homeland security grant funds to improve public alert and warning capabilities.