recommended reading

Troubled Navy Yard Radio System Was Operated by Army

Law enforcement personnel walk through a gate into the Washington Navy Yard.

Law enforcement personnel walk through a gate into the Washington Navy Yard. // Susan Walsh/AP

The Navy land mobile radio system, which experienced failures during the Sept. 16 Navy Yard shootings in Washington, is operated by the Army, not the Navy, Nextgov has learned.

A Navy official who declined to be identified told Nextgov that the LMR system used by Naval District of Washington -- or NDW -- first responders is part of an Army LMR system that serves the National Capital Region. “We are part of the Army system, NDW manages the Navy talk groups and radios, we share the Army and Navy towers for first responder roaming, and we serve as the backup site on the servers.  The Navy towers are on the Navy Public Safety Network and are connected to the Army system via a dedicated circuit.”

Greg Russell, president of the union local that represents NDW firefighters, said firefighters since 2009 have documented problems with the radios that “fill a three inch file,” with those complaints largely ignored by district managers.

Reps. Henry Waxman and Anna Eshoo, both California Democrats, requested an investigation of the radio failures in a Sept. 23 letter to the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Waxman is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Eshoo is ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

The Navy official said the service executed a $7 million contract last week to upgrade the radios used by NDW personnel.

She said the contract covered the purchase of 1,075 portable radios, 215 mobile units and 15 console radios. She said the new radios will have a longer battery life than existing radios, which died after two to three hours of use at the Navy Yard on Sept. 16.

The new radios will also support interoperability between agencies on the Army-run, Washingtonwide system; encrypted communications; and dual microphones for use in noisy environments with rugged and immersion-proof cases.

Join us at Nextgov Prime Oct. 15-16 in Washington for in-depth discussions about cloud computing, data security and much more. Registration is free for federal employees.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.