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Subject: The IPAWS Profile Draft

Well, right out of the chute I can see we've got a lot of work to do.  

It seems, for openers (on page 2), that what DHS has in mind isn't an
integrated profile at all, but rather a requirement to use multiple,
delivery-system-specific Info blocks.  They propose that we start with a
minimum of three parallel blocks... one tailored for EAS, another for
HazCollect (weather radio), yet another for cellular... and then add
additional info blocks for additional delivery systems.

That is, of course, completely at odds with the basic concept of CAP
interoperability.  The whole point of a CAP message is that a single
input can trigger multiple outputs in a consistent fashion.  Requiring
originators to generate three or more separate, redundant versions of a
single message is an invitation to inconsistency and places an onerous
and unnecessary burden on message originators.

At the same time DHS has gone way past the point of providing us with
requirements here.  What we have instead is a technical specification
accompanied by a requirement (section 4.3, Table 1, item 1) that "a
developed and agreed-to CAP v1.1 Profile and resulting Schema MUST
adhere to the requirements contained herein."  Depending on how the
words "herein" and "requirements" in that sentence are interpreted, that
could be read as meaning we have no choice but to endorse the DHS design
as-is.  Obviously that would be unacceptable and I'm sure that's not
what DHS intended.

This is why the closed nature of the DHS process so far has been so
regrettable.  All that work, all those taxpayer dollars, expended on
crafting a detailed design based on a fundamental misunderstanding of
the base CAP standard.  And now, at this late date, we're in the
thankless position of having to tell our federal partners "whoa, not so

Somehow we need to back up and compile a list of specific functional
requirements, so the folks who are best qualified to do so can recommend
how best to satisfy those requirements and resolve any conflicts among
them using the CAP standard.  I hope DHS can help us with that, as I
assume they would have gone through that stage in the course of their
internal design process.

- Art

Art Botterell, Manager
Community Warning System
Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
50 Glacier Drive
Martinez, California 94553
(925) 313-9603
fax (925) 646-1120

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