(a) In general
The Under Secretary for Science and Technology, acting through the Director of the Office for Interoperability and Compatibility, shall establish a comprehensive research and development program to support and promote—
(1) the ability of emergency response providers and relevant government officials to continue to communicate in the event of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters; and
(2) interoperable emergency communications capabilities among emergency response providers and relevant government officials, including by—
(A) supporting research on a competitive basis, including through the Directorate of Science and Technology and Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency; and
(B) considering the establishment of a Center of Excellence under the Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence Program focused on improving emergency response providers’ communication capabilities.
The purposes of the program established under subsection (a) include—
(1) supporting research, development, testing, and evaluation on emergency communication capabilities;
(2) understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the public safety communications systems in use;
(3) examining how current and emerging technology can make emergency response providers more effective, and how Federal, State, local, and tribal government agencies can use this technology in a coherent and cost-effective manner;
(4) investigating technologies that could lead to long-term advancements in emergency communications capabilities and supporting research on advanced technologies and potential systemic changes to dramatically improve emergency communications; and
(5) evaluating and validating advanced technology concepts, and facilitating the development and deployment of interoperable emergency communication capabilities.
For purposes of this section, the term "interoperable", with respect to emergency communications, has the meaning given the term in section 578 of this title.
6 U.S.C. § 195a (2018)