Group of US Senators introduce bill to give feds sole power on issuing missile alerts

After experiencing the mishap on the missile alert being sent out in Hawaii, there was another event that took place recently where AccuWeather sent out false tsunami alert. These, of course, was incredibly embarrassing for state officials.

US senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said he would take responsibility of sending missile alerts away from state level and local governments. He’s now back with fellow Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Gardner to introduce a legislation that would give feds the sole authority to send out missile threat notification, in case of emergency events.

Under the bill, called Authenticating Local Emergencies and Real Threats (ALERT) Act, the Department of Defense would be a let o send out notifications to the public using the same system that US Presidents have used (and use) to issue public warnings in the event of a national emergency.

Covered under the bill, the Department of Defense would not have to go through local authorities anymore, which is what Schatz says is ideas, because “[t]he people who know first should be the people who tell the rest of us.”

Based on the results of the investigation that took place after Hawaii alert event, the FCC found various elements that all contributed to the major mishap taking place, including the alert system’s poor user interface, the lack of sufficient verification system and the absence of tools authorities can use in the event that a false alarm was sent out. To put it into perspective, it took Hawaii officials 38 minutes, which to Hawaiian residents felt like hours, to send out another message telling everyone that the missile alert was false and there was no missile incoming.

“What happened in Hawaii can never happen again — people terrified by the false alert of a system that must have absolute confidence,” Senator Gardner said in a statement. The bill would remove authority to issue missile alerts from the local government, but will also require FEMA to come up with a process that would quickly notify state authorities when a missile is on its way. This way, there can be an evacuation plan put in place and protective plans would be enacted as soon as possible.

Hamza Khalid

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