There is a new development on the EAS front that we should watch – closely. The FCC released a public notice on August 17 stating that the FCC is going to “share” results of the national EAS test with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The purpose, the notice gives for this is that the GAO is reviewing “progress made in modernizing the EAS, including review of the results of the nationwide EAS test and efforts underway to address any weaknesses in the EAS identified by the test.” 
As we know all too well the national test was not a test of a modernized EAS. There was no Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) component. If anything, the test represents a benchmark for where we were a decade ago. Although the test was clouded by what some call an “echo” caused by return feedback to the FEMA origination point that FEMA has told us it has already fixed, the glitches noted on some cable systems and inconsistencies in how EAS devices handled the EAN code may be core points that will come out in the FCC’s report.
Since the report will not be shared with the public, it is hard to know if many of us in the EAS stakeholder community will ever see it.
What we are likely to see will be final touches to the yet unfinished re-write of Part 11. What the final version says, or does not say, about EAN procedures may tell us what the FCC wants us to know about their non-public test results report. Will the FCC require cable companies to accelerate progress toward a sensible cable override standard? Will there be further work to assure under controlled laboratory conditions that all EAS devices will “play nice” with each other? Will there be a test before the June, 2015 sunset for CAP Converter boxes? Will there be clarification of the roles for local and state EAS Committees responsible for EAS monitoring assignments that impact the propagation of all EAS codes? Will the FCC require closed circuit testing of EAN propagation using EAS test codes that already exist but have never been used? Will there be a policy for or against live code testing? Can or will the GAO report influence FCC policy as outlined in Part 11? The list of unanswered questions The Broadcast warning Working Group (BWWG), sponsors of this Forum, hope will get answered in Part 11 goes on…
The EAS Forum has been a useful way for all of us to share EAS information so we can all learn from each other. While we are waiting for the above mentioned shoes to drop, please feel free to post your thoughts on where we are and where we need to go.
At some point, hopefully soon, the BWWG hopes that government at all levels is really serious about providing better warnings to people at risk so they can take timely and proper protective actions to save more lives and property. If you noted that previous sentence contains the definition for what a warning is per reports that the Partnership for Public Warning (PPW) wrote nearly a decade ago that also gave birth to CAP, it is meant to. What the GAO will have to say about the EAS evolutionary process will be, to say the least, interesting, although we may never see that report, in an “un-redacted” form, either.
 In the the Emergency Alert System, EB Docket No. 04-296, Third Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 1460,1488 ¶73 (2011)(Third Report and Order), the Commission stated disclosure of test data would be limited to FEMA, the National Weather Service, the Executive Office of the President as well as to state government emergency management agencies that have confidential treatment protections at least equal to the Freedom of Information Act.