The mission of an ACS unit is to find a communications related need in government and to fulfill that need in an ON-GOING day-to-day involvement. This means someone from the ACS unit is literally IN the government agency any work day wherever possible. The effect is to keep the presence of the unit in the forefront of the minds of agency personnel. It also enables unit leaders to find more ways to be of communications-related service while absorbing what cannot otherwise be learned about agency nuances, protocal, do's and don't's.
Areas in which government can use support in communications include computers and computer networks, satellite systems and microwave. Other less obvious systems used daily include the standard phone system, cellular phones, FAX and Email, as well as any of the Public Safety radio or other systems.
In essence, the ACS unit looks at the total spectrum of functions and needs of government and provides personnel that can handle any communications-related function, need, service or task. It becomes an active partner to and with the local government. In contrast, ARES which limits its operations to Amateur radio operators only, does not seek to fill that role.
As an increasing number of governments select the ACS approach, it is a given that the ACS will seem to be a threat to anyone who is more concerned with who controls the Amateur emergency response 'turf' than providing the best in community service. Putting aside the personality aspects of "control" is not easy because it threatens the perceived self image. We see the same occurring in areas like Bosnia where the wars have raged for generations over which religion controls who and what.
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