RD462 - Commonwealth Link to Interoperable Communications (COMLINC) Evaluation – November 2018

Executive Summary:

Radio communications interoperability safeguards and saves lives and property by closing gaps inherent in public safety all-hazard communication networks. Public safety all-hazard communication networks comprise all public and private stakeholders with interest in the public’s safety and prosperity. COMLINC is Virginia’s interoperability solution with the capability to establish “links" between disparate public safety radio networks. The 9/11 commission report identified interoperability failures as a primary culprit for the loss of hundreds of citizens and first responders. Subsequent disaster reports have consistently identified interoperability failures. Virginia listened and took action. The General Assembly recognized and codified the Commonwealth’s commitment to interoperability.

The Commonwealth’s interoperability solution is COMLINC and RIOS is the technology that powers that solution. However, it was resourced in an ad hoc fashion using a number of funding sources and fell short of full implementation. Since its inception, COMLINC has not received adequate sustainment funding or resources, resulting in technology obsolescence, inattention to training, and a steady decline in effective usage. In its current state the system is no longer supportable and near complete collapse. COMLINC modernization, sustainment, and expansion is the solution. This report provides an explanation of COMLINC, identifies system strengths and weaknesses, and presents scalable programmatic and fiscal solutions to re-establish the radio interoperability requirements set forth in § 2.2-222.2, Code of Virginia. Ownership for COMLINC modernization, sustainment, and expansion should reside at the state government level in order to ensure equipment maintenance and accountability. COMLINC resourcing should not burden already fully encumbered localities by placing them in a position to assume greater risk in local operability in order to resource statewide interoperability.

Summary Report Recommendations


• Institute a permanent standing COMLINC Governance Council from SIEC membership with authority and responsibility to advocate for localities, as well as set and enforce SOP, technology, training, and usage standards.
• Designate Virginia State Police as the Operational owner of COMLINC.
• Expand availability to all public safety all-hazard stakeholders.
• Institute a stakeholder Memorandum of Understanding process.


• Institute statewide standing operating procedures.
• Ensure that COMLINC SOP, technology, training, and usage aligns with and complements the National Incident Management System (NIMS).


• Modernize the COMLINC technology platform.
• Resource COMLINC modernization and sustainment costs from state funds.
• Align COMLINC cyber security standards to industry and state requirements.
• Ensure adequate locality internet capacity to support COMLINC.
• Align technology with human factors.
• Increase sustainment human resources

Training & Exercises:

• Establish a statewide training program and standards.
• Incorporate COMLINC into state exercise plans.


• Set statewide usage requirements.
• Apply imagination and initiative.
• Assess Dispatcher staffing requirements.

If properly modernized and sustained through state funding, COMLINC will fulfill the interoperability requirement set forth in § 2.2-222.2, Code of Virginia.