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OCC Bulletin 2002-33 | July 23, 2002

Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS): FBIIC Policy on Sponsorship of GETS Cards for Private Sector Entities


Chief Executive Officers of National Banks, Federal Branches and Agencies, Service Providers, Software Vendors, Department and Division Heads, and All Examining Personnel

The guidance attached to this bulletin continues to apply to federal savings associations.

Attached is the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee (FBIIC)interim process for the sponsorship of critical private sector management personnel for Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) cards. This document explains the circumstances under which qualifying institutions may seek federal sponsorship for the issuance of GETS cards to key personnel.

The National Communications System (NCS) was established in 1963 to provide better communications support to critical government functions during emergencies. The GETS Program administered by NCS provides emergency access and priority processing in the local and long-distance segments of the Public Switched Network (PSN). Private-sector use of GETS must be sponsored by a federal agency, provided that the agency first determines that the private-sector entity is considered critical to the performance of national security or emergency preparedness (NS/EP) functions necessary to maintain the national economic posture during any national or regional emergency.

The attached policy explains the GETS program in more detail, sets out the criteria to be used by FBIIC agencies to determine whether a private-sector entity, supervised by a FBIIC member agency, qualifies for federal sponsorship. It describes how qualifying entities may submit applications for sponsorship.

Clearly, while not all national banks or technology service providers supervised by the OCC will qualify for sponsorship for GET cards, the OCC will consider applications for sponsorship from any such entity that demonstrates that it can make a case for qualification under one or more of the criteria set out in the policy.

National Banks and OCC-supervised technology service providers should submit their applications for sponsorship to the following address:

Aida Plaza Carter
Bank Information Technology Operations
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
250 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20219

Applications may also be submitted via FAX to (202) 874-5194.

Please note, when submitting your application, your list of persons to receive GETS cards should be limited to key personnel with crisis-management responsibilities or other senior management personnel responsible for carrying out communications during emergencies.

Once the OCC receives your application, staff members will review and forward all qualifying applications to the Department of Treasury with the OCC's endorsement. Approved applicants will then be contacted with instructions for setting up a GETS account and using GETS cards. Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to me, at (202) 874-5216, or via email to

Ralph E. Sharpe
Deputy Comptroller for Technology

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