Flexible Deployment Program


Under Section 107(c) of CALEA, a carrier may petition the FCC for an extension of the compliance deadline. An extension may be granted if the FCC determines that "compliance with the assistance capability requirements under Section 103 is not reasonably achievable through application of technology available within the compliance period." Before acting on a carrier's petition, however, the FCC must first consult with the Attorney General (whose consultation responsibility has been delegated to the FBI, see 28 C.F.R. § 0.85(o)).

In 1999, the FBI established a voluntary "Flexible Deployment Program" that paralleled the Section 107(c) process that was then being used by the FCC. The Flexible Deployment Program was used to facilitate the FBI's review of carrier extension proposals, and to negotiate modifications to such proposals, where necessary, to meet the needs of law enforcement agencies. In connection with the Flexible Deployment Program, the FBI issued a series of Flexible Deployment Assistance Guides and associated Flexible Deployment Templates to assist carriers in meeting their obligations under CALEA and to assist with collecting data from carrier to assist the FBI in evaluating carrier extension proposals. Using the information provided in a carrier's Flexible Deployment Template, the FBI and the carrier attempted to develop a mutually-agreeable deployment schedule. Where a mutually-agreeable deployment schedule was reached, the FBI typically provided a statement of support to the FCC concerning the carrier's petition for an extension of CALEA's assistance capability compliance dates. The FBI's support of a carrier's extension petition was conditioned upon the carrier meeting the agreed-upon deployment schedule contained its Flexible Deployment Template, including any negotiated modifications. In addition, the FBI requested that the FCC incorporate that condition into any final decision on a carrier's extension petition.

Carriers were eligible to participate in the FBI's Flexible Deployment Program with respect to both their circuit-mode and packet-mode communications service offerings.

Status of the FBI's Flexible Deployment Program

The FBI discontinued its Flexible Deployment Program for packet-mode communications services effective November 19, 2003, primarily because the FBI was unable to determine generally, based on information provided by carriers in the FBI's Flexible Deployment Template, which carriers proposed to install and deploy CALEA-compliant packet mode intercept solutions by the FCC's packet-mode compliance deadline. As a result, the FBI was not able to make the necessary determination about whether it could support a given carrier's extension petition.

Notwithstanding its decision to discontinue the Flexible Deployment Program for packet-mode communications services, the FBI has continued to allow carriers to participate in the Flexible Deployment Program and submit Flexible Deployment Templates for circuit-mode communications services. However, in its May 2006 CALEA Second Report and Order, the FCC substantially limited the scope of carriers that are eligible to request extensions of the CALEA compliance deadline (see First Report and Order ). As a result, the number and type of carriers that are now eligible to petition for extensions of the CALEA compliance deadline has been significantly reduced. In that same decision, the FCC also imposed a mandatory compliance reporting requirement on carriers that closely mirrors the information previously collected by the FBI through the Flexible Deployment Program. The FCC has agreed to share the information it receives pursuant to the mandatory compliance reporting requirement with the FBI. In light of these events, the FBI will be discontinuing its Flexible Deployment Program for circuit-mode communications service effective April 30, 2007.

Last Updated: February 1, 2011