Cherokee Federal employee and veteran

CNMS gets creative with emergency dispatch services after Christmas Day bombing

January 20, 2021

In response to a communications outage at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Cherokee Nation Mission Solutions employees quickly developed a creative solution to reactivate emergency communications after an AT&T hub that services Fort Campbell was critically damaged as a result of the Dec. 25 bombing in downtown Nashville.

Cherokee Nation Mission Solutions provides 911 emergency dispatch and alarm monitoring services at the Fort Campbell Emergency Communications Center. Fort Campbell’s mission is to train and develop the air assault operations for the United States Army's 101st Airborne Division and yearly trains thousands in combat readiness, jumpmaster operations, rappelling and more.

With a core of 28 highly-trained dispatchers, CNMS answers more than 24,000 calls throughout the year, coordinating the response of police, fire, EMS and public works services.

While the destruction from the blast was limited to the downtown Nashville area, the effect of the explosion was felt throughout the region, including at Fort Campbell, located 45 minutes north of the city in Kentucky. The damage caused a disruption to 911 emergency dispatch services and to some AT&T cellular service for three days. Fort Campbell serves a total population of more than 235,000.

Through coordination with Fort Campbell leadership, alternate phone numbers were posted on social media for the public to request services. Dispatchers used radios and personal cell phones to coordinate with the hospital, police units, security, fire departments, public works and neighboring jurisdictions.

“I’m proud of the readiness and creativity of our CNMS dispatchers,” said Steven Bilby, president of Cherokee Federal. “When disaster struck, they were able to quickly respond and create effective communications for one of the most crucial components of emergency services.”

The ad hoc network answered over 200 calls for police support, including vehicle accidents, medical emergencies and medical transport. In one instance, dispatchers resorted to utilizing their radio to contact the base hospital and arrange an air ambulance for transportation of a critical patient to a Nashville hospital.

Throughout the three-day outage, the CNMS team continued to focus on directing vital services to those in distress. Fort Campbell’s 911 and cellular services have since returned to normal and CNMS continues to answer the call of sending life-saving services throughout the community they serve.


Cherokee Nation Mission Solutions is part of Cherokee Federal, a team of tribally owned federal contracting companies focused on building solutions, solving complex challenges, and serving the nations mission around the globe for more than 60 federal clients. Cherokee Federals team of companies, with more than 3,300 employees, manages nearly 2,000 projects of all sizes across the construction, consulting, engineering and manufacturing, health, and technology portfolios.

Cherokee Federal is a division of Cherokee Nation Businesses, the economic engine of Cherokee Nation, the largest Native American tribe in the U.S. Its mission is to diversify and grow the economy of Cherokee Nation. Company profits support future business investments, as well as programs and services for tribal citizens. Cherokee Federal also believes in the value of a diverse workforce and in investing in the brightest talent to keep the company moving forward.

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