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Homeland Security

Commercial Imagery Aids Afghanistan Operations

December 2001
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency is purchasing commercial remote sensing imagery, some under exclusive use agreements, to support operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Applications can range from mission planning and rehearsal to battle damage assessment and humanitarian airdrops.

Commercial Coalition Tackles Security Complexities

February 2003
By Maryann Lawlor

Corporate America is helping assemble the homeland defense jigsaw puzzle that includes thousands of pieces being put together by hundreds of people looking at a multitude of different pictures. Industry leaders agree that the biggest challenge is the complexity of the problem and the plethora of solutions being proposed by companies with a range of specialties taking widely varying approaches.

Homeland Security Funding Shuns Traditional Models

February 2003
By Robert K. Ackerman

More than 16 months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. government spending on homeland security has yet to settle into a predictable routine. Tens of billions of dollars have been allocated to domestic and foreign operations aimed at deterring, preventing or recovering from terrorist activities. Some of these appropriations have funded startup programs that promise long-term benefits, while others support long-extant efforts that are the only options available for immediate action in the war on terrorism.

Department of Homeland Security Takes Shape

February 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon

The major consolidation of federal agencies that is creating the new Department of Homeland Security also is impelling private industry to adapt to the changing landscape. The resulting environment places more responsibility on businesses to protect vital infrastructure, but it also clears the way to a closer and more productive relationship between the commercial and public sectors.

Coping With Crisis Communications

April 2003
By James Stiefvater

Rapidly deployable, reliable and secure communications are helping sort through the inherent communications chaos surrounding emergency situations. The technology was instrumental in providing communications capabilities after the terrorist attacks and also was useful in debris recovery operations after the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

Radio Interoperability In a Box

August 2004
By James Careless

First responders from a number of organizations are now equipped with technology that allows them to coordinate their actions in an emergency using an interface that facilitates communications between incompatible devices. The interface enables one telephone and five different radio networks to interconnect by plugging in a telephone or radio handset from each network. The small, lightweight unit has been tested by the U.S. Air Force and currently is in use by the National Guard and several law enforcement groups.

Public, Private Sectors Piece Together Homeland Security Efforts

May 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon and Maryann Lawlor

In the 18 months following the terrorist attacks, the U.S. government has undergone a series of structural changes. At the state and federal levels, efforts are underway to enhance communications and information-sharing infrastructures among agencies and other organizations. Public institutions also have reached out to the private sector to form partnerships designed to protect vital national infrastructures.

Transportable Gear Provides High-Bandwidth Links

July 2004
By Henry S. Kenyon

U.S. government personnel and emergency responders are using commercial mobile satellite communications systems to maintain connectivity in areas with little or no terrestrial infrastructure. Users can set up and activate equipment rapidly, and proprietary protocols allow systems to accelerate the transmission and reception of data, imagery and streaming video.

Putting a Face on Invisible Danger

June 2003
By Robert Steele and Larry Panell

Technology may be the key to ensuring that the public can respond quickly if a chemical or biological weapons attack occurs. Until recently, the U.S. population, protected by two oceans, had not given much thought to terrorism or to the intentional release of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials. Occasionally, industrial or hazardous material accidents occur. However, these types of situations are usually dealt with through local emergency response teams to minimize the impact on the lives and health of the surrounding population.

Northern Command Emphasizes Homeland Defense

January 2003
By Robert K. Ackerman

The newest U.S. combatant command, tasked with defending the homeland, is taking a military approach to using civilian assets. This does not involve discarding existing U.S. laws that mandate separation of military activity from local responsibilities. Rather, it involves organizing and coordinating threat protection and emergency response efforts to maximize available federal, state and local government resources. And, it may include placing the military command under civilian leadership.

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