In a project for the Defense Department’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), computer scientists have turned to artificial intelligence and aerial imagery to construct a detailed damage assessment solution. The tool can be used remotely and automatically to determine the amount of damage to buildings and structures from a natural disaster or catastrophe. The prototype, known as the xView II model, was tested this fall, with the goal of rolling out a more finalized operational version next year.
It’s easy to forget that in the midst of a catastrophe, physical safety isn’t the only thing that’s important. As technology’s role in disaster response and relief becomes more and more prevalent, cybersecurity becomes an essential part of the process. Here’s why.
Few people are more vulnerable than those impacted by a crisis. Whether a man-made attack or a natural disaster, the widespread destruction created by a large-scale emergency can leave countless individuals both destitute and in need of medical attention. Protecting these men, women and children requires more than a coordinated emergency response.
Under a new contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Dayton, Ohio-based Woolpert will provide emergency engineering and architecture resources in support of the agency's disaster relief efforts. Woolpert was award part of a $610 million, five-year, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity vehicle and will work with Serco, Inc. The company will examine public infrastructure over a 17-state region, evaulating and assessing damage and needed repairs to public infrastructure in regions declared a natural disaster or emergency by the U.S. President. The contract divides its assistance to governmental entities, tribes and nonprofit organizations into three zones.
Even before weather reports start rolling in, U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security communicators prepare for the search, rescue and recovery missions they will face when a hurricane hits. But the winds of this hurricane season blew some nasty currents their way. Harvey, Irma and Maria not only were record-breaking hurricanes but also left little time for recuperation from one event to the next.
The Coast Guard is under-resourced and yet is always trying to do more, said Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz, USCG, deputy commandant, Mission Support, U.S. Coast Guard, at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington D.C. For example, today the service is performing its normal mission; supporting response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma; and providing security for the U.N. Security Council.
It can be easy to forget that AFCEA is more than a professional association—AFCEA is a community. When the southeastern United States was pummeled by Hurricane Matthew in October, the AFCEA Educational Foundation and the North Carolina and South Carolina Low Country chapters were able to provide assistance to local schools in the hardest-hit areas.
Fears of new terrorist attacks and growing violence in many African countries highlight a key tenet of U.S. Africa Command’s theater campaign strategy—to work with partner nations across the continent to improve readiness, interoperability and capabilities to support humanitarian assistance, disaster response and peacekeeping operations.
Historically, wounded troops on the battlefield have endured long waits either for medical care or for transport to better-equipped facilities. This same scenario also has played out in the aftermath of natural and manmade disasters. A consortium has formed to address this gap in reaction time, according to News Editor Rita Boland in her article "Medicine Joins Disaster Response" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine. This group has laid the groundwork for the National Emergency Preparedness and Response (NEPR) Research Center.
Team Rubicon is an organization helping veterans help more people. It offers former troops who have a desire to continue serving others a chance to use their unique skill sets during disaster response scenarios. The veterans are teamed with medical personnel and deployed to areas worldwide that are experiencing crises. Response events can be reactive, responding to an immediate, devastating emergency, or proactive in areas with ongoing problems.
Little did Defense Editor Max Cacas know when he wrote his article, "Army Post Develops Disaster Management Strategies" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, that a U.S. Army post-and indeed, the entire mid-Atlantic region stretching from Canada to as far south as Georgia-would be put to the test with a 5.8-magnitude earthquake. The shocking temblor on August 23 served to highlight preparedness operations already taking place at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and how those actions can benefit the community and the nation.
A science-based software tool for the iPad allows first responders to learn from models of building damage and other conditions that occur after a disaster. Developed by Sandia National Laboratories, the Standard Unified Modeling, Mapping and Integration Toolkit (SUMMIT) enables firefighters, medics and police officers to visualize damaged buildings. The tool will allow them to tap into existing models that feature details of buildings, infrastructure and casualties. During exercises, it will visualize an integrated scenario and make it available to all participants in a master control cell.