DOD aids first responder system
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Mar 10, 2002
As part of an annual program supporting advanced technology projects, the
Defense Department is funding development of a system to improve communications
among state and local public safety agencies and DOD personnel.
The homeland security command and control (HSC2) package is intended
to provide a secure, common communications backbone to ensure that emergency
workers don't face the radio, telephone and digital communications breakdowns
that occurred after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said Sue Payton, deputy
undersecretary of Defense for advanced systems and concepts.
The lack of interoperability between the systems used by the police,
firefighters and medical personnel made it difficult for them to track where
help was being given and where it was needed.
"It's basically a communications project, but it's also getting the
data together for situational awareness," she said. "It's a matter of getting
the networks together, the data, and then software to allow people to understand
what's really going on."
HSC2 is getting $3.8 million from Payton's office and is hoping to add
$50 million more from partners.
Payton said a demonstration would take place next month in New Orleans.
In it, DOD and assorted state and local government agencies will respond
to a terrorist attack scenario. A joint government team is meeting this
week "to vet it a little more," she said.
"Communication in the crisis management stage of a terrorist attack
is critical," said John Wohlfarth, a research analyst at the Anser Institute
for Homeland Security. "Having a hierarchy in effect to get the information
when they need it — that's terrific."