HSARPA looks for 'situational awareness'

Situational awareness for state and local emergency responders and other officials is emerging as an important theme in homeland security.

The Defense Department pioneered many technologies, including a common operating picture, to provide situational awareness, said Peter Miller, program manager with the Homeland Security Department 's Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency.

"This is the ability to give people at every level in the chain -- from emergency responders to emergency coordinators through directors of various functions within cities, regional directors, all the way up the chain -- the correct information and just that information that they need to carry out there mission," he said.

Speaking today at the DHS Industry Forum, Miller said HSARPA officials want to examine what the Defense Department has done and develop technology to build situational awareness so local and regional officials can make decisions built on a common operating picture.

Another priority, Miller said, is integrating all of the new chemical, radiological and nuclear detectors being produced.

He also talked about base protection. If there is something happening at one end of an installation, such as a truck stopping or circling, but there is no overt threat, then those at the other ends should be aware about it especially if that same truck comes there. And that means communicating very quickly with one another, he said.

Other HSARPA interests include: future electric systems, advanced closed circuit televisions and smart buildings that incorporate features such as ventilation systems tied to detectors.

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