Coast Guard tech situation improving

The Coast Guard has regained most of its information technology capabilities along the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina demolished swaths of four Southern states last week.

“Our IT folks have worked magic,” wrote Capt. Charles Mathieu, chief of the Coast Guard’s Office of Command and Control Architecture, in an e-mail message “Almost all of the areas, except the city of New Orleans, are back up and running, and most are up to pre-Katrina status.”

Coast Guard technicians have restored access to classified network systems on the Coast Guard Data Network, Mathieu said. The network had a main hub in New Orleans that went down during the storm.

For the first few days afterward, Coast Guard employees had to rely on a limited number of satellite-based routers with limited bandwidth, Coast Guard officials said.

Recovery has been even better for the VHF radio communications system that the Coast Guard uses to communicate with its boats and cutters, Mathieu said.

The Coast Guard’s National Distress System is now completely restored outside New Orleans and may soon extend into parts of the city, Mathieu said. Most of the towers that Katrina knocked down are working again, he said.

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