Panel recommends national disaster database for DOD

Congressional panelists advise on DOD support for domestic disasters

A panel created by Congress recommends creating a central federal/defense data depository to track disaster response efforts and nearly 40 other measures to improve how the Defense Department supports civilian authorities for disaster responses.

The panel, in a Sept. 15 report, advised establishing a nationwide repository of data on federal military responses, developing a common operating picture to coordinate defense and civilian responses, encouraging sharing of response plans across jurisdictions, and increasing DOD’s training and capacity for response to chemical, radiological, nuclear, biological and explosive disasters.

Congress created the Advisory Panel on Department of Defense Capabilities for Support of Civil Authorities After Certain Incidents under the defense authorization law of 2008, as amended in 2009. The Rand Corporation provided research and administrative support.


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The panel recommended that the president establish a central data depository to track all federal responses to natural and man-made disasters. DOD also should create a data depository to feed into the federal depository that would include details on deployed military units and personnel, operations, logistical and transportation support, command and control, funding and related analysis, it said.

In addition, a central common operating picture is needed to support incident response.

“Civil/military coordination for emergency response is currently hampered by the lack of a common operating picture to which response organizations can fully contribute and which they can fully use. This is despite legislation to direct such coordination and communication,” the panel report said.

The panelists recommend that the Homeland Security Department, with help from DOD, complete developing the Homeland Security Information Network and Common Operating Picture. The network has been in the works for several years.

 

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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