Intercepts

Sat phone infrastructure. The AA battery lesson. Northcom helps Katrina evacuees tune in. Send in the oral historians. Love in the ruins.

Sat phone infrastructure

We've slain entire forests during the past decade writing and reporting on the need to protect critical infrastructure communications systems against a terrorist attack, only to see much of them destroyed by nature throughout most of the Gulf Coast.

Tens of thousands of satellite phones from Iridium and Globalstar emerged as the thin communications lifeline for the first Defense Department units dispatched to the Gulf Coast. Satellite phones also supported the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local public safety agencies. Defense coordinating officers from the First U.S. Army were among the first DOD teams on the scene.

Col. James Hickey, the First Army's chief of staff, said his command had learned from previous hurricanes that satellite phones were essential tools, a lesson other agencies quickly learned as demand for the phones skyrocketed.

Liz deCastro, an Iridium spokeswoman, said Celestica, the company's contract manufacturer, ran its factory around the clock to produce handsets in the first week after the hurricane. The manufacturer also took orders from cell phone carriers that probably furnished satellite phones to repair crews, she added.

John Dark, senior marketing manager at Globalstar, said the company received orders for more than 10,000 satellite phones in the first week after the hurricane hit because they were the only reliable alternative to destroyed cellular and landline phone networks.

The AA battery lesson

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) has supplied handheld two-way radios in bulk to federal, state and local hurricane disaster response teams. Those radios keep going like the Energizer Bunny because they use the same power source as the bunny — disposable AA batteries, which don't require commercial power for recharging.

Steve Jenkins, NIFC's communications division chief, said the multiagency fire center learned long ago that reliable communications means little reliance on commercial power. Any post-Katrina lessons learned should incorporate this affordable and nearly indestructible solution from Jenkins and his crew.

Northcom helps Katrina evacuees tune in

Last week, Northern Command, which is coordinating DOD's post-Katrina operations, bought 10,000 battery-powered AM/FM radios for distribution to news-starved hurricane evacuees. "Not knowing what's going on is the loneliest feeling in the world," said Air Force Col. Lewis Thrasher, chief of Northcom's Contracting Division. "People are desperate for information. This shipment of radios is just one small way [Northcom Commander] Adm. Timothy Keating feels we can help."

Northcom bought the radios, batteries included, in bulk for $60,000 from Wal-Mart Gulf Coast distribution centers. The $10 billion Katrina disaster response supplemental funding bill will pay for the radios.

Send in the oral historians

Paul Tobin, one of our favorite retired admirals and the newly minted director of naval history, told us he plans to record the Navy's role in Katrina disaster relief.

The service generates far less paper documentation today than it did in the past — say during World War II or even the Vietnam War. Navy e-mail is ephemeral and hard to track down, so Tobin plans to dispatch a team of reserve historians from the Washington Navy Yard to the Gulf Coast to collect oral histories of an unprecedented domestic operation for the Navy.

Tobin, recently retired from AFCEA International, said he plans to work at his new gig for two or three years, then retire again. But he postponed his AFCEA retirement several times, so maybe he'll sail through the end of this decade at the Navy Yard before heading to his retirement condo in Florida.

Love in the ruins

Tech. Sgt. Daniel McMullen of the 335th Training Squadron and his new wife, Laverne, got married recently in a shelter at hurricane-battered Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.

The groom wore BDUs with a bow tie fashioned from yellow safety tape. The bride wore a matching yellow dress. Groomsmen wore reflective safety belts, and the bridesmaids wore reflective safety vests.

Intercept something? Send it to bbrewin@fcw.com or ftiboni@fcw.com.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.