Past ForwardBy Baselinemag | Posted 2006-10-06 Email Print
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Past Forward . . . Teaming When Disaster Hits
Humanitarian groups, military personnel and I.T. Vendors ran through a series of "war games" exercisescreating communications networks from scratch to help aid workers respond to emergenciesat Strong Angel III. The event was held at a former U.S. Navy training facility in San Diego in August.
"Far before food and water and other things like that, you need communicationsor your relief efforts tend to become so inefficient as to develop a degree of civil unrest," says Eric Rasmussen, a Navy surgeon and the event's organizer. Rasmussen headed up efforts to facilitate better communications in Indonesia after the December 2004 tsunami devastated the region (see "Unfilled Promise," May 2005, p. 32).
Like the previous Strong Angel exercises, held in 2000 and 2004, this year's event was aimed at promoting more effective cooperation between the various military, emergency-response and charitable organizations that often converge at the scene of a national or international crisis.
Strong Angel III put a greater emphasis on technology, partly because of the greater participation by vendors, including Google and Microsoft, which deployed some $35 million worth of computer equipment for the duration of the exercise. Rasmussen says he was particularly excited by the work that was done on open-source and open-standards solutions, with the potential to be broadly adopted: "We're looking for solutions that are robust enough, accessible enough and, in many cases, cheap enough to be deployed in the field." For more information, visit www.strongangel3.net.
David F. Carr