Homeland Security Lab conference to cover radio communications interoperability
Speakers at a Nov. 6 conference, “Interoperability–Heading Down the Right Road,” will explore ways in which radio communications interoperability can be achieved, what tools might work, what programs are in motion and what goals are being sought.
Sponsored by the Homeland Security Lab of the University of Maine Computer Science Department, the conference will take place between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST, and will be made available for live viewing online.
The conference will be held in the Soderberg Center, part of Jeness Hall, on the UM campus in Orono, Maine. For a map of the campus, click here. For detailed information about visiting the UM campus and parking, click here.
“The events of a year ago have placed a renewed emphasis on interoperability,” a statement from the Homeland Security Lab reads.
In describing the reasons behind the conference, the lab quoted from “America Still Unprepared — America Still in Danger,” a report by a task force arranged under the auspices of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.
“In virtually every major city and county in the United States, no interoperable communications system exists to support police, fire departments, and county, state, regional, and federal response personnel during a major emergency.
“Radio frequencies are not available to support the post-incident communication demands that will be placed on them, and most cities have no redundant systems to use as backups. Portable radios will not work in high-rise buildings unless the buildings are equipped with repeater systems,” the report reads.
“Most U.S. cities have separate command-and-control functions for their police and fire departments, and little to no coordination exists between the two organizations. Furthermore, with few exceptions, first-responder commanders do not have access to secure radios, telephones, or video-conferencing capabilities that can support communications with county, state, and federal emergency preparedness officials or National Guard leaders,” the task force said. (For a story about the report, click here.)
The conference will address a range of questions, including:
What is driving unified command models?
How can incident managers execute multi-layered emergency response and consequence management plans?
When the quick surge in resources and manpower happens, what will hold it together and keep it on track?
In small rural towns where mutual aid is a long established practice, what needs to happen to take this to the next level?
Speakers scheduled for the conference and the times at which they are to speak are:
1:00 George Markowsky, chair of the UM Computer Science Department.
1:02 Moderator Peter J. Brown, Maine-based freelance writer who specializes in satellite communications.
1:10 John P. Caruso, chief of the executive agent (EA) for Theater Joint Tactical Networks Action Office (EA-TJTN) at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) at Fort Monmouth, N.J.
1:30 Gene Davenport, telecommunications manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) in Denton, Texas.
1:50 John W. Loonsk, M.D., associate director for informatics and director at the Information Resources Management Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
2:10 Ross Merlin, telecommunications and information resources manager at the U.S. Public Health Service Office of Emergency Preparedness.
2:40 Robert E. Lee Jr., Public Safety Wireless Network (PSWN) Program manger for the Department of Justice and supervisory special agent with the FBI.
3:00 Michael Skurla, chief of combatant command integration and interoperability initiatives, Combatant Command Interoperability Program Office (CIPO), U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command (CECOM).
3:20 David R. Beering, principal partner of Infinite Global Infrastructures in Chicago.
3:40 Richard Wolf, executive vice president, Wolf Coach, Auburn, Mass.
4:00 Randall Berry, fire chief, Livermore, Maine.
For a detailed schedule, click here.
To view the conference online, choose one of the following:
1. View the conference streamed live over the Internet. Check the page link above for a link to the conference on the day of the event. For this option, you must have RealPlayer or Windows MediaPlayer installed on your computer.
2. View the conference over the Internet2 Access Grid (often available through universities). Note that the conference will be broadcast in the Windmer Room. To view information on Access Grid listings for November 6, go to the following Web address: click here.