FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug 17, 2006
San Diego, CA, August 17, 2006 -- General Atomics today announced its participation in Strong Angel III, a collaborative demonstration of civil and military cooperation and communication capabilities put together by a partnership of private companies, government agencies, humanitarian and relief agencies and universities. Hosted by San Diego State University and taking place in San Diego August 21-26, Strong Angel III will field test effective means of delivering life-saving humanitarian relief and rapidly deployable communications systems in the wake of major disasters.
The core site for Strong Angel III will be the operations center at the San Diego Fire Department Fire Rescue Training Facility site, located at the former Naval Training Center near downtown San Diego. San Diego State University’s Visualization Center will be a secondary location.
General Atomics will unveil its analysis tool, SPIRIT (Strategic Planning Integrating Regional Infrastructure Technology) at the Strong Angel III. In compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), SPIRIT incorporates nationally-sanctioned preparedness measures, providing the expertise to systematically evaluate critical infrastructure systems, and presenting these analyses to regional planners and responders via an intuitive browser-based system for immediate access during times of crisis. SPIRIT maps the existing infrastructure within a region, and monitors this data for internal or external anomalies, immediately updating its analyses as scenarios unfold.
Emergency managers can use SPIRIT to provide understanding of critical systems and their interdependencies during development of strategic response plans, as well as during an actual crisis. While many speeches and documents have addressed the need to protect individual critical infrastructure systems, little time has been spent to understand how these systems are mutually dependent. Understanding how a single system’s failure can negatively impact other dependent systems allows command and control decision makers to predict, and thereby, to prevent cascading disasters.
In support of Strong Angel III, SPIRIT provides analysis of specific infrastructure systems: water, electricity, fuels, health and the governmental chain of command within San Diego County --- in each instance portraying how losses within each infrastructure system will impact the others, and identifying the most critical elements and nodes within each system. SPIRIT provides the sound technical evaluations of critical systems necessary for the decision makers to make effective split second decisions.
The Strong Angel III demonstration simulates the impact on information sharing in a real-world disaster. The demonstration will assume the context of a worldwide pandemic caused by a highly contagious virus, which is further complicated by a wave of cyber-attacks inflicted by terrorists that cripple critical local infrastructure and systems. Strong Angel III team members will conduct field trials and demonstrations of solutions that address 49 specific humanitarian relief challenges – both technical and social – that have not yet been adequately overcome in real disaster relief efforts.
“In the wake of major incidents like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Southeast Asia, it is more important than ever to have an integrated response when disaster strikes,” said Eric Rasmussen, MD, director of Strong Angel III and professor at San Diego State University. “Public-and private-sector engagement in Strong Angel III is at remarkable levels, underscoring the significance of the task at hand and the commitment of everyone involved to work together to maximize preparedness and coordination efforts.”
Some of the demonstrations will include developing solutions for redundant power, adaptive communications, austere network communications, mobile workers, cross-organizational collaboration, mesh networking, satellite services, ephemeral workgroups, geospatial information systems, rapid assessment techniques, shared situational awareness, cyber-security, alerting tools, community informatics, machine-based translation for multi-lingual communication, and social network development.
Strong Angel III sponsors include Bell Canada, Cisco Systems, CommsFirst, Microsoft, Save the Children, Sprint Nextel, Google, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the U.S. Department of Defense.
About Strong Angel III
Strong Angel III is the third in a series of demonstrations that have taken place since 2000. The first two Strong Angel demonstrations were held in 2000 and 2004 in Hawaii associated with the joint Naval exercises called RIMPAC. The primary goals of Strong Angel III are to field-test and demonstrate effective means of delivering life-saving humanitarian relief in the wake of natural and man-made disasters, to foster close collaboration and communications between aid agencies, governments and military in providing disaster relief, to provide local communities with solutions that will help them cope with disasters more immediately and effectively, and to enable military forces to better prepare for and execute humanitarian relief efforts. Strong Angel III will issue a lessons-learned document on its website as soon as possible after conclusion of the demonstration. For more information on Strong Angel III and a listing of participating public- and private-sector organizations, please visit www.strongangel3.net.
About General Atomics
General Atomics, founded in 1955, specializes in diversified research, development, and manufacturing in defense, energy, and other advanced technologies. Affiliated manufacturing and commercial service companies include General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., which produces the Predator® family of unmanned aircraft systems.
General Atomics, Public Relations