Coast Guard Response Benefits from University Partnerships

A visual analytics tool funded by DHS S & T’s Office of University Partnerships is helping GAO identify the best way that U.S. Coast Guard stations can be utilized.

The tool helps USCG decision makers spot the stations most capable of responding to disasters and helps prioritize the restoration of stations in need of repair. It was developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center for Visualization and Data Analytics, co-led by Purdue University through the Visual Analytics Command, Control and Interoperability Environments (VACCINE) Center, and in 2013 USCG praised it for its high impact role in superstorm Sandy.

The tool takes data from past cases and filters it to judge how effective a response can be, given certain parameters. It begins with a map of USCG stations across the country, taking into account specific assets, vehicle speeds and distances to provide the most informed portrait of a hypothetical response. CgSARVA data informs the strategic planning process to help ensure the USCG meets its 2-hour SAR standard, allowing responders to send the right vehicles to the location and perform the rescue.

In October, GAO started an assessment of USCG’s 190 boat stations and 24 air stations. It verified the usefulness of CgSARVA in identifying the strengths and capabilities of coast guard stations, in a report, particularly how it yields specific operational metrics such as geography, boat speeds and aviation capabilities to evaluate the effectiveness of response.

“CgSARVA is an excellent communication tool that helps analysts rapidly illustrate the operational impacts of variations to the U.S. Coast Guard’s boat station search and rescue capability,” said LCDR Philip Baxa, USCG Office of Requirements and Analysis.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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