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DHS S&T Collaborates with Emergency Management Australian and MIT Lab

A strategic partnership to collaborate on advancing information-sharing capabilities for public safety has been formed between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Emergency Management Victoria and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL).

“The objective of all emergency management activities is to reduce the impact of emergencies on human life, communities, infrastructure and theenvironment. Timely and relevant emergency information for communities, first responders and emergency management agencies is integral in enabling them to make effective decisions before, during and after emergencies,” DHS said in an announcement today, which was by Australian Member of Parliament Jane Garrett; Minster for Emergency Services, State of Victoria, and Mr. Craig Lapsley, commissioner, Emergency Management Victoria and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL) Dr. Melissa G. Choi, head of Homeland Protection and Air Traffic Control Division.

The intent is “to recommit to [this]strategic partnership.”

“This effort with our international research partners will help us to provide front-line emergency managers and response personnel with faster access to critical information,” Brothers said. “This collaborative effort will also help increase effectiveness of international humanitarian assistance and disaster response resulting in saving lives and reducing property damage.”

Over the next 12 months, DHS said, “this partnership will help facilitate the development of standards-based approaches for enabling public safety organizations to share information and improve decision-making capabilities regardless of differences between hardware and software applications.In addition, they agreed to continue to explore the use of the Next Generation Incident Command System (NICS) technology to support public safety needs. Release of the open-source NICS software for the global community is anticipated later this year.

“The open-source licensing of the software developed by DHS S&T and MIT LL provides a world class platform on which Victoria is building its information strategy and all users will potentially benefit from innovation and developments around the world.” said Emergency Management Victoria Commissioner Craig Lapsley. “Victoria’s information strategy is to enable all stakeholders, including communities and businesses, to participate in providing improved intelligence and, in turn, gain better and more timely information to improve decision making for all.”

Effective decision making is enabled by two factors: comprehensive, up-to-date information; and the tools to turn that information into insights that can assist with making the right decision.

“Oftentimes, systems used to manage disasters are not interoperable, making collaboration difficult and resource management takes longer than it needs to. In a disaster, wasting time can cost lives and property,” said MIT LL Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Group Program Manager Gregory Hogan. “It is critical to have a collaborative, situational awareness system for first responders that provides a ‘work as one’ feel, even across international boundaries.”

Other collaborative research between the partners will include mobile applications, improving communications in rural areas with low connectivity, and disaster resiliency.

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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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