Crowdsourcing and Collaborative Tools in Virtual Online Disaster Relief Scenarios
Wed, 20 Apr 2011 09:30:24 -0500
By Dr. Linton Wells II and Khalil Ali
TIDES is a Department of Defense knowledge-sharing research project at the
Center for Technology and National Security Policy, located at the
National Defense University (NDU). TIDES focuses on low-cost, innovative solutions to provide sustainable support to populations under stress; post-disaster, post-war, impoverished, domestic and foreign. The TIDES project leverages a global network of distributed talent in order to find integrated solutions, sustained through the private sector.
Last month, TIDES (Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support) participated in Exercise 24 Europe (X24EUR), a virtual online disaster relief scenario that leveraged social media, crowdsourcing, and
collaborative tools in an innovative cloud computing environment. The event
took place from March 29th-March 31st and was co-lead by San Diego State University's Immersive Visualization Center and the United States European Command, and supported by an array of public/private organizations.
APL tests, improves, and develops enhancements for Navy models for tactical engagement, mission campaign process, and high-level decision making. The Laboratory evaluates modeling and simulation tools in the current suite, analyzes needs, and develops lessons learned to help create credible, reliable, and effective tools that remove gaps and shortfalls in command and control aspects of campaign models; weather in warfighting models; and mathematical algorithms for managing resources and Naval reserves on base. APL is exploring new areas of modeling and simulation where attributes and variables are still to be defined. These require multidisciplinary analysis, assessments of cause and effect, and questions regarding the benefit and cost of humanitarian
APL-led collaborative workshops featuring subject area experts to explore nations, non-nation state groups, and areas of the world that are of special national security importance to the United States. These country workshops and companion reports are designed to identify key characteristics and variables that impact U.S. policy and strategy with an interagency perspective. The workshops examine more than future competition or potential conflict with the United States, by exploring and identifying critical factors that impact how other cultures perceive issues and events that affect them internally and externally. APL country workshops include Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, Venezuela, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, The Muslim Brotherhood, and West Africa.
In collaboration with JHU's School of Public Health, APL is developing a realistic bioterrorism scenario for the University's PACER (Preparedness and Critical Event Response) program, researching models and simulations associated with propagation, detection, and diagnosis of disease
caused by bioterrorist activities.
As a Maryland "critical infrastructure" component for emergency planning, APL collaborated with the JHU Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) in a statewide exercise with Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to evaluate preparedness. The exercise was an opportunity to review the University's pandemic influenza planning and test communications between University divisions and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
On April 8 and 9, 2008, the first in a series of conferences with international participants was held to examine Indian Ocean geopolitical, economic, trade, resource, and security issues. This 2-day Indian Ocean Workshop was conducted on behalf of the U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV 3/5) by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory's National Security Analysis Department, Lockheed Martin MS2, and the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. The event was held at the National Defense University in Washington,DC. Significant support was provided by the Indian Embassy (Washington, DC) incontacting many of the invitees and participants who provided government, industry, academic, and military perspectives. Representatives from India, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Singapore, Japan, and the United States actively participated in the workshop. This diversity of representation provided multiple perspectives related to the issues affecting the nations influenced by the Indian Ocean. In all, a total of 48 participants, including several foreign flag officers, attended the workshop sessions, during which 20 highly qualified speakers provided keen insights and generated significant interest in the objectives of the workshop. Those objectives included the following:
- Increasing the understanding of the vital role that the Indian Ocean region plays in global commerce and trade, energy supplies, economics, and finance
- Assessing regional security issues (nation-state competition, trade disruption, piracy, human trafficking) as threats to greater world trade, economics, and globalization
- Identifying who should be responsible for dealing with various threats and security issues in the Indian Ocean
- Identifying where and when partnerships make sense and how they would be created and executed
- Identifying what follow-on efforts, if any, need to take place