The DOD Instruction 3000.05 mandates increased DOD operations in support of Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR). What impact does this requirement have on naval operations and deployment preparations? How can the Navy equip their forces to coordinate and collaborate in a multi-agency, multi-partner role? The Cross Sector Operations, Maritime Domain Awareness Project intends to explore these questions and make executable recommendations across the spectrum of maritime non classified operations, from disaster response to humanitarian civic affairs, to theater security cooperation, to counter drug activates to maritime domain awareness. Complicating this are arcane and outdated information sharing rules, reliance on .mil networks that non-traditional partners seek to avoid, regional differences, wide disparities in partner capabilities, and competing tasks.
These solutions cannot be determined by the Navy itself, but depend on inputs from many stakeholders. These include, but are not limited to DOD civil affairs units Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, other navies, and even United Nations organizations. Moreover, other DOD groups are working these issues, and the potential for overlap and duplication remain high. The Navy's Program Executive Office for C4I introduced several technologies that serve as risk reduction pilots for addressing the technical and procedural issues in executing non-classified maritime operations. This research project applies these assets to real life maritime operations, so that the Navy and partners can accurately assess the technical feasibility of these tools. At this point, this includes Google Apps, Google Earth, and other non-classified capabilities. Already, Maritime Civil Affairs Squadron ONE has used these tools in support of the USNS MERCY's deployment in support of Pacific Partnership'08. Maritime Civil Affairs Squadron TWO is piloting Google Apps on their current deployment with teams aboard USS KEARSARGE.
Lead researcher Scot Miller has found that growing situational understanding across disparate partners, many of whom are not native English speakers, is best done through maps and pictures. The researchers have engaged the San Diego State University's Visualization Lab to better understand how to accomplish these tasks. Already, this effort is increasing the interchange between various Geospatial information systems centers of excellence, including virtual Alabama and the World Food Programme's GIS efforts in Rome, Italy.
In Relief Overview
Mission: Create a collaborative, politically neutral online social environment to improve the capacity of responders and the efficacy of initiatives in both disaster and humanitarian assistance situations. Inform the affected public and provide collaborative opportunities to them through the online environment, thus providing a basis for sustainable improvements.
Basic Strategy: Provide users and user organizations with readily accessible, easily configurable, private and public spaces. Make resources, communication and organizing tools available to users. Provide public views that inform and empowers the viewer to act on reliable information. Use visualization to effectively convey complex or varied information (maps, charts and annotated images). Provide private information to Disaster Response and Humanitarian Assistance organizations that allow them to streamline their activities, avoid unnecessary redundancies, and increase their effectiveness through shared information and open communication. Provide solutions for low/no bandwidth environments or conditions.
Technology Strategy: Employ globally available, open source, cloud supported platforms (Google Sites and Apps for the initial trial). Solutions must either be subscription free or low subscription fee solutions that require minimal installation (a browser and plugins) and support multiple product platforms (computers, PDAs, SmartPhones, etc.).
Employ agile and flexible technical support and development strategy that produce tools and services which can be served from multiple platforms (HTTP and RESTful protocols). Data storage and hosting requirements should be flexible so that distributive technologies S3 and Cloud can be readily used when warranted. Data input and output must support global standards (i.e., rss, atom, kml, xpath, etc.)
Users should be able to configure their own spaces and select tools and applications that meet their needs. If tools are not available they can request them and interim and be part of the development processes (SMEs).
The public sites and development efforts should support other existing products and services rather than compete with them – feature the work of NGOs and provide space, sites, mapping and communication tools to their staff members.