December 17, 2007
Raytheon Hosts First Responders Experiment
TEWKSBURY, Mass. — Raytheon Company hosted a mission readiness experiment Nov. 30 involving federal, state and local agencies looking for ways to improve the procedures, protocols, interfaces and systems employed for responding to very serious incidents.
The experiment was conducted in an exercise environment that allowed responders and players to see how their roles, interactions and decisions would play out in responding to a major event.
First responder agencies participated in a 4-hour Advanced Incident Command Experiment reacting to a notional tanker truck spill on Interstate 95 within the city limits of Providence, R.I., that had serious safety, medical, health, traffic, and environmental consequences. The experiment took place in high-tech modeling and simulation facilities at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems' (IDS) Headquarters Mission Center, Tewksbury, Mass.
"Coordinating a response to a complex civil emergency with many players, each with distinct capabilities, procedures, communications systems, and management chains, is very similar to the challenges faced in managing military and security operations," said Lee Silvestre, who leads Raytheon IDS' Mission Innovation.
"Raytheon has considerable expertise and experience integrating the capabilities and command and control of military operations," Silvestre said. "It became apparent to us that many of these processes and systems have direct application for civil authorities who are also dealing with very serious and complicated situations. By using advanced modeling and simulation, we are able to reveal issues impacting performance, challenge our assumptions, and stress the current system in a no-risk, low-cost environment."
Silvestre and her team posed the idea of the experiment to Rhode Island emergency management officials who enthusiastically embraced the possibility of applying integration techniques used in joint military operations and signed up for the experiment to find ways to make it work.
Participating in the exercise were officials and players from the Providence Fire Department, Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, Providence Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security, United States Coast Guard, Rhode Island State Police, the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and the Narragansett Bay Commission.
In addition to these participants playing in the exercise, observers recorded reactions and interactions as the notional emergency unfolded, and the exercise was videotaped to make sure nothing was missed during the post- exercise analysis.
"This was an excellent exercise," said Michael Dillon, assistant chief for the Providence Fire Department and incident commander for the exercise. "I'm astonished that this was put together in such a short time. Next time, we're going to bring more players to perform their functions. It is a valuable tool for fire services."
"It was a great opportunity for our emergency responders to partner with Raytheon and their advanced technology to find ways to improve our capabilities and procedures when responding to a major incident," said Leo Messier, director of Providence's Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security. "As this system is developed further, it can be used to train new supervisors who may lack some of the hands-on experience managing actual major emergency situations."
A number of players echoed Messier's sentiment about the exercise's benefits for training first responder supervisors and managers.
Silvestre said that the next phase is to analyze the exercise, identify gaps, obstacles and redundancies, and develop possible solutions that may be of interest to the response community.
"This is not a one-time thing," Silvestre said. "We hope to do this periodically, with different scenarios and missions, including others to get different perspectives and a more complete understanding of the situations civil authorities face."
"Future exercises will benefit from lessons learned during this first experiment," Silvestre said. More communications channels, face-to-face play, more role players, media interest, a better understanding of selected agency roles and capabilities, extending the scenario to include effects, and refining exercise software were some of the areas cited for creating a closer to real-world incident management experience.
Integrated Defense Systems is Raytheon's leader in Joint Battlespace Integration providing affordable, integrated solutions to a broad international and domestic customer base, including the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Armed Forces and the Department of Homeland Security.
Raytheon Company, with 2006 sales of $20.3 billion, is a technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 85 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.
Source: Raytheon Company