, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)


The Public Safety Integration Center(PSIC) is a laboratory, test bed, and prototyping  demonstration center established by Science Applications International Corporation in cooperation with more than 50 other companies who are suppliers of technologies and solutions applicable to Homeland Security. The PSIC is dedicated to being a national center for the development of inter-operable Homeland Security solutions to prevent natural, technological, and terrorist incidents. PSIC institutionalizes the six stages of Homeland Security, recognizing that to be successful we must detect those events that cannot be prevented so that a rapid alert can be made in order to protect people and the economy with multi-jurisdictional, multi-organizational resources that respond in a coordinated  emergency  operation that effectively allows the community and the nation to recover.
The mission of PSIC is to support the National Strategy for Homeland Security and be a “test bed” for the implementation of the Initial National Response Plan released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A key feature of the Plan is the role of the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) as the “national-level hub for operational communications and information pertaining to domestic incident management.”

The HSOC maintains “domestic incident management operational situational awareness, including threat monitoring and initial incident information assessment.”  In order to accomplish this, the HSOC is charged with facilitating information sharing and operational coordination with other Emergency Operations Centers EOCs serving the DHS components, Federal, State, local, tribal, and nongovernmental organizations. The users of this Homeland Security information are part of a multi-disciplinary structure of emergency management that includes law enforcement, emergency medical services, emergency management, the fire service, hazardous materials, public works, governmental administrative, public safety communications, healthcare and public health, as well as voluntary agencies.

To help structure and demonstrate this multi-agency, EOC-based, information-centric National Response Plan, the development of the PSIC followed the Enterprise Architecture (EA) model of applying technologies to real-world needs.  EA begins with policy and functional reviews to define the mission and objectives of an organization that is described in the EA Business Model.  The EA process further defines the “as is” technology architecture, determines gaps in filling mission needs, and then creates a flexible long-range “target” plan to design, develop, implement, support, train and exercise the resulting systems.

The EA is a master plan for applying technology from which the PSIC purpose emerged:

•   Serve as a test bed and laboratory for both governments and commercial vendor products and services to bring together their individual technologies to create an integrated and interoperable set of Homeland Security system solutions.

•   Provide “hands-on” demonstration of Homeland Security “use cases” of integrated systems designed to achieve the National Homeland Security Strategy of “Prevent, Detect, Alert, Protect, Respond, and Recover”

•   Reduce risk and increase innovation in Homeland Security by evolving a “system of systems” using a wide variety of legacy systems, military and civilian networks, government and commercial off-the-shelf products, and emerging technologies integrated to provide complete technical solutions.

In the following sections, we will review these six major solution sets that form the technology components of the PSIC Laboratory and PSIC Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Simulator.

•   Access Control:  Detection and Protection, Integrated and Interoperable
•   Vulnerability Analysis and Consequence Assessment:  Understanding Risk, Forecasting Hazards, Anticipating Response
•   Intelligence and Surveillance:  Monitoring Threats and Foreseeing Attacks
•   Collaboration:  Strategy, Planning, Alerting, Training, Exercising, Response
•   Incident Management:  On-scene to Local to State to Federal
•   Interoperable Public Safety Communication:

Project 25, WLAN, 802.11, and Interconnect

SAIC is not the manufacturer of these technologies in most cases.  Rather, the dozens of companies that are cooperating members of the PSIC provide the technologies.  SAIC provides the integration and interoperability.  Think of Homeland Security as a flow chart or wiring diagram.  Technologies are the boxes and they can be filled with legacy tools or multiple new products.  The key to successful Homeland Security technology application, however, is in the flow chart’s lines.  It is the integration, the interoperability, and the physical and intellectual networking that will make us more secure against the terrorist, natural disaster, and technological accidents to which Homeland Security is dedicated.

The SAIC goal is to be the premier Systems Integrator for Homeland Security, from policy and EA development to systems engineering and long-term operation, training, and support.  This paper describes how the PSIC is helping the company achieve that goal while, most importantly, helping the Nation achieve improved Homeland Security.

A PSIC Scenario …

As an illustration of how PSIC brings together diverse technologies into a cohesive solution to the Homeland Security problem, consider the following event as it unfolds, beginning with the triggering of a smart motion-detecting video camera at a port facility perimeter fence …

•   That alerts an incident management decision support system, which would in turn…
•   Alerts security dispatch personnel and shows the captured video causing the alert that …
•   Automatically shows the location of the camera’s field of view causing the alert on the Geographic Information System (GIS) of the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system that …
•   Automatically logs the alert event on the CAD systems meeting the “legal rules of evidence” criteria while …
•   Visual determination by dispatched personnel is accomplished by “pushing” the image of the perpetrator over the secure wireless LAN (WLAN) to palm PCs used
by the nearest security responders, at the same time …
•   “Pushing” the location of the event to these responders, directing them to the location using the GIS installed on the palm PCs while …
•   Monitoring and verify response through Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) over the secure WLAN so that …
•   Higher and lateral levels of Command and Control elements are alerted via secure Web access (“push”) to the occurrence, status of the response, availability of additional response resources via mutual aid while, simultaneously …
•   The image of the perpetrator is delivered via a collaborative workspace to intelligence agencies which is used to …
•   Compare facial recognition and biometric representations with stored facial images taken from a variety of intelligence sources to make identification, if possible, and…
•   Provide overall monitoring of the preceding steps as part of a training exercise for security responders, dispatch personnel, incident managers, and command elements.

Access Control

The problem that the PSIC addresses in access control, quite simply, is to validate and protect the “good guys” and find and track the “bad guys,” how to facilitate the flow of goods while assuring that nothing enters the country or a building that can cause us harm.  Access control includes three main categories of products that must be part of a full multi-sensor integrated into a command and control system.  The three categories are:

•   Biometric Entry and Delivery Control
•   Vehicle and Cargo Inspection
•   Intruder Detection

Each of these is highlighted below.

Biometrics.  The use of biometrics brings to facility access control a proven method for identifying who has authorized entry and exit permissions and restricting those who do not.

Biometrics include identification (ID) cards with computer chips containing key information which allow validation that the person is who he or she claims to be.  Such information contained on the chip can be about the physical characteristics of the card holder, such as fingerprint, iris scan, and photos, as well as secure employee data of medical records, weapon date, next of kin, time and attendance, and access authorization.

Biometric readers can be used to validate an individual’s access rights within a facility at parking complexes, loading docks, or a central visitor control area or at doors, cells, exits, and any controlled area.

In addition, smart identification cards can be used to control access to computers and mobile devices such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDA), phones or Wireless Local Area Networks.

Finally, biometric control can be “contactless” using a radio frequency (RF) ID card that allows the unobtrusive observation and positive validation of a person’s (or equipment’s) gaining access or exiting a location which has RFID readers strategically located on door frames and entry/exit points for high-speed reading of basic data used both for personnel and vehicle access.

SAIC has placed more than 1.5 million smart ID badges with the U.S. Navy as well as a complete Smart ID and access control system for 5,000 employees of the Naval Air Station, Brunswick, Maine.  After September 11th, the New York Police Department established its access control system for Police Headquarters with 50,000 Smart ID badges.

Vehicle and Cargo Inspection.  In today’s world of international business and global trade, inspection and security personnel face more challenges than ever before. They must verify the contents of a growing number of containers, collect appropriate duties, intercept contraband, and screen for explosives, weapons or other threat objects. And they must do it all while maximizing throughput and minimizing costs.

SAIC’s award-winning Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS) respond to these challenges. The VACIS family of products provides   fast,   reliable and cost-effective solutions for inspecting everything from intermodal containers to passenger vehicles.  What’s more, VACIS offers a variety of configurations for virtually every inspection environment, whether it’s a port, railroad, border, military checkpoint or VIP entrance.  Based on patented, safe, cost-effective, gamma-ray technology, VACIS offers an array of advantages that have been proven in more than 50 installations throughout the world.

Pioneered by SAIC in 1994, gamma-ray-based inspection systems utilize naturally occurring cesium and cobalt sources. These are housed in a container called the source holder, which emits a narrow, vertical fan beam directed at a highly sensitive detector array. As the fan beam penetrates a moving or stationary object, the detector counts the particles passing through the object and transmits these readings to a computer. If the object is moving, VACIS employs real-time correction algorithms that compensate for varying speeds and uneven movements. Using the readings from the detector array, the computer generates a high-resolution image of the inspected object.

Custom software written by SAIC image processing scientists and engineers is utilized to analyze these images. While competing x-ray cargo scanning systems may offer costly backscatter imaging capabilities, these systems offer limited penetration relative to the high cost of that equipment. In contrast, VACIS systems excel in applications where deep penetration is required. As a result, VACIS is an effective, affordable choice for fully loaded cargo containers and vehicles.

Intruder Detection.  To provide protection against intrusion, a number of systems need to be integrated with legacy systems and newly emerging technologies.  These include Radar, with airborne look-down radars mounted on lighter-than-air craft and terrestrial radar for low-flying aircraft.

Underwater swimmer detectors, using sonar imaging to distinguish people and trained creatures.

Vulnerability Analysis and Consequence Assessment

Homeland Security must include an assessment of the vulnerabilities and threats that exist in a community.  This begins with knowledge of the geo-spatial environment in which prevention of natural, technological, and terrorist events must take place.  This involves developing a clear picture of the geographic features, underlying infrastructure and geologic structure, the built environment, and the demographics of the jurisdiction.  Then, the vulnerability of that area to natural, technological, and terrorist events is examined in detail.  Finally, an ongoing assessment of the threat to people, infrastructure, and the readiness of the community to respond to any type of an incident is undertaken.

In the PSIC, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide this understanding in maps, multi-spectral satellite images, and georeferenced video, voice and digital photos.

Some GIS can seen deliver three-dimensional views of the entire community. Combining GIS with analytical models allows the study of the vulnerability of critical infrastructure in an area to risk of natural, technological, and terrorist events an dthe further analysis of the consequences of an incident in models such as the Consequence Assessment Tool Set (CATS™) and Mission Degradation Analysis Support (MIDAS™).  GIS and assessment models present in the PSIC are summarized below.

GIS.  The versatile GeoRover™ Geographic Information System, an extension to the ArcINFO™ line of products, provides a detailed understanding of the spatial environment in maps, multi-spectral satellite images, and georeferenced video, voice and digital photos.  GeoRover™ enables emergency planners to visualize their environment with the fusion of GIS (mapping and aerial/satellite imagery) combined with current field collected multimedia graphics and precision GPS data.

This data can provide accurate and timely information not only for emergency response, but as a proactive visual analytic tool in detection and prevention of incidents GeoRover™ displays a wide variety of map, image, textual and database information and streamlines the process of collecting and analyzing information.  The most important measure of an information technology, however, is how it supports those in the field. GeoRover™ exports the GIS display and associated multimedia files for immediate sharing via the Web for desktop or handheld devices.

Vulnerability Analysis.  The vulnerability of the critical infrastructure is examined in detail with the analytical models of the Mission Degradation Analysis Support (MIDAS) toolset   helps   decision-makers   identify infrastructure that is critical to them, assess its vulnerability and evaluate remediation options.  The toolset answers the three questions:   “What’s critical?”   “What’s vulnerable?” and “What can be done about it?”

MIDAS begins with an understanding of the functions for which an entity is responsible and gathering information on the supporting infrastructure.  MIDAS then maps the infrastructure to the functions that depend on it and displays the product to decision-makers, identifying single-point failures, choke-points and other critical nodes.  Based on the anticipated threats, MIDAS uses state-of-the-art impact effects models to determine potential damage to infrastructures.  Functions that will be degraded are identified and by running the models under diverse scenarios, MIDAS helps examine options to reduce damage to infrastructure and reduce the vulnerability of their functions.

Consequence Assessment.  The Consequence Assessment Tool Set (CATS)   assesses the consequences of technological and natural disasters to population, resources and infrastructure.  Hazards accounted for in CATS range from natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, to technological disasters such as industrial accidents, terrorism and acts of war.  CATS employs a suite of hazard, casualty and damage estimation modules to estimate and analyze effects of disasters.  CATS depicts geographical areas of damage probability and performs data fusion tasks to infer numbers of fatalities and injuries, as well as mitigative resource queries and allocation.  CATS uses the power of Geographic Information Systems to display and analyze hazard predictions, perform consequences assessment, facilitate resource management and create pictorial and textual reports and deliver those assessments to the right people at the right time.

Intelligence and Surveillance

Three principal modes of detecting terrorism or hazardous events are sensors, observations, and intelligence.  The PSIC provides ways to integrate a wide range of sensor readings into effective monitoring systems.  Observations consist of reports of an event by citizen-derived reports coming over the conventional 911 system into a Computer-Aided Dispatch system.  But observations also include the use of surveillance agents or technologies such as automated “smart” video surveillance systems in which video detects specific types of movement or objects in a space and alerts response forces with wireless messaging.

Intelligence requires the collection of open source information, collation of law enforcement information from all levels, and the inclusion of national intelligence agencies.  All that information is analyzed in  specialized computer indexing systems for the written word and, for the spoken word, automated listening analysis that monitor phone calls or conversations for up to 500 phrases that will launch an alarm when spoken.  We will highlight some of these capabilities below.

Intelligence.   One of the key integration challenges present in the intelligence community is understanding fully the context and substance of the information that may contain the “nugget” of information needed to make a proper intelligence analysis.  One tool to achieve that is Content Analyst™, which has the capability to continually assess for threats various public and private electronic sources.  In the PSIC, Content Analyst demonstrates the ability to scan large incoming volumes of information automatically and visually by using a color-coded world map to summarize Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) threat levels around the world.  Content Analyst also can generate alerts based on the arrival of information relevant to user-specified interests. Content Analyst will automatically account for synonyms, technical language, acronyms, misspellings, transliteration differences, etc, in incoming documents.  Content Analyst also provides the user with important capabilities for dealing with difficult analysis problems, for example when an adversary is using aliases and cover terms.

Content Analyst is based on Latent Semantic Indexing™ (LSI) software, a natural language search engine that enables users to categorize documents, retrieve information from text on the basis of concepts, and retrieve information across languages. Because it operates on the basis of concepts, not keywords, searches are not constrained by the specific words that users choose when they formulate queries. By using statistical algorithms, the LSI search engine can retrieve relevant documents even when those documents do not share any words with a query. Content Analyst can be used in a cross-lingual mode, simultaneously dealing with information in any combination of English, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Russian, and Spanish.  This includes capabilities for a user to take advantage of information in those languages in an automated fashion, even though the user may not know those languages.

The complete conceptual generality of Content Analyst allows it to be used as a component in a wide range of information processing applications.  It can be used to summarize data from multiple inputs (e.g., news feeds, reports from local organizations, national intelligence, etc.) and to marshal data for other applications (e.g., link analysis tools, GIS systems, etc.).  The security features allow use in a secure data-sharing environment.  This includes a unique capability to use sensitive data in a secure, background mode – optimizing the awareness of users while completely protecting sensitive sources.

Surveillance.  Real-time monitoring of the environment for incipient attacks or intrusions can be done using sensors (biological, radiological, chemical, weather, etc.), video surveillance, and audio surveillance.  In the latter category, Phonetic Tracking Systems provide real-time monitoring of audio in real-time for up to several hundred key words or phrases that are spoken on a telephone line or other audio surveillance device.  Upon identifying that the phrases have been spoken, an alert is sent to selected recipients who can then listen to the recording of the conversation to provide the human analysis of the intent and meaning.  The tool provides a great capability-multiplier to monitor conversations.

Another class of surveillance tools is known as “smart” video include thermal imaging, Fiber Optic   Intrusion Detection Systems (FOIDS), and rule-based video change detection systems.  Smart video systems provide security alerting based on user-defined rules (e.g., boundary crossing, area incursion, extended loitering, etc,) in the video frames.  In addition, area/facility camera location and field-of-view are also immediately sent to a command center for analysis and response.

Whether video detection or sensor systems, the location of the collection device is critical for interception of information for analysis.  For that reason, the PSIC draws on SAIC and other capabilities for surveillance and reconnaissance using drones and unmanned vehicles.  Armed with an array of sensors and video, the following bring data from a number of environments to analysts to better understand emerging threats:

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
Unmanned ground vehicles (UGV)
Unmanned surface vessels (USV)
Unmanned underwater vessels (UUV)


The PSIC has integrated four types of collaboration:  strategy-building, operational planning, knowledge-sharing, and exercised-based training. First, is strategic planning, done by a jurisdiction to identify and address systemic improvements in its ability to prevent terrorism.  The SAIC Collaborative Planning tools used in the Strategic Solution Center make this an effective way to include all stakeholders in interactive and integrated planning sessions that arrive at exactly the right strategy for each community.  Second, based on the results of the strategic planning, jurisdictions develop emergency plans in a collaborative planning tool.  This entails mutual aid plans among local first responders, local-state cooperative planning, state-to-state resource sharing compacts, and federal-state relationship planning.

Collaborative Planning tools that interface contending Third, collaboration knowledge-sharing brings together disparate information from different sources to provide a knowledge base about emergency management.  The PSIC brings together strategic planning, emergency operational planning, and knowledge-sharing in an integrated fashion that produces not only the proper plans but the critical baseline data for subsequent use in incident management, training, and exercising.  Finally, detecting a threat or incident is only of value when fully integrated with an emergency response system that is fully trained and improved by continual exercising.  In the PSIC, the Automated Exercise and Assessment System (AEAS™ ) combines local community plans and procedures with local resources and operations to train on more than a dozen different hazardous scenarios.  The computer-assisted, collaborative exercise-based training guides more than 20 players in a realistic exercise that leads to improved capabilities and plan improvements.

How the PSIC employs collaborative planning, knowledge-sharing, and exercise-based training as part of the total, integrated Homeland Security solution are summarized below.

Collaborative Planning.  The first step in building capabilities is planning.  Jurisdictions develop plans to respond to emergencies, protect their people, apply resources, and be alert in times of increased readiness.  Readiness Planner™ software enables this collaborative planning among the operational organizations within a jurisdiction.  A collaborative planning tool allows all jurisdictions to become accustomed to working with each other right from the planning stage.  An emergency plan template is made available in this hosted software.  Each discipline and jurisdiction works from the same template, tailoring and localizing the template plan to their own needs.  Thus, the structure of every plan is the same, the content is similar, and the details of actions are specific to the jurisdiction, agency, and even the individual.

Collaborative Knowledge-Sharing.  Knowledge sharing in a collaborative environment has the objective of providing a constant, iterative growth of information and analysis shared among all the proper agencies and individuals.  In the PSIC different collaborative software is used to bring together diverse sources into a single, harmonious and user-comfortable “workspace.”  Collaborative workspaces are often grouped into communities of interest, allowing like-minded people to share views that lead to improved decision-support.  In a real-time operation, collaborative workspaces can provide valuable information on all forms of emergency operation – location of response forces, sharing of hazard models and consequence assessment analyses – in short, the baseline information to achieve a Common Operating Picture.

Exercise-Based Training.  The Automated Exercise and Assessment System (AEAS) exercises emergency response procedures by employing up to 43 functional roles assigned to any individual player, in an environment that promotes face-to-face interactions via messages passing through individual computer workstations connected to a local area network. AEAS captures and records participant actions. Simulated outcomes based on these actions provide the participant with continuous feedback on the status of the incident, allowing them to judge the adequacy of their response. At the conclusion of the exercise, AEAS provides an after-action report.  AEAS exercises rely on realistic WMD scenarios that capture proper interagency coordination, the latest accepted procedures    and protocols, and the most complete scientific data.

These exercises can be applied at the State or local level to assist and assess readiness and to understand actions that may need to be taken to improve the State or local capacity. The AEAS tests community readiness using simulation-based applications, scientifically and operationally validated WMD scenarios, the resources and standards of response for the community under assessment. AEAS supports training, exercise, and needs/readiness assessment requirements.

In the PSIC, AEAS is used to drive use-case simulations to test the integration of technologies.  As well, AEAS can be used by a community to begin the collaborative planning process and, following the development of an exercise, can “seed” an incident management system with key information about procedures, resources, and personnel.

Incident Management

Incident management is the application of personnel, equipment, and knowledge resources to respond to an emergency in order to minimize loss and speed recovery.  Incident management begins with Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) that manages the allocation of equipment and personnel throughout a jurisdiction by dispatching First Responders (police, fire, and emergency medical) and tracking their response.  When an incident is contained within a single agency, or even within the normal capabilities of the First Responders, CAD is the only system involved.

When a larger event occurs, or one that requires some type of specialized resources, a second class of Incident Management software becomes involved.  These are GIS-based emergency information systems (EIS).  Where CAD dispatches, EIS manages.  Where CAD serves First Responders, EIS fills the need for management information and decision-support for an entire government and private sector response.  When the response becomes multi-jurisdictional, reaching to neighboring governments or requiring the resources of a higher level of government (a county or state, for example) then a third level of incident management system needed is Situation Awareness and Collaboration.   All of these systems have a single goal in common:

Provide appropriate decision-support information – best known as a Common Operating Picture (COP) to key government officials in the EOC.   Such an Interoperability Management interface allows the exchange and collation of information from all levels of activity to be shared among agencies and jurisdictions and even the public.  Below we will examine this flow of information from the dispatch of a First Responder to situation awareness among the highest levels of civilian government and the military.

Computer-Aided Dispatch:  In the PSIC, one of the CAD systems used is the Intergraph Computer-Aided Dispatch.  It is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) application designed to capture calls for service and manage response assets and the entire event lifecycle in a relational database.  The application is based on WINTEL technology and a relational database (Oracle or SQL Server) and its requirements and design are driven predominantly by end-users in more than 200 sites around the world.  The system is highly configurable to meet the bulk of First Responder mission critical requirements.  The system supports a multitude of ways to capture calls for service.  They range from keying in information from a phone call or walk-in, E 911 interface (telephone number and location: ANI/ALI), alarms/sensors (fire, intrusion, motion detection, etc.), and field events initiated from a Mobile Data Terminal (MDT).

These events all have location as a common data element and the system show location on a GIS map.  Location can be defined as (latitude/longitude), common place (Burger King, Wal-Mart, City Hall), street address, graphic location from the map (click on the map to derive a location…even map matching for a closest street address), intersection, or even an alarm point number (unique identifier that is related to an alarm catalogue of information entered into the database, for example, Anthrax sensor in building 200 at Washington Navy Yard Mail Handling Facility on the second floor, room 203).

Once the location is clear, then the event type is selected by the operator or provided via the alarm interface (suspicious package or automatic fire alarm) and the system selects the response agency using business rules based on location and event type.  Rules also provide response asset recommendations to the dispatcher for acceptance, revision or rejection.  The status of all assets and events is maintained throughout an incident and are presented in text and on the GIS display for the operator.  This application provides an efficient way to collect and manage events and First Responder assets.

Emergency Information System.  At the next level of response is the full-scale application of all personnel and resources from all available jurisdictions to control the problem.  From on-scene dispatch through the Department of Homeland Security and Northern Command, the PSIC shows how every level of government and the private sector is enlisted in a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional response.  All services of government – from law enforcement to medical, from mass care to traffic control – must be brought together in effective exchange of time- critical information.  In the real world, this challenge is compounded by the many incompatible choices that individual jurisdictions have in selecting their emergency response systems.  In the PSIC, we use incident management software, such as ETeam™, Blue292™, AlertTechnologies (OpsManager™), Intergraph™, Essential Information Systems (Incident Master™), and others that are popular throughout local, area, state, and Federal agencies.

These commercial incident management products offer a range of capabilities that cluster around the following:

•   Incident or Event Logging
•   Message Tracking
•   Task Requests, Assignments, and Completion
•   Resource or Asset Allocation, Maintenance, and Reorder
•   Personnel Training, Certification, Health and Safety, and Emergency Deployment
•   Shelter Facility and Mass Care Management
•   Damage Assessment
•   Hazard and Vulnerability Analysis
•   Transportation
•   Situation Reports and Status Dashboard

The biggest problem with these commercial solutions is the fragmented marketplace driven by the different needs and demands among all the different emergency management organizations.  Some software has police as its origin, others fire, others medical, others emergency management.  All share common elements, as listed above, but perform their functions in distinctive ways.  This is good for the end-user but increases the requirement for interoperability.  The PSIC is dedicated to delivering that interoperability.

Situation Awareness and Collaboration.  The Area Security Operations Command and Control or ASOCC is a secure peer-to-peer incident management system that can operate across all levels of incident management.  All incidents entered into the ASOCC system propagate across a peer-to-peer network to all peers of the originating ASOCC machine in near real-time. This allows for almost instantaneous knowledge of incidents that will speed up response time and facilitate cooperation between local, state and federal agencies to the incident. Most importantly, if one ASOCC system goes down all other systems continue to exchange information and once the down machine is back online, it will retrieve all incident information that occurred while the machine was down. There are four primary capabilities in ASOCC that are presented in the tri-display workstation.

•   The ASOCC X-Panel provides key information about the status of incidents in military and civilian locations using an easy-to-use hierarchical monitor showing red, yellow, and green symbols for each incident.  Incident details provide high-level situation awareness and checklists associated with incidents guide operators in their next course of action.

•   ASOCC has a strong mapping tool used to identify locations and help manage incidents.

It supports the display of various information points, including graphic information, tracks data, geo-registered images, street maps, census data, chemical and radiological models, and ESRI Shape files.

•   The Defense Collaboration Tools Suite is the collaborative tool supporting controlled access, persistent online storage, chats, shared whiteboard, and program sharing.  Agencies can coordinate incident response and share information using chat and whiteboard within DCTS.

•   KnowledgeBoard is an information portal that can display a wide range of information sources in an easy-to-manipulate and share environment.

ASOCC was developed by SAIC for the Federal Government and is, therefore, unique among incident management system in that it can span the secure and non-secure environments to provide support to both civilian and military organizations.  ASOCC has a DISA Authority to Operate (ATO) on Federal classified and unclassified networks allowing the system to support the DOD and other Federal Government organizations at all echelon levels.  ASOCC, therefore, plays a key role in the entire Homeland Security management system.  It’s ability to span military and civilian, Federal and state, secure and non-secure, make it the ideal tool for situation awareness and collaboration.

Interoperability Management.  How many sources of incident management information are available to in any given jurisdiction?  Computer-aided Dispatch in a dozen police departments … and several fire departments … and of course Emergency Medical Service dispatch.  But also there are incident management systems at a county that maintain all that resource and shelter  information?  State information systems provide for State Police, for Public Health, and for Environmental Protection.  And local traffic management systems as well as statewide Department of Transportation systems offer unique insight into routing responders to an incident and evacuating people from an incident.

In short, there are numerous non-emergency information sources that are critical in an emergency as well as the standard emergency systems highlighted above.

Interoperability management, then, is the application of all information sources relevant to any state of Homeland Security … prevention, detection, alert, protection, response, and recovery.  In particular, the problems presented in managing the incident are key interoperability problems to be overcome.

SAIC and InstaKNOW, Inc. have teamed to create the Interop Manager™.   This solution accomplishes the following critical information management objectives in support of emergency operations for Homeland Security:

•   Data Mining:  Obtain critical incident and resource information from all the individual jurisdictional systems.

•   Data Warehousing:  Current events data from the independent systems, it is stored in a data warehouse that allows instant access, manipulation, and analysis of that data.

•   Web-based Display:  Computers, PDAs, or even a phone provides fully aggregated critical information from ALL the individual systems involved in any threat or emergency.

Interoperability means having information from all the emergency management systems in your jurisdiction, in neighboring jurisdictions, and in other levels of government appear in a single, integrated, intelligent format that gives you an overview and speedy access to the details of an incident and the resources being applied to resolve it.  This makes all the legacy systems – as varied as police to hospitals to drug enforcement to volunteer shelter managers – immediately empowered to be part of a fully interoperable Homeland Security management system.

Interoperable Public Safety Communication

What do we want to achieve through public safety communication?

The answer is simple, and complex.  To support all of the above Homeland Security capabilities, interoperable communication should deliver:

•   Voice messages and brief conversations,
•   Private and talk group voice exchanges,
•   Forward voice messages, voicemail, meeting requests,
•   Text-to-speech messages
•   Email and data messages
•   GPS position locations,
•   Chemical, biological, and radiological plume dispersal,
•   Damage effects,
•   Incident/asset locations/status,
•   Imagery and video from security cameras,
•   Surveillance video
•   Biometrics access data,
•   Communication among the diverse set of Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical units across different jurisdictions (bringing together Analog radios, P25 radios, and digital radios),
•   Ad-hoc conferencing of subject matter experts elsewhere in the country (joining cell phone, pagers),
•   Ability to reach out to proprietary PBX based phone systems in various business organizations (adding in desk phones, IP phones)
•   Exchanging data, audio, and images through effective use of computers, PDAs, and softphones on computers,
•   Video Communications with compressed video transmission over wireless communications links to support detection and analysis,
•   All the while achieving effective communication, yet retaining overall control,
•   And much more.

To accomplish all these data and voice exchanges, there are a range of specialized wireless technologies that are present in the PSIC.  These include:

•   Narrowband digital Project 25 Mobile Radio capable of integrated voice and data with DES encryption, and private and talkgroup voice and SMS data service, all dispatched through a geographic information system (GIS)-based CAD system

•   Nextel Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio (ESMR) Nationwide all-digital voice and data network, configured with their Direct Connect feature over CAD (dispatch) – and integrated at the “push-to-talk” (PTT) level with the Project 25 LMR system at the PSIC, as well as IP-homed data transmissions that are 3-DES encrypted and capable of integrated voice and data communications

•   Mobile Satellite Ventures dispath voice and packet data satellite services being integrated with the Nextel ESMR and Project 25 LMR to provide ubiquitous talk-group communications nationwide

•   Sprint and other provider 2.5-3G wireless devices providing integrated voice, data, and video

•   Internet Protocol (IP) network supporting voice, data, and video interoperability between sensors, C4ISR applications, and both private mobile radio and commercial wireless systems.

Bringing all these capabilities together into a secure (when desired) and interoperable system is the role of PSIC.  SAIC has developed and deployed communications interoperability solutions for public safety, including systems employing the Demand-Authorized Audio patch (DAAP).  DAAP provides a multi-LMR system interconnect (“patch” or bridge), when requested by a public safety officer from one agency, and accepted by the dispatch supervisors in one or more requested agencies, to the field officers of the requested agencies. The media-access mechanisms of differing networks are unified by the DAAP.  For example, a DAAP system would permit voice communications between Network A subscribers using analog FM radios in VHF high-band, Network B subscribers using digitally supervised talk groups in an digital 800-MHz trunked system, and even commercial cellular wireless and landline participants from Network C via PIN-code enabled teleconference access to the multi-LMR system bridge.

DAAP is a proven and immediate form of interoperability usable in most US communities today.  In differing forms, a few organizations have developed the memoranda of understanding governing their DAAP solutions with success.  Since it provides interconnect “intertalk-ability” on demand, while preserving the autonomy of the individual networks involved.  A network supervisor can chose “not” to allow the interconnect if involved in “higher-priority” activities than the DAAP request), DAAP provides a near-term voice intertalk-ability solution that will establish the “interoperability culture” for full voice-data-video interoperability through available IP-based networks.

SAIC also is leading LMR vendors and service providers to develop a mandatory digital Wireless Inter-System Interface (WI-SI).  This interface would allow PTT interoperability between disparate LMR networks and commercial wireless services, and would also provide an intersystem interconnect between disparate LMR systems and commercial wireless systems.

PSIC – Bringing Homeland Security Solutions Together

Homeland Security begins with the protection of the smallest unit of critical infrastructure and continues to accumulate security through a hierarchy of protection and response systems.  In the illustration below, the incident occurs and First Responders are supported by dispatch and communications.  They are further prepared by all the vulnerability analyses, intelligence, threat assessments and sensor systems available in a community.

As an incident escalates into a multi-disciplinary event, the local EOC is activated to analyze the possible consequences of the event and bring all the emergency planning and training to bear on the successful resolution of the problem.  Incident Command is established at the scene and Mutual Aid jurisdictions are alerted to the possibility of their support for the resolution of the incident.  Communication continues among the involved mobile command and EOC locations with additional critical information on medical and industrial capabilities added to the interoperable mix of information needed for decision-support.  Personnel tracking and resource allocation takes place.

The state begins to monitor the situation, quick to offer management and assets as needed.  Interoperability management becomes critical and the state EOC begins to manage several incidents as a single, large-scale event.  Business rules drive that information to the highest levels of government, including the Homeland Security Operations Center.  There, cross-agency situation awareness and collaboration, extending even to the military, begin to unfold additional dimensions to the solution available to the local First Responders and emergency managers.

An incident – terrorist threat, natural disaster, or industrial accident – is resolved most effectively if curtained through the application of intelligence information to prevent it.  Where prevention is not possible, the earliest detection of an emerging incident is critical to minimizing impact.  Alerting the possible impact areas is a vital first step in protecting people, the infrastructure, and the economy from losses.  Responding to the incident and recovering most effectively are the final steps in Homeland Security incident management and they are, equally with all the other stages, dependent upon the sharing of information horizontally across agencies and vertically among levels of government.

The Public Safety Integration Center is committed to delivering to organizations across the country the key part of the Homeland Security solution:  integration and interoperability of organizations, plans, people, and systems.


The Public Safety Integration Center

Homeland Security Object Identification Test

Fusion Centers and Emergency Operations Centers | Homeland

Radio Network Coverage Optimization

Homeland Security Object Identification Test

Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs)