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STAR-TIDES Activities

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Sharing To Accelerate Research - Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support
www.star-tides.net

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TIDES Phase I Summary[edit]

Events[edit]

STAR-TIDES at NDU[edit]

The first phase of the TIDES demonstration was held at the National Defense University (Oct 5-19):

  • Low cost, portable, commercial generators were assembled on a bare field. The first satellite networks were up in less than two hours, operating "off the power grid," which is critical for stressed environments, both domestic and international. Within hours, phone calls could be made both globally and from shelter-to-shelter, and bridges were set up among diverse radio nets. Subject matter experts from domestic and international remote sites used video-teleconferencing to help solve emerging problems ("knowledge on demand for capacity building").
  • Inexperienced work crews erected seven shelters of four different types--none took more than three hours, and the least expensive cost about $200. Solar panels and generators rapidly recharged AA batteries for low power personal cooling and lighting systems, and well as communications equipment. High efficiency stoves and several kinds of solar cookers were integrated to provide coordinated approaches to cooking and purifying water that minimize fuel use. "Census-takers" experimented with credentials that could be produced quickly in austere situations.
  • Visitors included representatives from the American Red Cross, several federal departments, foreign militaries, combatant commanders and DoD agencies. Faculty from the Thomas Jefferson High School considered ways to incorporate TIDES activities into their curricula. General "Kip" Ward spent more than an hour discussing how TIDES might apply to AFRICOM. Over 300 visitors taught the TIDES team much and took away ideas for future collaboration. Less than $20,000 in US government investment generated more than $800,000 in private sector engagement.

Experiences thus far have reinforced three key lessons:

  • Problems of stressed populations must be addressed through broad coalitions. Some situations will be domestic, some foreign. Some will have long term needs (the average stay in a refugee camp exceeds 7 years), some short term. The military may or may not be involved. No one agency, public or private, has responsibility for all, or expertise in all. The US government, in particular, must do better at sharing UNCLASSIFIED information with public and private partners outside the boundaries of "official" environments. "Whole government" approaches are key.
  • Information and communications technologies (ICT) are not "techie" adjuncts to the major muscle movements of delivering food, water and shelter. They are the critical enablers of everything else that happens. Networks need to be formed early and be independent of the power grid.
  • Cross-infrastructure and "whole systems" thinking is essential. For example, efficient cooking and water purification can help reduce deforestation rates and smoke-related diseases, while making women less vulnerable while gathering fuel, and freeing up their energies for other purposes.

The week suggested many additional research topics. Cross-disciplinary, cultural and infrastructure skills will be particularly valuable. There are important policy issues, such as information sharing and how to get needed services in place faster. TIDES also offers strategic communication opportunities.

Following the demonstration, the TIDES network supported firefighting efforts in Southern California and linked operational commanders with early information about several new capabilities.

STAR-TIDES at the Pentagon[edit]

STAR-TIDES at AFCEA West[edit]

Please put information about the AFCEA event here.

Activities[edit]

TIDES (Transportable Infrastructures for Development and Emergency Support)—Phase I

TIDES is a research project focusing on information sharing and low-cost infrastructures to support populations in stressed environments, such as Stabilization and Reconstruction (SSTR), Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). TIDES Phase I demonstrations were held in Oct-Nov 2007.

  1. Low cost, portable, commercial generators were assembled on a bare field to support "off the power grid" operations, which are critical for stressed environments, both domestic and inter-national. Within hours, multiple communications networks supported global and shelter-to-shelter links, plus cross-frequency radio interoperability. Subject matter experts from remote sites used teleconferencing to help solve emerging problems ("knowledge on demand for capacity building").
  2. Inexperienced work crews erected seven shelters of four different types--none took more than three hours, and the costs ranged from $200 to about $2500. Solar panels and generators rapidly recharged AA batteries for low power personal cooling and lighting systems, and well as communications equipment. High efficiency stoves, several kinds of solar cookers and insulated baskets provided integrated approaches to cooking, purifying water and heating that minimized fuel use. "Census-takers" tried out credentials that could be produced quickly in austere situations.
  3. Visitors included representatives from the American Red Cross, DHS and other federal depart-ments, foreign militaries, combatant commanders and DoD agencies. Faculty from the Thomas Jefferson High School considered ways to incorporate TIDES activities into their curricula, and Engineers Without Borders students from Johns Hopkins helped with set ups. Over 600 visitors taught the TIDES team much and took away ideas for future collaboration. Less than $20,000 in US government investment generated more than $800,000 in private sector engagement.

The Phase I experiences reinforced three key lessons:

  1. Problems of stressed populations must be addressed through broad coalitions. Some situations will be domestic, some foreign. Some will have long term needs (the average stay in a refugee camp exceeds 7 years), some short term. The military may or may not be involved. No one agency, public or private, has responsibility for all, or expertise in all. The US government, in particular, must do better at sharing UNCLASSIFIED information with public and private mission partners outside the boundaries of "official" environments. "Whole government" approaches are key.
  2. Information and communications technologies (ICT) are not "tecchie" adjuncts to the major muscle movements of delivering food, water and shelter. They are the critical enablers of everything else that happens. Sensors and networks need to be on hand early and be independent of power grids.
  3. Cross-infrastructure and "whole systems" thinking is key. For example, integrated cooking, water purification and heating can help reduce deforestation and smoke-related diseases, while making women less vulnerable when gathering fuel, and freeing up their energies for other purposes.

The demos suggested many more research topics. Cross-disciplinary, cultural and infrastructure skills will be needed. Policy refinements can improve information sharing and get needed services in place faster. TIDES also offers strategic communication opportunities. Planning is underway for Phase II.

The TIDES network also shared information to support real world events like firefighting in Southern California, prediction of cholera outbreaks in Bangladesh and alternative shelter designs for FEMA.