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Program Archives

These NWRTC programs are no longer active but may be useful as retrospective material.

Disaster Microcredit: A Mechanism for Recovery

Disasters, whether natural, accidental, or intentional, pose one of the greatest threats to any economy. Historically, disasters have affected all levels of a region's economy; however, the small business community is typically the hardest hit.

Microcredit has not been widely used in the developed world and has rarely been used expressly for disaster relief. Yet, despite the lack of historical support, microcredit could be a good candidate for use as a disaster relief mechanism. This report documents a study to survey of available literature and interview a variety of professionals in related fields to determine the potential for using microcredit as a disaster relief tool. The study identified both challenges and benefits of microcredit as well as the types of businesses most likely to be aided by a microcredit system.

More information 370 kb

IBRD Capstone Focuses on Recovery

In September, the Interagency Biological Restoration Demonstration (IBRD) Program culminated in a 3-day capstone event. The Seattle event drew more than 250 attendees from military, federal, state, and local agencies as well as the private sector; more than 300 people also watched via simultaneous webcast.

Keynote speakers included Alice Hill, Senior Counselor to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano; Andrew Webber, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs; and Timothy Manning, Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"IBRD is a wonderful example of collaboration among partner agencies," said Hill in her keynote speech. "Perhaps most impressive has been the IBRD engagement with the private sector. We cannot hope to effectively respond to a catastrophic event without our private sector partners."

For the last 3 years, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and DHS have collaborated with the Seattle Urban Area Security Initiative to conduct the IBRD Program. The program provided coordinated, system-level approaches for the recovery and restoration of urban areas, military installations, and critical infrastructure following the aerosol release of a biological agent.

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Regional Homeland Security Summit

A giant step toward a regional partnership was taken on May 28, 2008, when key representatives from ten western states and the Territory of Guam embraced the idea of developing a concept to partner with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories—specifically the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Idaho National Laboratory. PNNL and INL would focus on the needs of the states by helping to identify technology needs and requirements, establish priorities, and provide unbiased technical support and training. National labs can also serve as agents to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the states. Participants also gained a new awareness of the homeland security capabilities that have resulted from national laboratory science and technology.

More information 175 kb

Regional Technology Integration Initiative Assessment

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate has implemented the Regional Technology Integration Initiative (RTII) to facilitate the transition of innovative technologies and organizational concepts for emergency preparedness and response to regional, state, and local jurisdictions. The program recognizes the need for all-hazard preparedness and response, with a specific interest in deploying technologies that are effective in response to terrorist events. Four regional pilot locations have been selected from across the country (Seattle, Cincinnati, Memphis, and Anaheim), all of which are participating in the DHS Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). Through the RTII, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory leads three specific projects (described below): Interconnected Emergency Operations Centers, Credentialing for Emergency Responders, and Interoperable Communications.

Interconnected Emergency Operations Centers

Emergency operations centers (EOCs) within a region must be able to quickly and accurately share time-critical information. Information vital to an effective response includes a wide variety of data related to an incident. This project will develop and deploy an integrated set of prototype functions to improve interconnectivity between applications, processes, and data used by emergency operations centers EOCs in the Seattle urban area.

Credentialing for Emergency Responders

Responders must quickly gain entry to emergency event sites without compromising access security. This RTII project aims to develop a technology information architecture to support a credentialing system for the rapid identification and qualification of responders (e.g., fire rescuers, law enforcement, medical professionals, public health officials, and public utility workers).

Interoperable Communications

To provide emergency responders with immediate and unassisted communication across multiple jurisdictions and disciplines would vastly improve response efficiency. The objective of this project is to develop a blueprint consistent with the Seattle UASI vision for a system that will allow responders to travel across the entire area, traversing all jurisdictions, without breaking communications.

Radiation Portal Monitoring Project

As part of the DHS mission to protect the nation, PNNL is working with the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the Radiation Portal Monitoring Project (RPMP) to develop and deploy effective radiation interdiction systems at U.S. ports of entry. The RPMP mission is to scan all vehicles and cargo entering the ports for unauthorized shipments of nuclear and radiological materials while also maintaining the flow of legitimate trade and travel. PNNL is deploying radiation portal monitor systems at border crossing across the country. PNNL also provides specific expertise in radiation detection systems and their field application, operational simulation modeling and computational analysis, interdiction technology development, and integration engineering and configuration management.

DHS Selects City for Integrated Communications Architecture Pilot

DHS has selected Los Angeles/Long Beach as the location for its integrated communications architecture pilot after a 5-month assessment of six potential cities that included Seattle. PNNL has been assisting Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in identifying a site for the pilot of an integrated communications architecture for chemical, biological, radiation, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) sensors to increase situational awareness for city officials and first responders. PNNL assessed Seattle, Los Angeles/Long Beach, and Anaheim as potential sites. ANL concentrated on New York, Boston, and Chicago. None of the cities have fully integrated CBRNE sensors into a common operating picture for rapid situational awareness. Los Angeles was chosen because of the comprehensive array of sensors already in place, the eagerness of the responder community to support the integration effort, and the character of the existing communication infrastructure. The pilot program will focus on getting the right information to the right person at the right time. The information sharing across organizational boundaries (both civilian and military) will involve implementation of existing and emerging standards for communications interoperability within a common data model. The idea is not to build a new architecture but to provide a system that can be easily adapted into the legacy systems and procedures that the city already has in place and to seamlessly add the additional benefits of real-time sensing to daily operations. While the DHS concentration is on CBRNE for high-consequence events, the technology is expected to be able to be applied to many aspects of routine operations by the emergency response community. A successful implementation in Los Angeles will pave the way for implementing the same tools at a second city with minimal effort and disruption before making the tools available across the nation.

West Coast Maritime Radiation Detection Pilot Project in Puget Sound

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) and the U. S. Coast Guard are helping federal, state, local, and tribal maritime authorities reduce the risk of radiological and nuclear threats that could be illicitly transported on recreational or small commercial vessels. Currently, an estimated 17 million small vessels are registered in the U.S. With such a large number of small vessels operating in our waters, the potential exists for terrorists or criminal organizations to take advantage of this threat vector and use a small vessel to attack or deliver materials for an attack against our nation. The West Coast Maritime Radiation Detection Pilot Project goals are in direct support of the DHS Small Vessel Security Strategy to expand and enhance maritime radiological/nuclear detection capabilities for international, federal, state, local, tribal and private stakeholders.

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