The department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced at the time of its establishment that it “is committed to using cutting-edge technologies and scientific talent” to create a safer country. While the Air Force has always defended the homeland, it has substantial capabilities to bring to the fight against new threats to national security (Adams, 2006). As it does so, the Air force will confront numerous key policy issues, including its proper HLS role and missions, force sizing considerations the mix of active Force/Air National Guard and resource allocation priorities. The service will likely face new mission and functions in an already resource-constrained environment. If resources are shifted to HLS, the Air force will confront tough apportionment choices, such as reducing the risk of asymmetric attacks on homeland while possible increasing the level of risk of deployed operations. The services must balance emerging HLS roles among the active duty, Guard and Reserve components, capitalizing on the inherent strengths of each.
In crisis and consequence management incidents over the last decade, responders consistently report that an unwieldy number of different radios and wireless devices are needed to talk to the other participants. It is possible that lives are lost because the first responders are unable to communicate and share their situational awareness.
There is strong need for an integrated system that allows the new HLS structure to conduct operations effectively; share a common operational pictures build on a common database; provide multilevel security information to accommodate local, state, and federal needs; and facilitate real-time communications between the local, state and federal entities.
A number of sensors exist that can assist with the realtime situational assessment. Overhead imagery from satellites and high-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can build an optical and infrared picture of the physical damage. They can use measurement and signal intelligence to determine WMD contamination. These elements creates a provide a wide coverage of the “battles area.” Though, focused caption of the intended” area are needed. The family of tactical UAVs being fielded for the Objective Force can provide focused view of the HLS situation and be maneuvered to meet real-time needs of the on-scene commander. “Chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) surface sensors cab be implanted throughout the affected area to fill in the picture” (Adams, 2006). Robotic land cars can be deployed to consolidate different classes of sensors on surface and give a clear image on the degrees of damage.
“Moreover, as the needs become more focused, sensors that look into structures and detect casualties in rubble will need to be developed and fielded to complete the picture” (National Research Council, 2008). Like the concept and technology that underwrite the Objective Force, a common operational picture tailored to the demands of a specific contingency, integrated from wide-area sensors, filled in which tactically deployed air and land sensors, and augmented by specially designed and placed local sensors can help support the HLS mission.
To facilitate the development and fielding of an integrated command and control for homeland security, the Army should initiate or continue research that permits the earliest possible fielding of deployable communications packages equipped with universal multiplexer capability to facilitate command and control across the vast, and disparate, array of agencies that will respond to incident and events.
The assessment and validation of emergency response provider equipment and systems shall use multiple evaluation techniques, including:
- Operational assessment of equipment performance within the automobiles
- Technical assessment on a comparative basis of system component suitable for examining all models and brands of the tools and machineries.
- Integrative assessments on an individual basis of system component interoperability and compatibility with other system components.
Adams, J. A. (2006). Bordering the future: The impact of Mexico on the United States. Westport, Conn: Praeger.
National Research Council (U.S.). (2008). Maritime security partnerships. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.