Army bringing high-tech help to Haiti earthquake relief effort
January 21, 2010
By Chris Osborn
- "Anything we can do to support the folks going in to help the people of Haiti is something we are all geared up to do
- Army Knowledge Online (AKO) -- stood up an AKO/Defense Knowledge Online (DKO) Haiti Earthquake Information Center
- Haiti-related announcements - online at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/619505
- Contingency plans include the possible deployment of tactical Biometric Systems which could help local authorities compile key information
The U.S. Army's Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems has called upon its technological expertise to help to relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Haiti by setting up a disaster-information Web site, ensuring satellite communications reach damaged areas and making contingency arrangements to deploy additional combat casualty-care units if called upon, service officials said.
"Anything we can do to support the folks going in to help the people of Haiti is something we are all geared up to do. The pictures from the area are pretty compelling, so we are motivated to do the right thing," said Col. Daniel Hughes, PEO EIS military deputy. "Mr. Winkler [Program Executive Officer, EIS] asked the PMs to look at their systems and be prepared to help in any way if we are called."
Technicians across PEO EIS have spoken with representatives from U.S. Southern Command, which has joined a team of Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps personnel focused on bringing relief supplies, food, water, medical care and other logistical assistance to earthquake victims in Haiti.
As part of this broad-based effort, U.S. Southern Command has coordinated the arrival of elements of 82nd Airborne to assist earthquake victims in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Officials with PM Defense Wide Transmission Systems -- the PEO EIS unit which handles worldwide satellite communications - have communicated with forces deploying to Haiti to ensure they will be able to leverage the satellite that covers Haiti, Hughes said.
Field Support Engineers were moved to Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Hood, Texas, last week to support deploying units, Hughes said. "FSEs have moved to the units in case the units needs the expertise to deploy with the unit if necessary. They can also be on call on the phone if need be," Hughes said.
Also, Army Knowledge Online stood up an AKO/Defense Knowledge Online Haiti Earthquake Information Center which is online at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/619505. Haiti-related announcements on both the AKO and DKO home pages have been updated to include a link to the page.
"The site includes news coverage of the disaster including pictures of what is going on. Also, there are links to donate money on the site," said Hughes. In addition, PEO EIS' PM Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care, or MC4, has been in contact with FORSCOM regarding deployment of medical units, Hughes said.
"We want to make sure the teams have the latest updated information and equipment. We will be ready to support if necessary with medical kits and information technology," said Hughes.
It is anticipated that more medical units will be sent to the region. Additional contingency plans include the possible deployment of tactical Biometric Systems which could help local authorities compile key information such as the establishing of identities of those in need or identifying criminals.
"We will continue to assess the need and do whatever we can do to support. We will lean forward as fast as we possibly can," said Hughes.