Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as an Enabler-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as an Enabler-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as an Enabler: Challenges faced by the Early Responder Community in Mega-Disasters Interoperating and Communicating

Sunday May 22, 2:00 pm, Bldg 3, Ballroom

Summary: This diverse group of humanitarian assistance/disaster relief communications experts from industry, academia, government and the military community bring their considerable experience and expertise to Mountain View and the NASA Ames facility to discuss the myriad challenges faced by the entire early response population working together in the immediate aftermath of a major catastrophic disaster. Is the hard part the cables connecting their diverse radio systems? Is it the “soft science people issues”? Can ICT itself be an enabler or a hindrance to successfully fulfilling the mission?

These experts will give their views of the challenges based on recent experience in Hurricane Katrina/Rita, the SE Asian tsunami, the earthquake in Haiti, the huge Big Sur fires of a couple summers ago, the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security perspectives, and more. Each of the panelists has a unique perspective of the problems surrounding people and equipment interoperability, information sharing, collaboration and efficient communications in the most austere environments imaginable. Each will provide a short presentation of their thoughts and experiences followed by a lively open microphone discussion period.

The panelists include:

  • Brian Steckler (Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), moderator)
    Mr. Brian Steckler is the Director of the Hastily Formed Networks (HFN) Center at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey California, is on the faculty of the Information Sciences Department. He has over 34 years of experience in Navy communications including 10 years of experience in managing the interoperability of communications at the government inter-agency level, and another 7 years in the private sector as founder of a wired/wireless Internet Service Provider (ISP and W-ISP). He completed a 20 year career in the U.S. Navy in 1995, serving in both officer and enlisted ranks. He is now a world-class and U.S. Department of Defense recognized expert in rapid and mobile wireless network deployment and vulnerability assessment technologies, information & communication technologies (ICT) applications for complex humanitarian disasters. In the past several years he has led teams of NPS faculty/students and industry partners deploying wireless communications to the Andaman Coast of Thailand a few days after the Dec 2004 SE Asia tsunami, led a much larger team of NPS faculty/students and industry partners to wirelessly enable Bay St Louis and Waveland Mississippi for 5 weeks during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, and led another large team on a set of three HA/DR HFN missions in support of the U.S. Government response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
  • Jack Deasy, Director, UAV/UAS Programs, Inmarsat Government Services, Inc.
    Jack is responsible for business development of mobile satellite services for the unmanned aerial systems market. He also leads business development in non-military government markets with a focus on first responders and disaster response. Jack joined the Inmarsat in August 2003 and is based in Washington, D.C. From 2000 to 2003, Jack worked at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) International Bureau on international regulatory policy and radio communications negotiations. From 1984-2000, he served as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, with foreign postings in Chile, Colombia and the United Kingdom, and domestic positions in the Western Hemisphere, Soviet Union arms control and international telecommunications and information policy. Jack holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA (1983) and has done graduate work in applied geography and geographic information systems (GIS) at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and Pennsylvania State University. He serves as a member of the board of the National Institute of Urban Search and Rescue and is an adjunct professor in the Homeland Security Graduate Program at San Diego State University, where he supports research into wireless communications for wildfire, disaster response and border security applications.
  • Catherine Nelson (Cisco Tactical Operations)
    Catherine Blackadar Nelson has a B.A. in computer science specializing in Security, Internet Technologies, and Communications. She has over 20 years experience in emergency response and has been part many responses including Hurricane Katrina, San Diego Fires, Hurricane Ike, Santa Clara Co.Fiber outage, Haiti and the San Bruno Explosion. Currently Catherine is an engineer on the Cisco Tactical Operations team which specializes in providing disaster and mobile communications during the critical phase of an emergency. She provides engineering expertise, logistical support, responder training and is the primary developer of incident tracking and disaster management tools used at the TacOps Command Center. She has a patent pending for Security Risk Modeling, is a private pilot, HAM radio operator, and a member of the Cisco Emergency Medical Response Team.
  • Sam Walker (CalFIRE Battalion Chief Monterey/San Benito Counties) – Deputy Fire Chief, CAL FIRE
    Recently promoted to Deputy Chief of State and Federal Programs at CAL FIRE Sacramento Headquarters, Chief Walker is the primary contact for CAL FIRE for the Federal Fire Fighting Agencies and other state agencies. In his previous assignments in CAL FIRE he has worked in the Command and Control side of the department as a Battalion Chief in the Monterey area and as a Fire Captain in the Eureka and Sacramento areas of California. Prior to working for CAL FIRE, Sam worked for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) as a Fire Captain. While there, Sam was in charge of the 800 Mhz trunked radio system for Folsom and the State Prison at Sacramento, which included almost 350 portable radios. Also, during his time at CDCR, Sam negotiated a rare (for the time) agreement between CDCR and the County of Sacramento to allow the use of separate Motorola 800 Mhz radio systems within a single hand held radio. Sam has an extensive background in the Incident Command System and radio operations in the public safety sector of California. He has been an instructor in the Incident Command System and radio operations in the past. Sam has worked on CAL FIRE Mobile Communications Center Vehicles (MCCV’s) as the technician charged with the care and feeding of the vehicles. As an end user he has interfaced with numerous other MCCV and Command Vehicles throughout his career. Sam is a licensed amateur radio operator and has had a lifelong hobby of listening to public safety radio.
  • Ken Dueker (City of Palo Alto)
    Kenneth Dueker is a police officer with the Palo Alto Police Department, and has been appointed to serve as the Coordinator of Homeland Security & Public Outreach, a new advisory position in the City's Police Department, assigned to the City Manager’s Office, that: collaborates with Executive Staff to develop programs and policies for the effective development, planning, control, and evaluation of City and Departmental emergency planning; works to educate and empower community groups (residents as well as business/private sector) to prepare for disasters through the Palo Alto/Stanford Citizen Corps Council (CCC); serves as the primary City representative on the Block Preparedness Coordinator Program, in partnership with the Palo Alto Neighborhoods (PAN) community umbrella organization; develops drills and training exercises for both City and community groups, acts as a liaison to other government agencies and non-governmental organizations with respect to disaster planning, terrorism, and other matters, develops emergency plans and protocols, such as terrorism response, evacuation, force protection; is a sworn peace officer under Section 830.1 of the California Penal Code and is authorized at all times to preserve public peace, protect life and property, prevent crime, enforce all laws and ordinances of which the Department takes cognizance. Additionally, as a volunteer, Officer Dueker serves as the Emergency Coordinator for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES/RACES) for Atherton, Menlo Park, and Stanford. Officer Dueker is also the founder of PowerFlare Corporation (, a company that designs and manufactures public safety products.
    Previously, Officer Dueker was a Vice President with Ridgewood Capital (Palo Alto, California) where he conducted investments in electronics and telecommunications (optical, wireless, semiconductor) hardware and software. In 1997, Officer Dueker founded C Speed Corporation, a pioneering optical telecom (photonics) semiconductor hardware company, and served as President, Chief Operating Officer (COO). Officer Dueker previously was a corporate emergency planner for the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) where he developed life safety and disaster recovery contingency plans for the protection of company personnel and facilities. Officer Dueker also served as a member of the business recovery leadership team that would assume control of the company in times of emergency, advising the executive management and board of directors. Officer Dueker attended graduate school at Harvard University where he earned a doctorate in law (J.D.), specializing in business management and intellectual property. He holds an undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Pomona College (Claremont Colleges). He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
  • Al Johnson (Office of SecDef for Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) and Security Stability Transition and Reconstruction (SSTR))
    Roy A. Johnson is the Director for Integrated Information and Communications Technology Support (IIS) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Networks and Information Integration (NII) and the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer (DoD CIO). He is responsible for oversight of information and communication technology policy to enable effective information and situational awareness sharing during stability operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission, and contingency operations.
    Before joining the ASD/NII and DoD CIO team, Mr. Johnson served as the Chief of Readiness, Contingency and Exercise Support, Global Information Grid Operations Directorate, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). While at DISA, he was responsible for leading, integrating, and synchronizing agency-wide development of support concepts and service delivery plans to enable COCOM operational plans for contingency missions, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, emergency response missions, and exercises. He led synchronization of DISA support for Operation Iraqi Freedom and support for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Mr. Johnson laid the ground work to create the DISA Crisis Action Team and lead that team to manage DISA’s overall response to Operation Unified Assistance (Indonesian Tsunami support) and Hurricane Katrina.
    Prior to entering government civilian service, Mr. Johnson's experience included a year as a Division Manager and two years as a program manager with Science Applications International Corporation. He completed twenty years of active duty service in the U.S. Army (Signal Corps) in various staff and leadership positions across the full spectrum of operations from tactical to strategic.
    Mr. Johnson is a native of North Carolina and graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Zoology. He holds a Masters of Arts in Management from Webster University in 1989 and is a graduate of the U. S. Army Command and General Staff College. He completed the Federal Executive Institute Leadership for a Democratic Society program in September 2009.