The Beyond the Border Canada-U.S. Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE)
The need for improved communications interoperability including shared situational awareness, and coordinated alerts and warnings across the bi-national border has become a priority focus of the action plan enumerated in the U.S.-Canada joint declaration by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper, Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. In order to facilitate achievement of this vision, CAUSE experiments serve to test and evaluate technologies and processes that may enable cross-border information sharing to occur. The second Canada-U.S. Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE) held March 5-6, 2013 was successful at enabling local, state, provincial and national incident management and alerting systems to work together seamlessly for the first time.
This achievement was driven by G&H, as the lead contractor supporting DHS’s efforts in CAUSE. The G&H team was able to successfully empower agencies to share and use information in their native operational environment using disparate systems. This includes Canada’s Multi-Agency Situational Awareness System (MASAS), FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), the Virtual USA Information Sharing Library, the Mutual Aid Support System (see Mutual Aid Case Study), Virtual Maine and numerous tools and databases employed by local first responders.
G&H played two primary roles in contributing to the success of this experiment. First G&H solved multiple technical hurdles in order to enable these systems to interoperate for the very first time. One effort was working with Maine Emergency Management Agency to consume and use Canadian MASAS incident reports for the very first time since they began this dialogue two years ago. Another effort included working with IPAWS to develop a means by which agencies can view, filter and use relevant alert and warning information in their geospatial operations viewer. Additoinally, G&H worked to build capacity of the Canada-U.S. Resiliency Experiment participants in Maine and New Brunswick to discover, consume, publish, share and use incident specific data in the form of alerts, warnings, geographically depicted situation reports and more. This resulted in developing several new methods by which MASAS data and IPAWS alerts and can be used in the native geospatial viewer hosted by an agency. The experiment is a key action item in the Beyond the Border Action Plan adopted by the U.S. and Canada and will serve as a benchmark for future bi-national collaborations.
"Our Government continues to work with our partners to advance the Beyond the Border Action Plan," said the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety. "Interoperable technology improves cross border communications and therefore contributes to building safety and security on both sides of the border. The CAUSE demonstration highlights the important progress for harmonizing cross border response capacity."