Pittsburgh Uses Next Generation Collaborative Command & Control and Force Tracking Technologies for Homeland Security Counterterrorism Exercise
Ordia Solutions’ Mobile Tactical Collaboration System™ and AdvanTraq™ GPS Deliver Dynamic Common Operating Picture, Real-Time Situational Awareness, and Taskforce Tracking During Operation Steel Hammer’s Multi-Jurisdictional and Multidisciplinary Harbor Security Exercise
Pittsburgh, PA and Vienna, VA, September 14, 2007 – Ordia Solutions, the leading provider of interoperable, collaborative, and mobile command and control solutions for public safety, announces the successful test and evaluation today of its next generation collaborative command and control platform – Mobile Tactical Collaboration System™ (MTCS) and advanced tracking solution – AdvanTraq™ GPS during the Southwestern Pennsylvania’s “Operation Steel Hammer” harbor security counterterrorism exercise in the City of Pittsburgh.
At approximately 0900 hours this morning, Pittsburgh River Rescue police officers observed a small boat moored along the water entrance of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Two occupants were spotted and as they were questioned, one of the officers observed a suspicious package. Additional searches of the boat revealed the existence of schedules and photographs of Gateway Clipper Fleet vessels, suggesting an attempt may be underway to commandeer one of the vessels and ram it onto a bridge support and/or detonate a hazardous device. This was confirmed by an emergency call from Fleet offices that one of their boats, the Liberty Belle, had been commandeered by unknown assailants. A multi-jurisdictional and multidisciplinary task force was mobilized which included Pittsburgh River Rescue Unit, Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), Pittsburgh Police Special Deployment Division (aka SWAT), Pittsburgh Fire Bureau, EMS Divers, Pennsylvania State Police SERT, Intelligence Unit, and Office of Emergency Management, to identify, assess, interdict, board the Liberty Belle and neutralize the threat. Thus began the Pittsburgh portion of Operation Steel Hammer, a 13-county Southwestern Pennsylvania regional (Region 13) counterterrorism exercise under the auspices of the US Department of Homeland Security.
Until the introduction of the Mobile Tactical Collaboration System™, first responders had to rely exclusively on radio handsets for tactical communication. Although radios are trusted and reliable, responders experience difficulty describing complex situations and strategies using verbal communication alone. Following the exercise, the quotes from Steel Hammer participants about the benefits they gained from using MTCS and AdvanTraq™ GPS were punctuated by “awesome”, “easy to use”, “intuitive”, and “great information sharing”. They included: “MTCS’ workspaces and common operating picture enabled operators to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate visually, effectively, and in real time”, to “The integrated tracking device gave our commanders and operators enhanced situational awareness by overlaying actual unit positions dynamically on top of the operations plans”, and “Our operators were pleased with the robustness, ease-of-use, fast training, and intuitive look and feel of this new technology which allowed them to focus their attention more on sharpening their tactical skills using the tool rather than being frustrated by its complexity.”
AdvanTraq™ GPS provided real-time location information of tactical team members during the approach to and assault on the commandeered vessel. Tactical commanders used MTCS to command and direct resources using separate but complementary and fully associative workspaces, and to specify boundary lines and takedown points at all three scenario sites:
• The underwater dive team was able to cordon off a diver safety area and communicate, via MTCS, the operational boundaries to River Rescue teams and higher command.
• The EOD team used MTCS to communicate to other officers a blast safety area during the disarmament and disposal of an explosive device planted at the convention center.
• The tactical waterborne team used MTCS to collaborate with higher command while planning the assault on the commandeered vessel.
“From campus security to port security, from critical infrastructure protection to border patrol, from major sporting event security management to VIP transportation, from man-made to environmental disaster response, the challenges faced by public safety officials and first responders in the post 9/11 world are as complex as they are numerous” noted Joe E. Ordia, Chairman and CEO, Ordia Solutions. “We are laser-focused on teaming with our public safety partners around the world to develop and deliver a new set of innovative, next-generation technologies for our first responders on the front line, so they have the force-multiplier advantage they need to effectively secure our infrastructures and protect our citizens. We are pleased that Pittsburgh is blazing the trail in exploiting next generation technologies to meet its public safety mission”.
About AdvanTraq™ GPS
AdvanTraq™ GPS is a portfolio of advanced tracking solutions for personnel, vehicle, K9, and cargo that operates as standalone solutions or integrated with and traceable through a Mobile Tactical Collaboration System™ workspace. AdvanTraq GPS employs tracking technologies from GLC Enterprises of Naperville IL.
About Mobile Tactical Collaboration System™
Developed using industry standard Web 2.0-based technologies, MTCS represents the next generation of intuitive, easy-to-use browser-based collaborative command and control solutions for public safety. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, MTCS enhances public safety officers’ ability to communicate and collaborate visually and in real-time using tactical graphics, digital maps, and shared workspaces. It facilitates the rapid design of multiple scenarios, one or more of which can be executed based on real-time contingencies and at the discretion of tactical commanders. The MTCS platform addresses the “5Cs of Interoperability” for tactical operators and first responders - Communication, Collaboration, Coordination, Command and Control. This level of interoperability is a must for critical incidents requiring multi-jurisdictional and multidisciplinary response, and for the related exercises necessary to sharpen the tactical proficiencies of operators. MTCS is accessible by authorized personnel in the field using mobile data terminals or ultra mobile PCs via secure wireless broadband, or at the operation center using desktop PCs and LAN lines. Microsoft® Virtual Earth™ is the standard mapping imagery delivered by MTCS, however other customer imagery can be incorporated.
Together, AdvanTraq GPS and MTCS provide commanders and other senior leadership an unprecedented level of real-time situational awareness of an executing operation and its operators, significantly increasing operator accountability and safety. The versatility of the MTCS platform enables it to be used by law enforcement, fire/EMS, search and rescue, and EOC personnel in a variety of command and control scenarios. These include perimeter and border security, SWAT operations, major sporting event security management, disaster security response, multi-alarm fire suppression, preparedness training and exercises, post-incident analysis, and day-to-day public safety activities
About Ordia Solutions
Headquartered in Vienna VA, Ordia Solutions, Inc. is the leading provider of interoperable, collaborative, and mobile command and control solutions for public safety. Founded in 2005, the company’s mission is to enable first responders and tactical teams to rapidly leverage emerging relevant technologies in order to increase mission effectiveness and maximize public safety. For more information, visit www.ordiasolutions.com, e-mail email@example.com, or call (703) 752-6252.
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