Say Again? Lessons from Hurrican Katrina in Spectrum Management and Communications Interoperability   [open pdf - 207KB]

"The concepts of electromagnetic spectrum management and communications interoperability are nothing new or revolutionary. They are core functions that enable successful command and control for the Joint Force Commander throughout the range of military operations. The importance of these functions cannot be stressed enough. When properly planned for and executed, electromagnetic spectrum management and communications interoperability ensure issues such as interference, duplication of effort and friction are eliminated. In the particular case of disaster relief, they become even more imperative since the destruction of the communications infrastructure within a disaster area is very likely. Hurricane Katrina provided perhaps the greatest illustration of this fact. Without question, the relief operation following Hurricane Katrina was a monumental task and performed admirably by all those involved. However, the operation was not a smooth success. The issues of interference, duplication of effort and friction were all realized due to the inability of the JTF-Katrina Commander's staff to effectively manage the electromagnetic spectrum and resolve communications interoperability issues. Furthermore, the JTF-Katrina Commander's ability to exercise command and control and maintain situational awareness was nearly non-existent leading to coordination issues and delays in the relief efforts. Fortunately, these issues can be resolved and lessons can be derived for future disaster relief operations."

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