Blueprint Released for a National Strategic Computing Reserve

Image of brain interconnected with many external information sourcesThe National Science and Technology Council has released National Strategic Computing Reserve: A Blueprint, a report which details the need and possible approaches for implementing a computing reserve for emergency use. The COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic highlighted the need for such a reserve when research and development teams relied heavily on the computational resources made available through the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. The ability of various organizations, including governments and academic institutions, to quickly share and process information has “allowed researchers to understand the structure of the SARS-CoV-2 [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2] virus and how it spreads, develop therapeutics and vaccinations, identify approaches to manage and mitigate its impacts, and plan and execute logistics responses such as delivery of medical supplies.” Integrating this concept into a longer-lasting program for crisis and emergency mitigation use is the ultimate goal of the National Strategic Computing Reserve (NSCR).

However, there are several issues to consider when implementing such a reserve. These issues include maintaining an efficient infrastructure and securing a knowledgeable workforce, both of which having the ability to be utilized at a moments notice. To address these issues policies and procedures have to be developed for emergency specific uses. For instance, a biomedical emergency would require “biological and medical datasets,” whereas a weather or seismic emergency would rely on “transportation, geospatial, and observational datasets” to obtain optimal solutions. A standard for computing power must also be implemented along with a fast and effective “matching process” to ensure the correct staff are in place when and where they are needed. According to the report, the next steps in implementing this program “include establishing an interagency group to conduct deeper dives into the various structural and operational components of the NCSR”; “organizing community events to explore the NSCR’s role in specific emergency scenarios”; and “establishing the requisite relationships with other reserves as well as other entities responsible for coordinating and responding to emergencies.”


For more information on topics related to this piece, please see the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) Featured Collection on Cyber Policy, Pandemics and Epidemics, Hurricanes, Wildfires, and Military Role in Homeland Security. Additional information may be found under Emergency Management, Crisis Management, Cyber Infrastructure, Data Sharing, and the COVID-19 Special Collection.

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