During times of crisis, the Defense Department can be called upon to support U.S. civil authorities. In those cases, a lead federal agency works alongside state, local, territorial, or tribal organizations as responses to natural or human-made emergencies or disasters evolve. In such situations, the key features of geographic information systems (GIS) are critical enablers, allowing for integration of disparate datasets, the conduct of analysis, and dissemination of authoritative information to deliver situational awareness to commanders on the ground.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, NORTHCOM leveraged GIS to track its staff and their operational readiness and was also called upon to support various state and local agencies in responding to localized COVID-19 outbreaks. Other federal agencies, such as the US Army Corps of Engineers, the National Guard, and the Civil Air Patrol were also tasked to support state and local jurisdictions as well. We invite you to learn about NORTHCOM’s experiences and to hear from other DoD elements on a panel discussing lessons learned from recent experiences working alongside civil authorities in emergency and disaster responses, and to hear their plans for the future of this integrative technology.