Last week I flew out to Washington, DC to join a working group in regards to the National Emergency Technology (NET) Guard. NET Guard is an initiative started by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregan) and Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia) way back in 2002 to form a volunteer group of IT and communications professionals across the country who will be ready to respond the next time a major disaster strikes (take 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina as examples). The structure would be similar to other volunteer organizations and when disaster strikes, local emergency management entities would be able to call on NET Guard to re-establish temporary communications and provide surge capacity in restoration of IT infrastructure.
For the past five years since the bill creating NET Guard was passed into law, part of the Science and Technology Emergency Mobilization Act which created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), virtually nothing has progressed. Well, all that changed a couple months ago and now NET Guard looks like it will become a reality in the near future. The two day meeting was called to review the proposed Concept of Operations (CONOPS) written by the DHS and make recommendations and changes as appropriate. There were a handful of industry representatives as well as government employees and together we hashed out a plan which we think could be a workable program. The plan is to reconvene the end of August after the followup work has been completed and to have pilots starting as soon as September of this year. Hopefully all goes according to plan and we can see NET Guard become a reality very soon.
For additional reading on NET Guard, view the following websites:
Tags: Disaster Response