News Highlights – 9 Sept 11

Merging Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Incident Information…

….into one system for military commanders to use for managing any such incidents – that’s what the Canadian Forces is seeking, and they’re asking industry if there’s anything out there already that can do the job, via MERX:

“This Request for Information (RFI) is issued to determine the extent to which there exists or is in-development an integrated CBRN <Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear> planning, hazard prediction, warning and reporting, decision support, and CBRN incident management capability that meets the requirements ….”

This, from the RFI Requirements highlights what’s there now, and what more is needed (plain text translation follows):

“The existing system utilizes stand-alone computer systems that require manual input of sensor data and output information in Message Text Format (MTF), which require CBRN specialists to interpret and explain the data. Domestic and expeditionary C4ISR <Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance> systems either lack a CBRN Information Management (IM) component or have developed their own independent systems in the absence of a National standard. There remains the problem of passing unclassified CBRN sensor data from the unsecure environment to the C4ISR backbone. Lack of a standardized CBRN IM system across all users serving the entire theatre of operations increases the complexity of W&R <warning and reporting> activities. Hazard prediction does not have the required accuracy to free forces not effectively threatened by the hazard, thereby unnecessarily restricting freedom of action leading to loss of initiative.”

Plain text translation:

Right now, experts on the scene can pass messages on to commanders with explanations about what the information means.  While a few systems bringing together this and other information are in place, there’s no national system to do this, making it more complicated to make decisions and respond.  There’s also the question of how to bring in publicly-available information (like, say, weather reports) directly into the system for the commander to consider.  Bringing together more information could make predicting what happens next easier and more accurate, making it easier for commanders to decide if they can spare forces for other work.

Once the military has an idea of what systems are out there that could possibly do the job (current deadline for businesses to submit information is 6 Nov 09), it will figure out next steps about how to buy and/or develop such a system.

If you want to read more of the bid package, the best bits are available here.