Portable "Go" Kits Will Help In The Field
When Air Forces Northern officials need an aircrew to fly a
search and rescue mission, run counterdrug support or play the bad
guy, they frequently call on the members of the Civil Air Patrol,
who are always more than eager to lend a helping hand.
CAP "Go" Kit
In an effort to make the job easier and more efficient for CAP
responders, AFNORTH officials have given the organization five
Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable go
kits. The GIIEPs feature self-contained communications equipment
and other hardware that allow for real time and near-real time
full-motion video, digital imagery and in-flight chat capability
with federal, state and local emergency operations centers.
"These kits will be a highly beneficial addition to CAP's
existing mission toolkit," said Maj. Anthony Beresford, Alabama CAP
Wing chief of staff. "The ability to transmit geo-referenced video
imagery in flight shortens response times, while situational
awareness is greatly improved by automatically updating aircraft
and ground teams on the Google Earth map at the command
Each GIIEP consists of a laptop, handheld cameras and a cellular
air card, which provides wireless connectivity to the aircrew. The
kit fits into two small cases, is easily transportable and can be
shipped across the country when members of a CAP wing need it.
Since the kits don't require any aircraft modification, they can be
used in any CAP aircraft.
The kits will be maintained by officials at CAP national
headquarters and will be shipped to CAP wings as needed for
missions. "During hurricane season, the kits will be sent to wings
along the coast," said Lt. Col. Chris Sabo, Air Force auxiliary
plans and programs chief. "During the spring, we'll send them to
states that are prone to flooding. And if necessary, we'll send the
kits out west during fire season."
The benefit of these kits will be significant, Colonel Sabo
said. "Previously, the aircraft would have to land somewhere, find
an Internet connection and transmit the imagery to the emergency
operations center they're supporting," the colonel said. "Now, the
imagery is streamed live to the EOC while the plane is still in the
air. This enables the decision makers to get the information much
sooner and decide where to place their resources."
Saving that kind of time potentially means many more saved
lives, but the equipment is more than just a means of better
operability. It's also a show of gratitude, said Brig. Gen.
Christopher Coates, Continental United States North American
Aerospace Defense Command Region deputy commander. "AFNORTH is
providing this equipment to the Civil Air Patrol because of the
outstanding relationship the Air Force has with their volunteer
organization," he said.
The sheer amount of time CAP members devote to AFNORTH is proof
of how tightly these two organizations work together.
AFNORTH officials are as happy to give the GIIEPs as CAP members
are to receive them. "This equipment enhances CAP's ability to
perform its important missions," said Brig. Gen. Charles Carr, CAP
national vice commander. "We salute AFNORTH for its generosity and
support in helping our 61,000 members nationwide to be better
prepared to meet emergency services and disaster relief mission
aerial imaging requirements."
The GIIEPs, purchased from the U.S. Army Space and Missile
Defense Command, were presented to CAP officials at their national
headquarters at Maxwell AFB, Ala., Jan. 26.