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Communication During The Hurricane Florence

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The personnel on the ground will be provided with radio communication equipment which would be used where cell service breaks down completely. They will also be given waterproof phones with applications such as FireChat and Glympse which still work where data and signal have failed. The Corps deployed three deployable tactical operations center vehicles to help aid with communication capabilities (U.S. Northen Command) during Hurricane Florence.

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The contracting team will be able to communicate with vendors as well as the contracting office through the use of cellphones and radios. The capabilities that the contracting team can leverage to provide is a partnership with Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). DLA will assist in providing map requests on demand which will assist in the flexing of our abilities to offer the much-needed support. DLA further is a partner that offers communication support.

Hurricane Florence has been categorized as a Category 4 hurricane. These kinds of hurricanes usually result in severe structural damage, and therefore the communication infrastructure is expected to be damaged. There might be insufficient interoperability at most levels of communication as well as a lack of the right equipment. The interoperability problems are expected to stem from the fact that different organizations often respond to disasters and each of them come with their equipment which is often not compatible with that of the other organizations. For instance, DoD assets may respond with some varying devices such as handheld radios or blue force tracker. Thus, it may be impossible for other organizations to communicate with them due to the lack of the tools that can interact with them. This is bound to impact on the responders’ capacity to offer the right individuals with the right equipment, at the right place and right time. During and following Hurricane Florence, phone service is expected to be poor. The hurricane will probably knock out many of the cell towers which mean that phone service will be very poor. However, there are plans by major cell phone companies, namely AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile to keep people connected during the storm. Internet service during and after Hurricane Florence is expected to be poor at best, especially the 3G and 4G internet service. Unless the software is dependent on the internet, it is expected to work just fine. Landline phones can work even after a power outage. They are frequently reliable during storms compared to cell phones. If the cell towers happen to be damaged, then the data speed will be slowed. Poor connection speeds and communication infrastructure means that the cost of communication will be higher in terms of cost.

The issue of compatibility will be of major concern when providing communication support. Currently, not all of our systems are compatible with regards to interoperability. Nevertheless, through partnerships, we can find ways to overcome these challenges and ensure more efficient operations. One major challenge in hurricanes has always been communication, and communication problems are expected, especially with the previously discussed interoperability. The flooding is also expected to interfere with our operations. A major way that the mission can be made more successful is through partnerships. It would be good to proceed with the mission having talked to and partnered with the organizations that will be working to provide help during the hurricane. These partnerships will ensure that the use of all the available infrastructure is maximized for the benefit of those being rescued. Intelligence sharing, which is closely tied to communications is crucial in ensuring that help gets to where it is needed.

11 February 2020

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