13 January 2018

Situational Awareness: Reality in ORM...

Situational Awareness has always been a key factor in effective Operational Risk Management and Real-Time Incident Command.

Situational awareness (SA) involves being aware of what is happening around you to understand how information, events, and your own actions will impact your goals and objectives, both now and in the near future. Lacking SA or having inadequate SA has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error .

What you know and when you know it, can make the difference between life and death in the context of real-time emergency management and tactical response operations.  However, it can also provide you with the intelligence you need to save lives and avoid new risks as a more sudden and real-time threat unfolds.

Whether it's the active shooter, disgruntled employee or an international hotel under siege, it should not matter. Let's take a minute and look at a sample time line on the Mumbai attacks in India November 26th, 2008 as one example from a situational report:
  • Two terrorists have barricaded themselves in the Oberoi Hotel; 3 dead and 25 injured. 11/26/08 10:31 PST
  • Terror strikes at 12 places in Mumbai. Up to 20 hostages held at Oberoi Hotel. 11/26/08 11:57 PST
  • Several British and American civilians among hostages at two hotels. Explosion reported at Taj Hotel. 11/26/08 13:59 PST
  • Explosions and fire reported at Oberoi Hotel; clashes continue in multiple locations across Mumbai. 11/27/08 07:23 PST
  • Indian elite commando chief is reporting that the Oberoi-Trident Hotel has been cleared of terrorist threat. 11/28/08 01:03 PST
  • Counter-terrorism operations declared over; at least 195 killed in attacks. An investigation is underway. 11/29/08 16:06 PST
Look at the time stamps and the lag time between each one. The person writing these bullets for a "Flash" message to subscribers or people asking for text based updates, was either not using all of the potential assets available to them, or they just did not think there was any relevance of the other information unfolding. This example of 2008 "Situational Awareness" reporting is not only dangerous and a thing of the past, it's letting the "Grey Matter" get in the way.

So what about the public? Is Periscope and #NEWS hash tags the answer?

The problem with most "Situational Awareness" capabilities is that the subject matter experts, commanders in the SOC/NOC, or the business CEO 2,000 miles away, are letting the "interpreters" on the street in the heat of the crisis, determine what is important. The second issue and until the past few years, is that the information is not "Real-Time":

Seamless and secure tracking and communication among mission planners, field personnel, and central command elements are essential to mission success. Raytheon's Blackbird Technologies Gotham™ system is a comprehensive back-end solution for monitoring, operating, and managing tagging, tracking, and locating (TTL) devices and viewing associated geospatial data. 

A Common Situational Picture for Military and Emergency Operations

With the ability to track assets and targets — and to communicate with team members and devices — Gotham enables networked team decision-making, control of resources, shared resource dispatching, and adaptability to change based on operational requirements.

In a disaster, communication among emergency responders and control of needed assets are vital to the safety and security of personnel and the public, as well as the effective execution of the disaster response mission.

Your Operational Risk Management tool box is now enhanced.  Pay it forward...

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