By Major Frank Howard
181st IW Executive Staff Officer
TERRE HAUTE —
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and Airmen from the 181st Intelligence Wing, Indiana Air National Guard, are currently conducting training missions to test the combined capability of both organizations to provide Incident Awareness and Assessment (IAA) to civilian disaster first responders.
The 181st Intelligence Wing routinely trains with the CAP as part of the Indiana Air National Guard State civil support mission. Currently, the CAP is flying training missions in Indiana Department of Homeland Security District 7 and District 10. Each training mission includes a CAP pilot in a Cessna 182/GA8 aircraft with two Air National Guard Airmen providing imagery support.
Training routinely includes imaging and assessing infrastructure affected by simulated natural disasters. This past week, however, the training images focused on areas affected by the flood conditions in the Wabash Valley and south to Evansville.
The 181st Intelligence Wing utilizes a GIIEP (Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable) kit to send images via a 3G capability to a central server. Once sent to the server, 181st Intelligence Wing Airmen can access the imagery and in the near future, provide incident awareness and assessment on the status of flood waters, levees, and damage to infrastructure. The GIIEP system provides the capability to integrate multiple forms of data to include aerial and terrestrial data into a common operating picture, to support disaster response operations.
Each GIIEP kit consists of a laptop, handheld cameras and a cellular air card, which provides Wi-Fi to the operator. A kit fits into two small cases, is easily transportable and can be shipped across the country. Since the kits require no aircraft modification, they can be used in any aircraft.
“Training with the Civil Air Patrol and the GIIEP kit will allow us to quickly respond and assess natural disasters,” Air Force Maj. Craig Maschino, 181st Intelligence Wing Indiana Air National Guard, stated in a news release. “It also allows us to streamline our process and correct any problems we discover.”
The 181st Intelligence Wing’s capability to provide IAA to disaster response is limited, but increasing rapidly. Training events like those this week keep the Racers “Ready, Reliable, and Relevant,” and increase the 181st Intelligence Wing’s ability to rapidly assist the citizens of Indiana now and in the future.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide. CAP performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search-and-rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.