Cisco Systems Gives Back with their TacOps Team

Leading networking equipment manufacturer, Cisco Systems, has developed a corporate give-back and humanitarian service unlike any other.  The Cisco Tactical Operations (TacOpS) team mobilizes and responds to crises, internationally, by providing emergency communications to those involved with response and relief efforts.
TacOps provides Internet Protocol-based communications (voice, video, data, radio) for first responders, government agencies, relief organizations, and mission critical responders.  As part of their corporate social responsibility efforts, Cisco covers all costs for TacOps team operations.
TacOps consists of a team full of network engineers, operations coordinators, logistics officers, first responders, humanitarians, and volunteers, all extremely committed to the teams’ global mission of “connecting the unconnected” in a time of crisis.
TacOps also manages the employee-volunteer Cisco Disaster Incident Response Team (DIRT) and provides on-the-ground support using:
  • Rapidly deployable satellite-based networks
  • Advanced Cisco technology
  • Cisco Network Emergency Response Vehicles (NERVs) and Emergency Communication Units (ECUs)
  • Emergency Communications Kits (ECKs)
Cisco TacOps consists of two teams that are located on both coasts of the United States (San Jose, CA and Raleigh, NC).  Members of both TacOps and DIRT are trained on the U.S. National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System.
Recently, TacOps Team One was deployed to the Republic of Vanuatu in response to Cyclone Pam (March 2015).  The team built communication networks for government continuity as well as temporary networks for humanitarian and NGO response.  Networks were deployed in over 15 locations over 4 islands to provide communications for the relief efforts.
The TacOps fleet of communication support vehicles provided rapidly deployable field mobile communications, wired and wireless communications, redundant Internet uplinks, command and workspace, video conferencing and streaming and much more.  The team utilizes two Network Emergency Response Vehicles (NERV) to provide communications infrastructure and command and control space for both response efforts and outreach programs.
In 2014, TacOps took delivery of an emergency communications trailer, dubbed ECU-1, that provides communications support for the team.  PEAKE of Maryland designed and built ECU-1 and continues to support the trailer.  PEAKE also converted two Chevy trucks into utility vehicles that provide a refuel and utility service for the team.
Along with vehicular solutions, TacOps deploys a variety of emergency communications kits throughout disasters including the PEAKE Tactical Incident Communication System.  Purchased in 2012, the TICS is a “first-in” communication solution built on a Cisco-networking platform.  TacOps uses the TICS when traditional communications are not available.
In addition to response and relief efforts, the Cisco TacOps team utilizes their years of “in the field experience” to provide consulting services to public safety and government agencies.   After discovering organizations’ operational needs, TacOps assists in developing the architecture and solutions set to support them. TacOps can provide consultation on the following:
  • Development of mobile command vehicles
  • Creation of satellite-based networking kits to support telemedicine in remote parts of the developing world
  • Participation in a collaborative working group on Disaster Response Management Applications
  • The “art of the possible” of current and emerging technologies
Public safety and government agencies can utilize the Cisco TacOps team throughout larger-scale emergencies as well as on consulting engagements.

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