We are overly reliant on the availability of satellite, cellular and cloud infrastructure for conducting our operations. In many HA/DR operations, however, access to such infrastructure is simply not available, nonetheless the operation still must proceed in a safe and smooth manner. This panel focuses on the critical abilities that our first-responders need to operate in such limited environments and technical capabilities that can be exploited to support them.
Moderator: Gurminder Singh
Professor of Computer Science
Director of the Center for the Study of Mobile Devices and Communications
Naval Postgraduate School
Dr. Gurminder Singh is a Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Mobile Devices and Communications at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), CA. His primary area of focus is wireless and handheld device technology. He is currently involved in research in Mobile Devices, Mobile Application Architectures, and Mobile Device-Enabled Sensor Networks. Prior to NPS, he was the President and CEO of NewsTakes, Inc., a company specializing in repurposing of multimedia content for delivery to wireless networks and devices. He has been involved in this area for the last 10 years. Prior to NewsTakes, Dr. Singh was Director at the Kent Ridge Digital Lab (now I2R) where his responsibilities included strategic directions for research, management of research staff, and commercialization of intellectual property.
Dr. Singh has helped mentor and spin-off several start-ups in wireless, internet and multimedia in recent years. He has been on the management and advisory boards of start-up companies, and has advised companies and VCs on business plans, intellectual property issues, and management teams.
Dr. Singh has been involved with ACM and IEEE for many years in organizing conferences, editing special issues of journals, and publishing in their journals. He has published extensively and edited special issues of the Communications of ACM, ACM Transactions on CHI, IEEE Multimedia and ACM Multimedia Systems etc. Prof. Singh founded the ACM Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST) Conference in 1994 and co-chaired VRST 2005. He received his Ph.D. in Computing Science from the University of Alberta, Canada.
Major Alexander “Kronk” Beachy
United States Marine Corps
Maj Beachy is a heavy-lift helicopter pilot (CH-53E), but is currently serving as the Director, Operating Forces Support Group, Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity, where he leads a group of communications, computer, command and control, and intelligence (C4I) analysts. His team supports the C4I systems of the Marine Corps, Department of Defense, and joint and coalition forces throughout the world.
As a Marine, he has been involved in many Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) operations. He led the first of many HA/DR missions for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit during Operation Tomodachi. These missions helped the citizens of mainland Japan after the tsunami in 2011.
Maj Beachy graduated with distinction from the Naval Postgraduate School with a Master of Science in Computer Science. He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
As a Coast Guard rescue pilot Chris piloted one of the first helicopters to respond to the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. He returned from that mission driven to improve Coast Guard Maritime Domain Awareness and Port, Waterways, and Coastal Security aerial patrols. As a junior Lieutenant and pilot in the field, Chris led the development of a real time situational awareness system for Coast Guard aircraft. His efforts led to congressional funding to link every CG aircraft with an Iridium datalink. During Katrina Chris demonstrated the benefit of using cellular air cards on helicopters as a simple high speed datalink solution that complimented satellite datalinks. For his efforts Chris was awarded the Coast Guard’s National Innovation Award, named a Visionary Leader by Government Computer News, and was selected to attend the highly competitive Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). While at NPS Chris learned about Mobile Ad Hoc Networking Technology (MANET) and realized the technology was critical to meeting the operational requirements for the disasters and missions he had spent his career responding to.
After graduating from NPS Chris transferred to the Coast Guard Reserves where he now serves as an Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer, and founded Avwatch where he has focused on rapidly advancing disaster situational awareness and airborne networking technology on manned and unmanned system. The technologies Avwatch helped develop and field to communicate and improve situational awareness have been used to support major national disaster responses like Deepwater Horizon and Super Storm Sandy as well as Super Bowl 50, the Boston Marathon, and countless other real world operations. The technology was selected by DARPA to give to Prescott, AZ firefighters who lost 19 of their 20 member Hotshot team in part due to a lack of situational awareness. Popular Science awarded that technology a “Best of What’s New” award and the US Forest Service is currently fielding the solution for federal wild fire response. Avwatch currently helps manage one of the FAA’s Unmanned Aerial Systems test sites and continues to push the leading edge of situational awareness and communications technologies there.