The Monmouth University Rapid Response Institute was established in 2004 to leverage the University’s extant software engineering, modeling, and simulation talent and research capabilities in support of rapid military, homeland security, and disaster-response decision making.
Initial Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) funding through the Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) focused the Rapid Response Institute’s programs on developing the software tools to rapidly manipulate databases to support decision making surrounding identification of biological, chemical, and radiological attacks and the coordinated responses thereto. The tools are aimed to help decision making across various defense (and other federal and tribal agencies), state, and local organizations.
The Institute spearheads development, integration, and mining of data and its appropriate display to help responding agencies, in battle or at home, assess the emergence and risk of previously undetected bioterrorism agents. The same techniques can be useful in detecting major disease outbreaks and environmental insults. The software tools being developed allow decision makers to retrieve, integrate, and analyze relevant statistical data from a wide variety of geographically and functionally discrete (but existing) data sets to indicate early warning signs of previously undetected attacks or other disasters.
The Institute plans next to develop a prototype national model using these rapid-response database software tools which can be applied to test scenarios and train response decision makers in the Department of Defense and other agencies at federal, state, and local levels.
The Institute is fortunate to partner with Army engineers from nearby Forts Monmouth and Dix in New Jersey and ECBC at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The Institute also works with local county health authorities and other agencies in Central New Jersey for data exchange and tests of newly developed software tools in real-time scenarios and in cross-agency exercises with other systems in order to assess potential dangers in other areas of the world and how those might impact New Jersey. In addition, the Institute will use its technology capabilities to create models and simulations to help train emergency, military, tribal, and medical professionals in the event of an actual crisis.
In 2007, with Federal sponsorship, the Institute, along with its academic partner, the Center of Excellence for Remote Medically Under-Served Areas (CERMUSA) of Saint Francis University, led the development and delivery of a Joint Mobile Command and Training Center vehicle. The vehicle serves as a mobile test, training, and exercise center utilizing software applications and real-time database systems developed as part of the rapid-response program. The mobile center has already been acclaimed for its performance in support of Trial 3.27 at CWID’07 (Coalition Warfighter Interoperability Demonstration), a major defense-wide communications exercise. It will be used to evaluate new software tools and emerging technologies as well as train defense and other agencies in response decision-support technologies.