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NEW EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CENTER ANNOUNCED BY GOVERNOR; CENTER TO BE INITIALLY HOUSED AT VMASC

Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner was at Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) Wednesday to announce the creation of a state-of-the-art center -- the first in the nation -- devoted to the command and operations management side of homeland security training.

Located in Suffolk, the Emergency Management Training, Analysis & Simulation Center (EMTASC) capitalizes on the state's and Hampton Roads' positioning as the premier location for defense and security modeling and simulation activities in the country. It will be housed at Old Dominion's VMASC until new facilities can be built.

"This new facility will combine world-class expertise and state-of-the-art modeling and simulation for training, analysis, and operational support for disaster management and homeland security situations," Governor Warner said. "As our prayers go out to the citizens of the Gulf region who have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina, that terrible storm reminds us again of the importance of this critical emergency management training and simulation."

Modeling and simulation activities currently contribute nearly $500 million to the Hampton Roads economy, according to a recent economic impact study. Over the next five years, forecasters expect that figure could potentially grow to nearly $1 billion. In the spring, the General Assembly, led by Governor Warner, authorized $1.45 million in funding to spur growth of the region's modeling and simulation activities.

"We are appreciative of the Governor's leadership and efforts to recognize the significant modeling and simulation expertise in Hampton Roads and are enthusiastically supporting this through unprecedented collaboration to establish the Emergency Management Training, Analysis, & Simulation Center," said Robert R. Harper, Jr., a Northrop Grumman Mission Systems executive and member of the EMTASC board. "Each of the 17 founding companies involved with EMTASC is sharing their expertise and experience that combine for the perfect blend of meaningful support to our communities."

While there are more than a dozen existing emergency management-related training centers in the nation, they focus more on training the individual responders, and EMTASC is the first and only center to target command and management at the operational level, according to research conducted by Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC).

EMTASC will employ world-class expertise and high-tech modeling and simulation tools to conduct training, exercises, analysis and operational support to its clients. According to officials, the Center is open to help clients with needs assessments and design training exercises. The Center will be ready to conduct its first training by January, with initial emphasis placed on Virginia localities and emerging to a national client base.

Clients will be able to design simulated exercises focusing on their own specific needs. This type of training challenges participants to respond to dynamic scenarios and actions in real-time, as well as explore the second and third order effects of their decisions. This is not available during typical training. Modeling and simulation tools give a real-time perspective enabling those at the command and management level to have lessons-learned that can lead to real-world application. Because these tools offer extensive detail and are responsive and flexible, modeling and simulation offer critical support to rehearsal capabilities.

The center will be staffed by employees of member corporations who have experience in emergency response operations.

The Center is comprised of a 17-member corporate board including: Alion, Anteon Corporation, BMH, The Boeing Company, Booz Allen Hamilton, Capstone, Cubic, DDL Omni Engineering, Evidence Based Research, Inc., General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Lockheed Martin, Loyola Enterprises Inc., MYMIC LLC, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Science Applications International Corporation and WernerAnderson, Inc.

This partnership also involves advisors from: Commonwealth of Virginia Governor's Office, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, Hampton Roads Partnership, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Hampton Roads Research Partnership, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center, Virginia Office of the Secretary of Commerce & Trade, and the Virginia Office of Commonwealth Preparedness.

This article was posted on: August 31, 2005

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