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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: Total traditional network outage response idea
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Mordecai
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,078
Unit: SI

« on: August 07, 2017, 03:25:38 PM »

So let us jump into the fantasy land where ALL cellphones stop working effectively, the internet decides to stop working, and your wing decides it is a good idea to activate your unit to deliver comm traffic for essential support functions of your state.

How do members know to check if there is a mission they should check in to? Ideally, members with issued radios would turn them on and wait for instructions, but not all MROs have radios issued to them.

I had a multi-agency thought that I thought I'd run by here before kicking it up the chain.

Depending on which emergency services radio service is in use in your area (ARES/RACES/MARS), issue to the appropriate person there a liaison radio. When they receive a mission notice from Wing, they could then task their HAM licensed services to making an hourly announcement on a pre-defined repeater to the effect of "Any CAP units on this frequency, please refer to and initiate your emergency communications response plan."

CAP members can with a HAM radio utilize their HAM transceivers to check in at the top or bottom of the hour (or both) and acknowledge with their HAM callsign that they are heading to the mission sign-in location if they have one OR if they have no license, they can simply receive the message and follow the pre-distributed plan (since the CAP member isn't signed in to a mission yet, there is no restriction on their use of the radio to acknowledge receipt of message.)

This is just a rough thought. Does this sound like a viable strategy?
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NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,664
Unit: of issue

« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 04:07:34 PM »

Sounds like the market for for CONELRAD receivers is gonna get hot again....
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
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EMT-83
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,819

« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 06:03:23 PM »

Ham is not an acronym or initialization, no need to capitalize.
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PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,864

« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 07:07:49 PM »

All Cell Phones and the Internet stops working? (BTW people get Internet via Cable TV and Copper/Fiber Optic Phone lines.)
About the only thing that might cause that would be the EMP from an High Altitude Nuclear detnonation.
Which would take out the Ham operators too.
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NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,664
Unit: of issue

« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2017, 07:23:23 PM »

One of my guys was waiting for the black white van to pull into his driveway to notify him...
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award
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Posts: 27,996

« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2017, 08:27:22 PM »

All Cell Phones and the Internet stops working? (BTW people get Internet via Cable TV and Copper/Fiber Optic Phone lines.)
About the only thing that might cause that would be the EMP from an High Altitude Nuclear detnonation.
Which would take out the Ham operators too.

+1 the "total outage" scenario described doesn't include CAP as a responding resource, it casts the United States,
and, by association and practical reality, the majority of the modern world, into chaos and probably war.

The local amateur radio club will be no more of a factor or asset (or less) then CAP in that regard.

Anything less then "total outage" has the operators responding in hours or less with general services back up and running
in a matter of days - again CAP is a non-factor.

This idea that CAP is going to return to the salad days of being the "Voice of Command" in a major disaster
ignores the assets and abilities of the professional agencies tasked with actually being that "thing".

For starters?   CAP can't even put radios in all the hands of its member who actually need them, let
alone start issuing equipment to non-members "in case".

Look at the response curves of CAP during national disasters when the storm is predicted for days or
weeks, and then throw in the real-world readiness of your unit and those in your wing, and you'll see
that the apocalypse will be watched on TV by CAP members just like the rest of the world.

I think I've mentioned this here before, but during the ramp up to Y2K, I worked in IT for a local municipality,
I was part of the "response team" should the SHTF.  The (then) volunteer EMA coordinator insisted vehemently
that we needed to spend the money to put an amateur radio antenna on the cell tower behind village hall.

"Why?"

"So that if things really get bad here we can talk to Australia..."

"For what?"

"To tell them we're still alive..."

"And?"

"..."

Around that time the FD Chief assumed the duties of EMA coordinator.

If it goes sideways, there will be plenty to do in your neighborhood and local communities,
without trying to coordinate with Maxwell or DC.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 09:02:06 PM by Eclipse » Logged

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Eclipse
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Posts: 27,996

« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2017, 09:05:47 PM »

How do members know to check if there is a mission they should check in to? Ideally, members with issued radios would turn them on and wait for instructions, but not all MROs have radios issued to them.

The direct answer to this question is that your unit DOS, in consultation with other staff, has published
a call-up / out / recall plan for your members which includes a physical rally point or similar for times
when mass communications are out.
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2017, 09:40:38 PM »


About the only thing that might cause that would be the EMP from an High Altitude Nuclear detnonation.
Which would take out the Ham operators too.

Lets be realistic ..... anything that catastrophic .... CAP 'volunteers' will be so busy tending to their famiies, trying to find food, fuel, a safe bunker and more ... that it would be days or weeks before many at all would be leaving their families to go see what CAP was up to.
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EMT-83
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,819

« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2017, 11:08:48 PM »

Something as simple as a hurricane or winter storm can throw a monkey wrench into the works; no zombie apocalypse required. Irene and Sandy produced some interesting results, showing weakness in a lot of systems that were not able to survive without commercial power for 5 to 7 days. Public safety systems went down when generators failed or ran out of fuel, cell sites went down when batteries died, as did cable Internet.

Since then, the regional ARES group here has developed a plan to man amateur radio equipment in every local EOC, to provide HF/VHF/UHF communication including voice, digital and email via radio. Drills are conducted twice a year to keep everyone up to speed and identify anything that needs to be fixed.

The odds of any of this actually being needed is slim, and we're not talking about a bunch Ham Sexy yahoos running around in yellow vests. Could CAP provide this type of service? Probably not, but we have successfully flown an amateur repeater in CAP aircraft with excellent results.
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s.cap
Recruit

Posts: 7
Unit: SER-GA-045

« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2017, 11:11:22 PM »

Being a child of the cold war I tend to think in terms of catastrophe being the only possible impact, but reading this thread, I've reconsidered.  Some of the positions I'm reading here are predicated upon a catastrophe.

Locally, such extended outages could be caused by malicious actors without catastrophic impact to much of anything outside three or four 10 story office buildings that are known and can be found with internet searches.

Someone accidentally closed down one of our major interstates for weeks by setting one fire, and they didn't have any intent.

The network of all these technologies may seem ubiquitous, but my observation is that they really only connect to each other in a VERY limited number of places.

Does FEMA, or others, take over if four office buildings get demolished but the other 5 million people in the area are fine otherwise?  I'm not asking to be a wise-acre, I really don't know.  It doesn't seem that catastrophic to me.

So what's more likely in our times?  Malicious action that are large scale and catastrophic, or limited and highly impacting?

My assertion is that you only have to lose some of your communications infrastructure and the balance attempting to use the remaining parts with a flood of traffic, would render it inoperable, just like the roads around here this spring.
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Eclipse
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Posts: 27,996

« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2017, 11:48:29 PM »

Does FEMA, or others, take over if four office buildings get demolished but the other 5 million people in the area are fine otherwise?  I'm not asking to be a wise-acre, I really don't know.  It doesn't seem that catastrophic to me.

FEMA generally only gets involved when local resources are overwhelmed or incapable of appropriate response to an incident or disaster, natural or otherwise.
4 or 5 mid-level office buildings in a major city would probably strain resources, but wouldn't likely trigger a FEMA response, unless those Mayors were
reaching for funding (which is a big part of why FEMA exists).

So what's more likely in our times?  Malicious action that are large scale and catastrophic, or limited and highly impacting?
Probably the latter, but "highly impacting" is subjective.  You could probably give NASDAQ heartburn by cutting a handful of major fiber
trunks, and that would potentially cost trading firms billions of dollars, but the general public would only be aware of it
on the news or when they open their next 401k statement.

There are certain facilities in certain areas, which are critical infrastructure points and could have catastrophic effects to communications,
but CAP isn't going to set up comm stations and start passing traffic because professional resources will be on hand immediately to address any radio comm needs.

A lot of people forget that right after the FD / PD / municipal / county / state resources are a plethora of contractors looking for that sweet, sweet
FEMA cash, ready to fill in whatever is needed.

My assertion is that you only have to lose some of your communications infrastructure and the balance attempting to use the remaining parts with a flood of traffic, would render it inoperable, just like the roads around here this spring.

Hard to argue that, but you can't really compare roads to comm infrastructure.  A road is a physical thing with limited, very specific means of traversal,
and once compromised, limited means of repair.  Comm links don't suffer the same physical limitations these days, especially considering how much
of it is cellular. Sure a broken cable(s) can make for a bad day / week, but you can back fill that with micro cells or re-strung temporary cables while the
permanent stuff is replaced or drying out.

The point here is that the level of Armageddon needed to involve CAP is also likely to preclude it in the same breath.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 11:51:49 PM by Eclipse » Logged

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isuhawkeye
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,305

John's web site
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2017, 09:36:20 AM »

If you're interested in the total outage and broad spectrum blackout scenario I suggest you take a look at the following books

1. One second after by William Forstchen
2. Lights out by Ted Koppel
3. Ravenrock: THe story of the U.S. Governments secret plan to save itself while the rest of us die By Garrett Graff

The first is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the united states.  Even though it's fiction it is very compelling and has driven a lot of industry conversations about a power outage. 

The second is an investigative reporters perspective on our infrastructure with a detailed look at how we respond. 

the third is a historical account of government continuity plans through the cold war.  It gives a lot of great insight into how plans are written and what happens when they are actually implemented. 
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Brad
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 776
Unit: MER-SC-020

« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2017, 12:41:22 AM »

For those unaware, CAP Communications from NHQ all the way down the the Squadron level has been regularly training for this on a recurring basis for some time now, at the request of DoD. We simulate total infrastructure outage, which leaves us to rely on HF since it is simplex, and we go from there. More info here:

https://www.capmembers.com/emergency_services/communications-blog/?operations_exercise_success&show=entry&blogID=1827
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Brad Lee
Maj, CAP
Assistant Director of Communications
SCWG
K4RMN
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