Army National Guard’s Civil Support Teams Gain First-Response Interoperability with Other Agencies

Advance Echelon Communications System Uses
C-AT’s “Incident Commanders’ Radio Interface” Equipment

Reston, VA – In an effort to solve one of the biggest hurdles to on-the scene communications and coordination amongst first-responders, The Army National Guard’s Civil Support Teams, have received a first order of the “Incident Commanders’ Radio InterfaceTM (ICRI), a cigar box-sized device that provides radio interoperability in a matter of minutes at the scene of a major incident.

The patented ICRI, developed by Communications-Applied Technology (C-AT), will enable Civil Support Teams to communicate with the different radios used by local and state police, fire, public safety, homeland security and other first-responders. The 22-member Civil Support Teams are specifically trained and equipped to respond to weapons of mass destruction, and to test disaster sites for deadly chemical, biological, radiological or explosive agents.

The ICRI will be used in the Civil Support Teams’ mobile command vehicles as part of their “Advance Echelon” communications system. Eleven additional ICRIs are being procured as a follow-on to the initial order of thirteen by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Special Communications Requirements Division (SCRD). The ICRI was selected due to its simplicity of use and quick on-the-scene set-up, typically taking less than five minutes to configure – allowing different commercial and military land mobile radios, VoIP equipment, satellite phones, cell phones, land-line phones, and hybrid cellular/walkie-talkie phones to communicate.

Authorized by Congress in 1999 as a means to respond to deadly domestic crises, there are currently 32 Civil Support Teams throughout the country, with eleven newly authorized teams that will be located in the District of Columbia, Delaware, Guam, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont and Wyoming. Twelve other teams are currently working towards certification.

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Special Communications Requirements Division (SCRD), St. Inigoes, Maryland, integrates the communications vehicle platform in support of the Civil Support Teams. To date, NAVAIR has delivered 56 communications vehicles to various Civil Support Teams in support of their mission.

The ICRI, when used along with the EdgeAccessTM VoiceWiseTM -- an internet gateway -- and a portable satellite connection, will also provide Civil Support Team personnel and first responders with world-wide, communications reach back through aircraft, mobile ground operations and patrol boats.

Military and public safety agencies that have selected the ICRI for the simplicity of operation support their in the field activities include: Pentagon Force Protection Agency, NORTHCOM Joint Task Force-Civil Support, Houston Police Department (Texas), Fairfax County Fire & Rescue (Virginia), Seattle Fire Department (Washington), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, US&R MATF-01 (Massachusetts), plus many additional communities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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