U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) yesterday announced that they have signed MOU with seven technology organizations to provide state, local, tribal and territorial governments with technology resources during a disaster to expedite response and recovery. Microsoft is one of them and they have joined FEMA’s new Tech Corps program – a nationwide network of skilled, trained technology volunteers who can address critical technology gaps during a disaster.
During major disasters or emergencies, trained technology volunteers can complement ongoing response and recovery efforts, including installing temporary networks; enabling internet connectivity, and telephone, and radio communications; and providing other support, such as geographic information system (GIS) capacity, coding, and data analytics. In 2002, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) proposed a mechanism of leveraging private sector technology capabilities to innovate the way federal, state, local and tribal governments respond to disasters. Tech Corps is based on this model, which was developed beginning in 2013 to assemble the initial group of companies for the voluntary program.