The origins of interoperability were in the Public Safety Integration Center sponsored by SAIC. The PSIC was created after many meetings with the Department of Homeland Security that asked help finding an integrated solution to terrorism rather than dozens of vendors selling their wares independently. Jim ran the PSIC which brought together more than 120 companies to integrate their software around a architecture of inteoperability. When DHS issued a RFP, Jim led the response that resulted in the UICDS software that was the basis for today's leading interoperability software, the XchangeCore Web Service Data Orchestration.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
PEMA accomplished the amazing technological breakthrough shown in the video because of the vision and passion of George Marshall (Marsh) Johnson, PEMA Operations Director. Retiring as the manager of the operations center for the Chief of Naval Operations, Marsh had run the worldwide Navy command center and knew what he wanted. The first time Marsh met Jim he said that he wanted Jim's home phone number. "If I'm up at 2 in the morning in a disaster, I want you up too," Marsh memorably said. Within six months, Jim got a call in the middle of the night from Marsh telling him about the tornadoes and saying, "Get up here. We have a system to create." Marsh guided Jim and the EIS team for the most important formative years of EIS, and the whole emergency information technology business.
The Very Beginning
James W. Morentz, Ph.D.
Executive Director of SABER, a nonprofit, the single location for private sector organizations to deposit their operations disruption and restoration information to be shared with authorized government agencies and other approved organizations. Major corporations using SABER include Target, Sears, Macy's, Walmart, Walgreens, Lowes, Costco and more than a dozen state and federal agencies.
SABER consumes private sector data formats, converts it to national standards, and authenticates public sector recipients that use the data in their own chosen formats and visualizations.
Government agencies receive SABER information by subscribing, not by asking the public sector again and again, and the private sector increases their awareness of government actions.
The Emergency Information System (EIS) in 1993 shows the new EIS InfoBook latest innovation. The goal was to automate planning not in a document but in a completely automated integration of Geospatial Information, Sensors, Models, and Response Data for natural, technological, and terrorist events.
What's Keeping Me Busy Today
THE VERY BEGINNING
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency contracted for implementation of the Emergency Information System following violent tornadoes in 1985. By 1986, EIS had been installed in all 67 counties across the state and was used by several state agencies. John Patten, then-PEMA Director, made this presentation to the media in early 1987 describing all the different capabilities of EIS in Pennsylvania.
A Little More History
Jim has been an innovator in technology applications to crisis management since 1975. He was the principal investigator for the landmark National Governors’ Association (NGA) studies that produced the national strategy known as Comprehensive Emergency Management that was eventually implemented in all 50 states. He was a consultant to the President’s Reorganization Project that created the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1979.
The experience Dr. Morentz gained by studying emergency operations in more than 250 different disasters around the world for the U.S. Department of State and NGA led to his first technology entrepreneurship in 1981. He developed and took to market the first commercial software for incident management (EIS™, the Emergency Information System™) which successively integrated Geographic Information Systems, sensors, satellite communication, packet radio communication, and intelligence analysis tools into the software making it a comprehensive command, control, and communication system. More than 9,000 licenses for the software in six different languages were operating in governments, the military, and industry in more than 30 countries in the early 1990s.
Executive Director of the XchangeCore Web Service Data Orchestration Community. This Open Source interoperability software is brought to you by a collaboration of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the private sector. XchangeCore orchestrates content from many sources, in many formats, both non-geospatial and geospatial. The data goes back-and-forth through XchangeCore in a two-way, standards-based exchange among authorized applications.
With no user interface, XchangeCore is data exchange to create interoperability for incident status, map-based Common Operating Picture, personnel assignments, tasks performed, alerts made, sensor readings, hazard impact model results, resources staged and deployed, and plans for future actions all of which combine to form Shared Situational Awareness.
In addition to leading a succession of entrepreneurial technology companies for more than 25 years, Morentz has six years of large company expereince as Vice President for Homeland Security Technology for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). There he specialized in the application of advanced technologies to improve the planning for and response to all types of natural, technological, and terrorist events. For three years he was Director of SAIC’s Public Safety Integration Center (PSIC), a laboratory, test bed, and demonstration command center that included technologies from more than 120 companies all integrated to engage in scenario-based performance evaluations of products and processes.
Morentz has acted as a consultant for such diverse organizations as the Pennsylvania Governor’s Emergency Center, Johnson & Johnson, Dow Chemical, Netherlands Ministry of the Environment, the Canadian Emergency Measures College EOC, NEC Corporation in Japan, FEMA’s National Emergency Training Center simulation center, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He was the lead developer of several training and exercise courses for FEMA and has taught in ten different government and university programs. He has consulted with major geospatial software companies on emergency management and intelligence, including projects in China, the New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center, the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center, and the Federal Air Marshal Service.
Through multiple contracts, Morentz has provided leadership in the development and promulgation of the Department of Homeland Security’s national information exchange architecture, UICDS. Beginning with architecture design through development, pilot deployment, and now commercialization as XchangeCore Web Service Data Orchestration, Morentz has been instrumental in the growth of this important information exchange technology that links operations centers, field command, and multi-agency coordination centers across federal, state, local, military and private sector organizations.
Dr. Morentz was the recipient of the 1991 Computerworld Smithsonian Award for “visionary use of information technology” and the 1995 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Chip Enterprise Initiative Award. He founded the non-profit SABER which won FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Award for Technology Innovation in 2017. He has published more than 100 articles and reports on a wide range of organizational development, operations management, information technology, emergency management, and intelligence analytics topics. The University of Pennsylvania awarded his Ph.D. in 1976 and he is a graduate of the American University, School of International Service.
A Look at the Origins of Emergency Information Management
Founder and Principal of SpotOnResponse, a mobile app and web applicaiton for "second responders" like transportation, public works, utilities, environment, schools for shelters, volunteers, clinics rather than EMS - all the people who are second on the scene.
Situational awareness is collected from responders and command centers and pushed out to the app so second responders know what is happening around them. The app then turns all the second responders into human sensors - describing in words, video, pictures what it looks like on the scene. Those field observations get pushed back to the command center to better inform the response decision-makers.
Special applications include school security, clinic emergency preparedness, and corporate accountability.
Originating in the Superfund Amendments of 1986 and anticipating the 1990 passage of the Clean Air Act, the EIS software added to its suite of offerings its EIS/Chemical version for HazMat responders and corporations handling large quantities of chemicals as shown in 1989.
The Computerworld Smithsonian Award was the premier recognition of contributions to information technology, jointly presented by Computerworld Magazine and the Smithsonian Institution. Jim Morentz and the team that created the Emergency Information System won the 1991 Award in the category of Energy, Agriculture, and Environment for "innovative use of information technology."
The Award declared Jim a "Hero of the Information Age."