The August 29, 2005 landfall of Hurricane Katrina on the U.S. Gulf Coast revealed a number of local, regional, state and national shortcomings. Destruction of communications infrastructure hindered emergency response during and immediately after the storm and further contributed to a lagging recovery and rebuilding process. While critical of some government agencies' actions, The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned Report compiled by the White House specifically cited the vital role that the U.S. private sector played through their voluntary response. This paper explores the response by some of the U.S. communications technology industry. Detailed are some of the technologies that were deployed and how each was employed to re-establish communication lifelines during the Katrina recovery effort. While simple good luck is attributed to facilitating the positive outcomes described, recommendations are provided that would ensure flexible solutions are in place for future disaster response operations to facilitate timely restoration of communications infrastructure. Though the focus of this paper is on destruction caused by coastal inundation, these solutions are applicable to other natural disasters, accidents, and acts of terrorism.
The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.