Virginia launches emergency management simulation center

Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) inaugurated a new simulation and modeling center in Southeastern Virginia on Wednesday to support training for homeland security and defense. The center is backed by 17 major IT companies.

The state-of-the-art Emergency Management Training, Analysis & Simulation Center is billed as the first in the country to focus on using IT-based training simulations for command and control managers rather than for individual first responders.

Initially, the new center will be housed at Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center in Suffolk until new facilities are built.

The new center has a 17-member corporate board of directors including: Alion Science and Technology Corp., Anteon Corp., BMH, The Boeing Co., Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Capstone Inc., Cubic Corp., DDL Omni Engineering Corp., Evidence Based Research Inc., General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Lockheed Martin Corp., Loyola Enterprises Inc., MYMIC LLC, Northrop Grumman Corp., Raytheon Co., Science Applications International Corp. and WernerAnderson Inc.

"This new facility will combine world-class expertise and state-of-the-art modeling and simulation for training, analysis and operational support for disaster management and homeland security situations," Warner said in a news release.

IT modeling and simulation accounts for nearly $500 million in the Hampton Roads, Va., region, and is expected to grow to nearly $1 billion over five years, the governor said. The state Legislature and governor last year authorized $1.45 million in funding to spur growth of the region's modeling and simulation activities.

"We are appreciative of the governor's leadership and efforts to recognize the significant modeling and simulation expertise in Hampton Roads and are enthusiastically supporting this," said Robert R. Harper Jr., a Northrop Grumman Mission Systems executive and member of the board.

Each of the 17 companies involved with the center is sharing its individual expertise and experience, he added.

The center is now operating and available to assist clients in needs assessment and design of training exercises. It will be ready to conduct its first training in January.

Clients can design dynamic simulated scenarios at the center, in which trainees must respond in real-time with second- and third-order effects of their decisions.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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