Washington Air Guard analyzes imagery after Hurricane Michael
By Airman 1st Class Mckenzie Airhart, 194th Wing
/ Published October 22, 2018
CAMP MURRAY, Wash. (AFNS) -- Airmen from the Washington Air National Guard’s 194th Intelligence Squadron are growing their skillset and learning new ways of operating as they support Georgia in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The squadron recently took on a new capability: Unclassified Processing Assessment and Dissemination, or UPAD, for domestic operations, or DOMOPS, said Tech. Sgt. Michael Greenlaw, 194th IS UPAD team lead.
The new DOMOPS assignment differs from its usual geospatial targeting mission. The UPAD team is capable of providing analysis, geospatial information, and situational awareness to collaborating organizations after incidents and disasters. The squadron’s UPAD mission allows them to hone necessary skills for domestic operations with the goal of providing information that may help domestic authorities in saving lives, mitigating distress, and reducing property damage.
Greenlaw said the UPAD is currently receiving imagery collection decks from the Civil Air Patrol and other sources to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency distribution points in Georgia as they provide supplies and support to those affected by Hurricane Michael.
The analysts view before and after imagery of an effected area and determine the level of damage, said Greenlaw. After they evaluate the imagery, analysts leave detailed notes about the damage and problems they identify.
Some things analysts locate and assess are downed power lines, areas of flooding, structural damage of important buildings like hospitals and if roads that route to resources and safety are accessible, said Senior Airman Jeffrey Andrews, 194th IS geospatial targeting analyst.
The UPAD Airmen use a coordination tool called DOMOPS Awareness and Assessment Response Tool, said Greenlaw. DAART allows multiple agencies to share information for analysis to plan and accomplish the mission.
Greenlaw said after the projects are complete they are uploaded to DAART so the tasking agencies can determine emergency management measures based on the information gathered by the analysts.
The UPAD room was put together in just two days, said Master Sgt. Daniel Evans, 194th IS Information Systems Flight flight chief. On short notice, the information systems team was able to navigate building infrastructure and commercial internet connectivity hurdles to support the new operation with the help of the 194th Communications Flight.
The 194th IS started UPAD training on Oct. 12, just a day before the unit’s weekend drill.
Their training included help from the Indiana Air National Guard’s 181st Intelligence Wing. The wing’s UPAD Airmen have experience in providing support to DOMOPS.
“They’re some of the experts out there,” said Greenlaw. “They do it a lot more than us, so we were talking to them before they left for the weekend.”
On the drill morning of Oct. 13, the UPAD team was posturing for their first assignment. This included getting members activated and prepared for the hours and potential weeks ahead. The team will be working through the weekends to provide support for the states affected by the hurricane.
“To us, UPAD represents an enduring DOMOPS response capability,” said Maj. Nathan Masunaga, 194th IS interim commander. “It’s a fantastic new asset for the Washington National Guard—one that we’re really excited to be a part of and I know that we’ll continue to support whenever we are called upon in this capacity.”