What is the Canada-U.S. Enhanced Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE)?
The Canada-U.S. Enhanced Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE) is an ongoing program in support of President Obama's and Prime Minister Harper’s Beyond the Border Action Plan. It is a series of experiments that test and evaluate technologies and processes that enable cross-border information sharing. Specific focus areas that CAUSE has explored include: coordination of local, state, provincial and national incident management and alerting systems across border; public safety broadband and deployable LTE; cross border request and acquisition of mutual aid; and using social media to enhance decision making in emergency management. The third CAUSE experiment, known as CAUSE III, took place in fall 2014.
BackgroundThe Beyond the Border Initiative
On February 4, 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced the United States-Canada joint declaration, Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. On December 7, 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper released the Beyond the Border Action Plan, which set out joint priorities and specific initiatives for achieving the Beyond the Border vision. The Action Plan called for the establishment of a Communications Interoperability Working Group (CIWG), a group charged with developing and facilitating multi-jurisdictional and cross-border interoperability by:
- Coordinating national-level emergency communications plans and strategies;
- Identifying future trends and technologies related to communications interoperability;
- Promoting the use of standards in emergency communications;
- Promoting governance models and structures; and
- Sharing best practices and lessons learned.
To that end, and in order to test the hypothesis that sharing data, alerts and warnings between Canada and the U.S.’s systems would not only provide interoperability, but would also augment situational awareness, reduce workload, and facilitate decision making, the CIWG put forth plans to conduct CAUSE.
The CAUSE Resiliency (West Coast) experiment project, conducted on June 21-23, 2011, was designed to engage the operational emergency management communities in British Columbia and bordering states, with the experimental use and integration of some emerging technologies that have recently been developed or are near operational readiness.For more information, see the CAUSE I video.
Conducted March 4-6, 2013, CAUSE II was designed to demonstrate the ability to exchange information between local, state, provincial and national agencies using various systems and software applications, including Canada’s Multi Agency Situational Awareness System (MASAS), and the U.S.’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and Virtual USA (vUSA). Additionally, CAUSE II involved the use of Virtual Maine, and the Mutual Aid Support System and Mission Ready Package Tools (MASS MRP). Experiment participants, which included Canadian and U.S. federal agencies, and provincial and state partner organizations, worked within day-to-day processes and procedures to test and evaluate workflows that support:
- Communication interoperability;
- Enhanced situational awareness;
- Request and acquisition of mutual aid; and
- Resiliency and capacity to respond more effectively.
Building on the lessons learned from CAUSE I and II, CAUSE III sought to address improving interoperable communications (LMR, PSBN, Data, GIS), resource management/sharing protocols, and a cross-border Concept of Operations. Specific focus areas included:
- 700 MHz/PSBN Interoperability Protocols
- Wireless Public Alerting
- Cross Border Mutual Aid best practices
- Sharing Social Media for Emergency Management
- Demonstrate enhanced resilience through improved interoperable shared situational awareness during major events;
- Enhance resilience in a border region by leaving behind working operational interfaces that will improve shared situational awareness;
- Execute CAUSE III as a catalyst to build trust relationships in support of the Beyond the Border Action Plan; and
- Build enhanced cross border trust relationships.
The CAUSE III after action report is coming soon.
Explore the CAUSE III Story Map
Experience the CAUSE III Story Map in Full Screen
Building on the lessons learned from CAUSE I, II, and III, CAUSE IV will take place in 2016. Preparations for CAUSE IV are currently underway. The experiment will be focused in the Blue Waters area of Michigan and Ontario.
- Contribute to the design of CAUSE events by submitting information sharing problem statements, use cases, and suggestions of information sharing tools
- Suggest additional agencies that should be involved
- Volunteer to participate in or host experiment events