Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Many people have the impression that emergency management is encompassed in the flashing lights and oscillating sirens of fire engines and other emergency response vehicles. However, if we look at the sector from a higher elevation, we can see that the issues of emergency management cut across many different disciplines and matters. My personal focus is related to how hazard risks affect socially vulnerable populations (lower socio-economic communities, the elderly, those less able to easily communicate, etc.) at a higher rate than more socially stable and affluent populations.
However, there is another aspect to emergency management that goes beyond on-the-ground responders and nerdy policy wonks like me. These practitioners may not even equate themselves with the emergency management discipline at all. They are the engineers and scientists who take the field to a completely new level.
Mitigation of natural and technological hazards is the key to reducing impacts on populations. In the next 30 years, we will see a significant increase in natural disaster events. As someone who understands these threats, I can point out mitigating criteria. However, I can’t design and implement the solutions. For example, widespread fires are a constant threat to the slums of Delhi, India. The materials used to build homes, coupled with the proximity of housing units, promote instances of fire. Engineers are needed to solve this problem, to design a living environment that is more resistant to fire.
A little closer to home, tornadoes are a continuing threat to Americans, particularly in the Midwest. Better computer modeling systems would be able to provide more precise tornado warnings. Additionally, less expensive and better-engineered sheltering options could save lives. In fact, every solution we can dream up while trying to mitigate against future disasters must be designed by someone who understands the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, also known as STEM. However, STEM knowledge is not enough. We need veterans who can translate their skills into solutions for a turbulent environment. Veterans are specifically well trained to understand the increasingly complex problems the world faces globally and those who additionally understand STEM can address those problems.
The United States Department of Labor O-Net site provides 167 different career titles associated with STEM education. Many of these jobs would be beneficial to the emergency management sector. Some of these titles include chemical engineers, civil engineers, climate change analysts, computer scientists, environmental engineers, geoscientists, hydrologists, and water resource specialists, just to name a few. Additionally, a 2013 Brookings report showed that half of STEM jobs "are available to workers without a four-year college degree, and these jobs pay $53,000 on average—a wage 10 percent higher than jobs with similar educational requirements."
For veterans interested in pursing a four-year degree, Student Veterans of America has partnered with some of the heavy hitters in the STEM arena to develop scholarship programs that can help you harness your skills. Currently, SVA has partnerships with Raytheon, Google, and Disney to provide $10,000 scholarships to students pursuing degrees in STEM fields.
If you are an aspiring super nerd and a veteran, your service is needed to reduce the risk of future disasters. You have the real world experience to know when things are broke and how to fix them.
Rick Schumacher served as a PSYOP Team Leader in Northern Iraq (2003-2004). He is a graduate of the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs with a MPA in disaster and emergency management. He is a Tillman Military Scholar and is developing the Community Vanguard Initiative, a veteran-focused organization centered on community engagement in emergency management. Follow him on Twitter.
D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.
"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."
Trump: $6.1 billion in DoD money going to border wall wasn’t for anything that seemed ‘too important to me’
President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."
Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."