March 17, 2006

Sea Change

By now, the importance of the information provided by bloggers before, during, and after a major disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake or a tsunami is well-established.

Here in America, bloggers provided much of the accurate first-hand information during Hurricanes Katrina and after landfall, and to this day they—we—continue to play an important role in informing the public and providing perspective about the successes and failures in coping with the storm's aftermath.

If everything goes as is planned, during up-coming hurricane seasons selected bloggers will have even more front-line access:

After a Beauchamp Tower Corporation emergency meeting with state, federal, and local officials, the decision is made to deploy the ex-USNS San Diego at the earliest possible moment of readiness—whether or not the cargo holds have been filled. Food stores onboard will be at less than half capacity, however water and ice supplies are considered more important, therefore the ship will not wait to load all designated supplies before she gets underway.

The announcement that the ex-USNS San Diego is ready to go to sea is made public. Crew members and volunteers are contacted and told to report immediately to the ship. Bloggers and news crews are screened, checked through security, and allowed to board the ex-USNS San Diego. The Bloggers will report from the ship while underway and document the disaster relief efforts of the ex-San Diego and crew for Hurricane Beryl. [my bold -ed.]

This bit of an on-going narrative description from Beauchamp Tower Corporation's OES Project blog recognizes the importance of bloggers in hurricane response as information providers on par with that of the mainstream media outlets.

Who among us wouldn't like to see someone like hurricane blogger Brendan Loy on board these ships, blogging in real-time as events unfold, or crisp, riveting post-landfall reporting from someone like Michael Yon?

The entire premise of Beauchamp's Operation Enduring Service concept has been based on "thinking outside the box," blending the old-but-serviceable with the cutting edge.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they'd want to apply it to everything they'll touch.

Update: Welcome Instapundit readers. If you feel you're coming in mid-story, you're right. Start here with "Shall..We...Play...A...Game? Part 1," or as I like to call it, "Pimp My 7,000 Ton Ride."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 17, 2006 11:21 AM | TrackBack

I think one of the reasons why they are doing this is to get their story out better.

The Navy did a great job during Katrina but few people know this. After the newspapers were selling the Federal Government not doing anything story.

Posted by: James Stephenson at March 17, 2006 03:09 PM

Now if only the population of New Orleans had a similar option or were located far enough inland so that only rainfall flooding would be a problem. Of course that might require that we actually think about what to do there given its geophysical limits.

Of course in a Republic we leave it up to bureaucrats to figure out, they have done such a wonderful job already... haven't they?

Posted by: ajacksonian at March 17, 2006 03:27 PM

The Navy did a great job during Katrina but few people know this.

Actually, the Coast Guard did a great job, rescuing more than 10,000 people from pretty certain death.

The Navy TRIED to do a good job. The USS Bataan was in the Gulf and steamed in just behind the storm. Unfortunately they sat offshore waiting for orders with hundreds of empty hospital beds and the capacity to make hundreds of thousands of gallons of drinking water.

As with most of the disaster response at all levels of government, there appears to have been a serious breakdown in communications.

I guess the Coast Guard has standing orders or something, or commanders who don't sit around waiting for orders. Or maybe it has something to do with the structure of political/civilian control over DHS assets v. DOD.

Posted by: R. Neal at March 17, 2006 05:00 PM

Yeah, the Coasties really haven't been ever given enough credit for what they did, I saw it when I deployed down there. I guess that is often the case with the USCG, do the work quietly and well, and get ignored.
I have been banging that drum as loud as my puny little blog can. Sigh.

Posted by: Major John at March 17, 2006 05:11 PM

Excellent! Now we'll get a chance to see digital photos of the thousands of dead bodies being cannibalized in near-real time.

I mean, there were thousands dead, right? And lots of cannibals?

Can the last one out of the MSM studio please turn off the lights?

Posted by: K T Cat at March 17, 2006 05:26 PM

R. Neal
The canard that the USS Bataan sat offshore doing nothing has been debunked 12 ways to sunday.
They were doing search and rescue within minutes of the windspeed being low enough to fly helicopters into the maelstrom. Their hospital beds went empty because the people they picked up were, for the most part, in need of nothing more than dry land, which is where they were delivered, on shore. There was no point in bringing all these healthy, formerly stranded individuals onto the ship.

Posted by: j.pickens at March 17, 2006 11:27 PM

The first after Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Coast were the Coast Guard, Marines and Seabees at the Gulfport NCBC. Keesler Air Force provided potable water for the population of Biloxi. The Air and National Guard came in and helped provide security for the police.

The military were and remain vital to our recovery. They provided communication assistance to the police when all, and I mean all communication was down on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The OES ships will be a big help.

Posted by: seawitch at March 18, 2006 08:44 PM

"in a republic we leave it to the bureaucrats to figure out.." Wrong. That's not an inherent characteristic of a "republic." It's a characteristic of this generation in this republic. If we were doing it the way the Founders intended, bureaucrats wouldn't have anything to do with it. Individuals and social organizations and businesses would do it.. waaaay more effectively, the same way disasters were always handled in America until after ther mid twentieth century.
Nitro Nora

Posted by: Nora at March 18, 2006 10:37 PM