Feature Story

World Humanitarian Day & how Cisco TacOps aids in crises

by Stephanie Chan

World Humanitarian Day & how Cisco TacOps aids in crises

This Humanitarian Day, learn more about the ways people are giving their service in affected areas every day.

This year, the United Nation's World Humanitarian Day lands on August 19th. This day celebrates the aid workers who put their lives on the line to support the people affected in places of crises.

The UN is launching a new campaign called #NotATarget in conjunction with this day, as a way to raise awareness for the civilians trapped in warzones. The UN will call for world leaders to recognize this global initiative to help protect their civilians in conflict.

At Cisco, we want to recognize the efforts by the company's own Tactical Operations (TacOps) team, a group that heads into crisis-affected areas to help set up secure networks. Often in places of destruction, Internet capabilities and technologies are down, and citizens are unable to connect with their families, friends, and the correct resources. TacOps creates network-based solutions, which can make a huge difference during an emergency.

TacOps is a part of Cisco's Corporate Social Responsibility effort, a company commitment to use technology to positively impact the world. Because of this, all TacOps support and relief aid is free of charge.

In addition to creating these secure networks, TacOps designs emergency kits like mobile command vehicles and portable communication devices. The team also works to create connections and cooperation between private and public organizations.

TacOps launched their Network Emergency Response Vehicles (NERV) in 2007—a truck that operates as a command and communications resource for first responders. This vehicle is outfitted with a fault-tolerant Internet uplink, wired and wireless network infrastructure, voice-over-IP, network-based video surveillance, and more. With unified communications partnered with secure connections, the NERV truck is the ultimate command center on wheels.

TacOps originally started in 2003 as an exclusively military support group, but shifted towards humanitarian efforts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The team's first international deployment was to Haiti in 2010, and since 2003 have aided in over 30 global areas of crises.

The TacOps team was also deployed to aid in the Syrian refugee crisis, carrying out 11 two-week deployments to install Wi-Fi networks in Greece and Slovenia. These networks have connected more than 600,000 unique devices, which allows refugees to connect to friends and family.

We thank our TacOps team for their continuous efforts and every group at Cisco that supports our Corporate Social Responsibility mission. To learn more about TacOps and all of their deployments, click here.


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