National Emergency Technology Guard

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The National Emergency Technology Guard (NETGuard) is a corps of volunteers with technology experience that help out after disasters in the United States.[1] NETGuard is part of the Citizen Corps under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).[2] FEMA has designated $320,000 available for the program in fiscal year 2008.[3]

The role of NETGuard teams would be to repair downed communications systems, restore computer operations and create new systems to aid support and recovery efforts. Volunteers would receive training periodically, like members of the National Guard, and would have a clear chain of command to coordinate efforts. In addition, NetGuard would be responsible for maintaining a strategic reserve of equipment—like cellphones, switches, computers and satellite dishes—that could be deployed on short notice. The corps can also maintain a database of volunteers with professional expertise, such as those with knowledge of smallpox or technology professionals with knowledge of computer viruses.[4]


The original idea for Netguard was proposed by Andrew Rasiej, a NYC based tech and social entrepreneur who organized volunteers with tech experience to provide emergency tech support to schools and small businesses in the wake of the Sept 11 attacks. He brought the idea [5] of creating National "tech corps" to Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee (on Science, Technology, and Space) and Virginia Republican Senator George Allen who proposed the initiative in early 2002 as a way to respond to the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.[6] They introduced the idea in the Science and Technology Emergency Mobilization Act, which was later incorporated into the bill that created the Department of Homeland Security. However, NETGuard was not yet created.[7] Finally, June 18, 2008, FEMA announced it was starting the NETGuard program.[8]

NETGuard teams[edit]

Net Guard teams are composed of volunteers with information technology (IT) and communications expertise. Teams are a local asset, managed at the local level, and deployed in response to a request from local or State authorities.[9]

2008 teams[edit]

FEMA announced September 17 that it was granting four districts $80,000 each to start a pilot program: the city of Austin, Texas; the city of Chesapeake, Virginia; Cottonwood Heights, Utah; and Hamilton County, Indiana.[10]


External links[edit]