The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs unveiled Wisconsin’s new State Emergency Operations Center and Joint Operations Center in a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony held in Madison, Wisconsin, today.
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, joined leadership from Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) and the Wisconsin National Guard for the ceremony.
The 24,500 sq. ft. facility integrates the Wisconsin National Guard’s 24-hour Joint Operations Center (JOC) with Wisconsin’s State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) along with a planned facility for the National Guard’s new cyber protection team into one dedicated workspace.
“When disaster strikes, the number one priority during an emergency is to save lives,” Lt. Governor Kleefisch said. “If the scale of a disaster exceeds the response capabilities of a local community, Wisconsinites can rest assure that state government has state-of-the-art resources to coordinate intergovernmental and interagency response efforts through the new State Emergency Operations Center.”
Construction of the $9.2 million facility began in November 2014. It replaces the previous SEOC and JOC at the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, which was formed out of an improvised space that was too small for current operating requirements, with a layout more conducive to collaboration and communication across partner agencies, and enhanced communications tools.
It also includes the future home to the 21-Soldier contingent of the Wisconsin National Guard’s Cyber Protection Team and the 10-person Defensive Cyber Operations Element – a team dedicated to defensive cyber operations and a resource for cyber assistance, guidance, and support to state, local and tribal governments as well as critical utilities infrastructure organizations in Wisconsin.
The new SEOC will have 73 workstations with space for an additional 52 people in training and meeting rooms, while the National Guard’s JOC will have space for up to 40 personnel including conference and meeting room space.
“This new facility will allow Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin National Guard to serve the people of Wisconsin more effectively during emergencies,” Dunbar said. “Our emergency managers and the Soldiers and Airmen of the Wisconsin National Guard stand ready around the clock to respond when needed, and this facility ensures we can effectively collaborate and coordinate resources across agencies.”
Lt. Gov. Kleefisch also announced during the ceremony that the State of Wisconsin achieved national recognition for emergency management. The state achieved full accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) following a thorough review of the state’s emergency management programs.
EMAP is a voluntary assessment and peer review accreditation process for government programs responsible for emergency management functions. WEM led the state’s efforts in achieving the EMAP accreditation while working jointly for more than a year with its partners including the Wisconsin National Guard, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Department of Administration, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin Department of Justice, and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to ensure the state was in compliance with the 64 national standards.
EMAP evaluates emergency management programs on compliance with requirements in 16 areas including planning, resource management, training and exercises, mitigation, communications and warnings.