Infrastructure Upgrades and the Peace Corps Situation Room

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: August 7, 2004: Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview: Infrastructure Upgrades and the Peace Corps Situation Room

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Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview - Infrastructure Upgrades and the Peace Corps Situation Room

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview - Infrastructure Upgrades and the Peace Corps Situation Room

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview - Infrastructure Upgrades and the Peace Corps Situation Room

Infrastructure Upgrades and the Peace Corps Situation Room

PCOL: Director Vasquez, there have been a number of infrastructure upgrades during your administration including the new web site, the online application tracking process, and improvements in the Volunteer Delivery System. Could you tell us about the new Situation Room that has been constructed at Peace Corps Headquarters and the role that it played in the successful evacuation of Peace Corps Volunteers from Haiti and compare the Haiti evacuation which took place in about two or three days with the evacuation from Ivory Coast in 2002 that took considerably longer.

GV: The Situation Room was established to develop greater efficiencies for Peace Corps and also to ensure that there is a consistent protocol for handling evacuations.

The teams that staff the Situation Room during an evacuation are trained for specific scenarios that may occur. Obviously, we hope for minimal use of the Situation Room because when it is activated, it is done for purposes of responding to an emergency. In the instances that we have used the Situation Room, it has worked very effectively. There are multiple teams that are trained to staff the room, so in the unusual event that you have multiple evacuations going on simultaneously, you don't rely on just one team, you have teams that can operate simultaneously.

In addition, there is cross training so that people know each other's functions. If there needs to be some rotation or substitution, those options are available.

 Infrastructure Upgrades and the Peace Corps Situation Room

The difference, I think, is that during the Haiti evacuation we had technology, we had communication, and we had more efficiencies working for us. Having said that, I have had six evacuations during the time I have been Director of the Peace Corps and every one of those evacuations was successful, without any harm coming to any volunteer. I am proud of our record. It is a real tribute to our staff, the men and women who have spent considerable time training, because they care a great deal about the volunteer. We are all committed to ensuring that volunteers are evacuated safely and securely.

PCOL: Was Haiti the first instance that you used the Situation Room for an evacuation?

GV: That is correct.

PCOL: Did you notice any difference in the efficiency of the evacuation when you used the Situation Room?

GV: When you have consolidated communications and a central point of coordination, absolutely. We had the ability to turn around responses quickly, decisively, and effectively. The technology of the Internet and other means of communications in the Situation Room proved to be very valuable during an evacuation that had the potential to be very high risk.

Read our interview with Director Vasquez in this month's issue of PCOL Magazine:

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
This month we sat down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Then read the questions and answers one by one and leave your comments on the issues raised during the interview including Infrastructure Upgrades and the new Situation Room at Headquarters, Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps, Peace Corps' Long Term Expansion, the Changes to the Five-Year Rule made last year, Safety and Security Issues, the Cooperative Agreement with NPCA, RPCVs in Policy Making Positions at Peace Corps Headquarters, Peace Corps' Departure from Russia in 2002, Director Vasquez's Accomplishments as Director, the Peace Corps Safety and Security Bill before Congress, Continuity at the Agency during Changes in Administration, the Community College Program, and the Director's Message to the Returned Volunteer Community.

Read the questions and answers and leave your comments.

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Story Source: PCOL Exclusive

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Peace Corps Directors - Vasquez; Situation Room; Safety and Security of Volunteers



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