CAMP MURRAY, Wash. – The Washington Air National Guard's 194th Intelligence Squadron is helping respond to Hurricane Laura, analyzing unclassified satellite imagery and other open-source information in support of Louisiana.
Using its Unclassified Processing Assessment and Dissemination (UPAD) system, the Camp Murray squadron provides damage assessments to state and local authorities in Louisiana as they deal with the aftermath of the hurricane. The UPAD mission allows members of the 194th IS to support domestic operations outside the unit's federal geospatial targeting mission.
"We're reviewing imagery provided by the Civil Air Patrol to provide insight and understanding to the extent of the damage to areas affected by Hurricane Laura," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Sevigny, a geospatial intelligence analyst for the 194th IS who is serving as a UPAD analyst during the hurricane response.
Sevigny reports to Camp Murray each morning and receives requests for information from the Louisiana National Guard, he said. He assesses damage to public facilities, utilities, neighborhoods and more. "It's difficult to gauge the extent of the damage without the publicly accessible information," said Sevigny.
The 194th IS UPAD is focused on assessing damage to inland communities, said Capt. Russell Waterman, the 194th IS UPAD mission officer in charge.
Waterman said the intelligence squadron got involved with the Hurricane Laura response about a week and a half after the hurricane made landfall, while damage assessments of coastal areas were already underway.
"We came in when Louisiana asked for support for some of their parishes that were more inland to assess the damage to the townships," said Waterman.
The 194th IS provides real-time information to local authorities, all remotely from a work center on Camp Murray, said Waterman. "Everything we do can be done right from our unit," he said.
When the call came in from the state of Louisiana, Sevigny volunteered. A geospatial intelligence analyst for 17 years, Sevigny joined the Washington Air National Guard in 2009. Outside of the Guard, Sevigny is an open-source intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army I Corps, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Sevigny said he brings his military and civilian experience to the UPAD work. "it's combining two of those fields here in UPAD: utilizing unclassified imagery and publicly available resources to develop an understanding of public utilities in affected areas, and using my talents as an imagery analyst to determine the level of damage and the situations and conditions in affected areas," said Sevigny.
The 194th IS first used its UPAD capability to help Georgia following Hurricane Michael in 2018, according to Waterman.
Air National Guard units throughout the country have UPAD capabilities, according to Waterman.