STAR-TIDES (Sharing To Accelerate Research-Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support) is a research project dedicated to open-source knowledge sharing to encourage community and individual resilience to natural and man-made disasters and promote human security (“freedom from want “and “freedom from fear”). It stems from a research program at the U.S. National Defense University (NDU) called TIDES. The project provides reach-back “knowledge on demand” to decision-makers and those working in the field. It integrates public-private, whole-of-government, and trans-national approaches to achieve unity of action among diverse organizations where there is no unity of control. STAR-TIDES addresses situations within the U.S. or outside, short term and long term, and with or without military involvement. No government organization covers such a range.
TIDES has four strategies that frame everything we do:
- Leverage Global Talent
- Promote Integrated Approaches
- Support Local Societies
- Change Behaviors
- Leverage Global Talent: STAR-TIDES is a global knowledge-sharing network that leverages worldwide talent through some 5,000 members, ranging from universities in Asia to NGOs in Europe, the U.S. military and the Red Cross. The heart of the network is a website, www.star-tides.net, where anyone in the STAR-TIDES community can publish their work for feedback and critique.
- Promote Integrated Approaches: STAR-TIDES infrastructure research seeks integrated approaches among equipment and organizations that support the core needs of populations before, during and after emergencies. It links ten infrastructures: power, shelter, water, integrated combustion and solar cooking, cooling/heating, lighting, sanitation and information & communications technologies (ICT), life support, and logistics.
- Support Local Societies: STAR-TIDES emphasizes the needs of local coalitions of business, government and civil society, with solutions that are suited to their worlds, not ours, and sustainable through the private sector, not government grants. Not all solutions suit all scenarios—building partner nation capacity to stabilize southern archipelagoes after cyclones calls for different answers than supporting mountain earthquake victims in winter.
- Change Behavior: We cannot just put new technology into stressed environments and expect it to work. People, organizations, processes and technology must be addressed together and “sociology always trumps technology.” STAR-TIDES thus works to connect research across the following areas: (1) Gather, Share and Evaluate Information on Capabilities, (2) Develop Social Networks and Build Trust, (3) Link Policy and Doctrine to Field Operating Procedures, (4) Understand Legal and Regulatory Requirements, (5) Gather and Distribute Resources, and (6) Train, Exercise, Educate and Incentivize to change behaviors and move beyond lessons “observed” to lessons “learned.”
STAR-TIDES approaches work best when bottom up projects are facilitated by high-level support and coordination, enabled by global knowledge-sharing. As such, the first step is to establish a national level, public-private coordination mechanism to link local execution efforts to international knowledge and best practices. As the projects develop, the overall STAR-TIDES network coordination team may need to be strengthened to support the increased knowledge sharing activity.