URGENT NEED FOR EMERGENCY TECHNOLOGY MODERNIZATION AT ETS AND HI-EMA
ARCHAIC AND COMPROMISED INFRASTRUCTURE AT ETS AND HI-EMA HIGHLIGHT URGENT NEED FOR EMERGENCY TECHNOLOGY MODERNIZATION
News Release from Hawaii Senate Democratic Caucus, June 9, 2023
The Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) and the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) opened their doors on Friday, June 9, to provide guided tours of the State Data Center and the HI-EMA headquarters to members of the State Senate and members of the media. These site visits provided a unique opportunity for attendees to witness the deteriorating conditions of these facilities, which house critical data operations and emergency response infrastructure for the State. Additionally, the Hawai‘i Community Development Authority (HCDA) gave a presentation explaining why it feels that a First Responder Technology Campus is a necessary investment to ensure Hawai‘i's ability to respond to an emergency.
The site visits featured informative presentations and probing Q&A sessions that underscored the immediate need for infrastructure upgrades. ETS, HI-EMA, and HCDA emphasized the critical role in enhancing the State's emergency response capabilities, streamlining operations, and safeguarding vital data and communication systems.
During the 2023 legislative session, the Senate considered a variety of approaches to address the needs of the State's emergency response and technology workers. One such consideration was Senate Bill 284, which in part would have decommissioned and relocated the Data Center that was toured today. This bill was approved 24-0 by the Senate, passed the House Committee on Labor and Government Operations 5-0, and the House Committee on Higher Education and Technology 9-0, before dying by inaction from the House Committee on Finance.
House Bill 300, aimed at addressing these infrastructure challenges, recently passed the Legislature with a unanimous 25-0 final floor vote in the Senate. Specifically, the bill allocates: $50 million to the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism for infrastructure upgrades for a First Responder Technology Campus; $12 million to the Department of Defense for new headquarters; $5 million to the Department of Law Enforcement for new headquarters; and $5 million to the Department of Accounting and General Services for the relocation of the data center. The bill now awaits Governor Green's consideration and approval.
"The First Responder Technology Campus offers a great opportunity for HI-EMA to quickly achieve its goals for a new State Emergency Operations Center, including a site suitable for a modern facility away from coastal flood zones that we can use to coordinate disaster response across the whole state," said Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Administrator James Barros. "We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to provide the best service possible to the people of Hawai‘i."
“The State of Hawai‘i Executive Branch Departments need a consolidated secure data center that meets all of the requirements of a modern technology facility that better protects state information from data loss and cyber attacks. The aging facilities in the Kalanimōkū building and other state buildings no longer meets those requirements,” said State Chief Information Officer Doug Murdock. “We depend on our computer systems to provide essential services to the people of Hawai‘i and investment is needed to ensure resilience and continuity of services. The First Responders Technology Campus will address each of these needs.”
“The State has a responsibility to its citizens to prepare for disasters, respond to crises, and appropriately spend taxpayers dollars. The current facilities and infrastructure at the State Data Center and HI-EMA State Emergency Operations Center are inadequate for modern threats,” said Hawai‘i Community Development Authority Executive Director Craig Nakamoto. “The cost to build phase A1 of the First Responders Technology Campus is cheaper for the State than the status quo of commercial market rents and temporary repairs to our outdated infrastructure.”
"The safety of our community is under siege every day. Threats from natural disaster, rogue nations, global viruses, or cybersecurity are real," says Sen. Glenn Wakai, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety and Military. "We need an efficient and modern facility to meet these twenty-first century challenges. Failing to invest in our weaknesses makes Hawai‘i a target for disaster."
"The site visits showed the deteriorating conditions of our major communications infrastructure at the State Data Center and the HI-EMA headquarters. The State must address the critical need to upgrade these emergency response capabilities, ensuring seamless operations, and protecting our essential data and communication systems," said Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, Chair of the Committee on Labor and Technology. "The passage of House Bill 300 is of utmost importance to effectively address the pressing requirements to safeguard the immediate and long-term resilience and durability of our state's infrastructure to ensure the safety and well-being of our state."
Photos of today’s site visits are available at the link below. Please credit Senate Communications.
SA: Old emergency management facilities in need of modernization
PBN: Governor weighs state budget with First Responder Technology Campus