June 8, 2006 12:43 PM   Subscribe

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security revealed its newest tool for protecting Hoosiers today: a brand new 53-foot mobile command center. It's the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle!
posted by augustweed (36 comments total)
posted by zeoslap at 12:45 PM on June 8, 2006

"Several large flat screen televisions are among other amenities such as a coffee maker and microwave."
posted by fandango_matt at 12:47 PM on June 8, 2006

The command center’s $835,000 price tag was covered by federal homeland security grants allotted to the [sic] Indiana over the last two years.

Sure am glad my tax dollars are going toward some emergency manager's penis extension.
posted by contessa at 12:50 PM on June 8, 2006

Better keep it locked up.
posted by caddis at 12:53 PM on June 8, 2006

Mad Max style is the best way to govern.
posted by delmoi at 12:54 PM on June 8, 2006

I prefer applesauce with my pork.
posted by AllesKlar at 12:55 PM on June 8, 2006

It's Ark II!
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:59 PM on June 8, 2006

Any photos of it?
posted by mathowie at 1:04 PM on June 8, 2006

“This vehicle, for all intents and purposes, is a mirror image on wheels of our State Emergency Operation Center from a capabilities perspective,” said homeland security Emergency Response Director Phil Roberts.

Great, so you guys have an expensive backup to show off at the Indy 500. I'm fucking impressed.
posted by JJ86 at 1:04 PM on June 8, 2006

I'm assuming that the EM-50 is snark. I don't see anything about the vehicle being at all unusual for it's type in the article. It's essentially a mobile office with good communication facilities and space to bunk the incident commanders. That price is reasonable for a long customized trailer: we just spent about a million (Canadian) on a customized mobile lab.

These sorts of things are critical for good response. You want to know what one of the biggest problems with the Katrina/Rita response was? Housing the responders. Do you want to be told that response was slow in coming because the command and control system was located 100 miles away from the incident? That relief can't get to you today because there's no one on scene? If you think those are bad things, then you need to understand that some expense is necessary to pay for mobile command posts to coordinate response.

And yes, you do need a dedicated trailer. Just try to get an office trailer (like they use at construction sites) delivered in a major emergency. Then try living in it for weeks on end.

Now wether this is pork or not is another question. Does the EPA already have one near by? Does the local fire department have something? There's a strong tendency for the various levels of government to duplicate these sorts of items. But a mobile command post like the one described is absolutely key to timely and efficient response.

On preview: I see that it does. On the other hand, who is lead agency most of the time, Indiana or DHS? Is there need for two?
posted by bonehead at 1:13 PM on June 8, 2006

As an Indiana resident, I can't say how proud I am of my state's effort to keep me safe.

Several large flat screen televisions are among other amenities such as a coffee maker and microwave.

For too long have our counter-terrorism units had to settle for cold food during a sting!!
posted by Raoul.Duke at 1:20 PM on June 8, 2006

So are the googles.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:31 PM on June 8, 2006

My bitch Mitch's new Major Moves Machine!

posted by Fezboy! at 2:01 PM on June 8, 2006

skallas writes "Close to million-dollar RV in the middle-of-fuck-knows-where America. Check."

Is exactly where you need these things. Places where the local sheriff's office isn't equipped to handle the logistics of command and communication in the event of an emegrency. DHS isn't just about the terror, they've taken over FEMA. Personally I'm surprised they got one so cheap having seen what a 53' RV goes for considering the price includes enough computer equipment for a medium small office.

On preview: Ditto bonehead
posted by Mitheral at 2:02 PM on June 8, 2006

One of the things I've learned from Metafilter is there are two simple rules for identifying pork in government spending:

Is the money being spent in your backyard?
Do the majority of people in that location vote for candidates you like?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:14 PM on June 8, 2006

Cool! DHS takes its cues from Stipes!
We've got one heavily armed recreational vehicle man.
I just hope the terrorists haven't seen Die Hard.
Well, what have we here. The police've got themselves an R.V.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:15 PM on June 8, 2006

Grrr, Stripes.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:16 PM on June 8, 2006

Cool! DHS takes its cues from Stipes!

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.
posted by Bugg at 2:27 PM on June 8, 2006

Astute observation KirkJobSluder it seems gratuitious (glorified stabbin' cabin); but alas, it's not my backyard, and it's unworthy of my time to look up the political affiliation of the area. That said, if it were in my backyard, partisan participation plus / minus, it'd still remain a swarthy trichinosis teaming hog. Besides, Daley has other things to worry about, like tourism and fashion design.
posted by AllesKlar at 2:50 PM on June 8, 2006

I'm not sure why this is FPP worthy (I guess it had to be said?) but I think bonehead's comments made the click-through worthwhile. My Mefi-education never ceases.
posted by cmyr at 3:00 PM on June 8, 2006

I'm kinda with Bonehad here. Given that a large part of the Katrina disaster was the collapse of command and control, a mobile situation room makes a lot more sense than a lot of the other things they've spent money on under the banner of security.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:07 PM on June 8, 2006

I believe this is what they used to track down and kill al-Zarqawi this morning, yeah?
posted by luriete at 3:11 PM on June 8, 2006

Don't forget the Indiana governor is Mitch " the war will only cost like maybe $595.00 because they have oil and stuff" Daniels. He deserves a $.8 million gamemobile.
posted by mss at 3:11 PM on June 8, 2006

as a katrina refugee (and no, i don't object to the word at all) AND a former resident of the midwest, i find this depressingly amusing. about 2 years ago when i went north for a family emergency, i traveled between pittsburgh, pa. where my brother was undergoing chemotherapy/stem cell transplant, and canton, oh, where my mother was in a physical rehab facility after falling in the assisted living facility & breaking her hip. on my drives to and fro, i'd take the scenic route through the small towns and countryside. i lost count of the number of times i passed through bumfucked nowhere ohio (i tried to find the name of the town but it's not on any map i checked). i was astounded every time to see in the middle of a grassy field a huge billboard that said:

www.ready.gov 1-800-BE-READY

for the uninitiated, ready.gov is a branch of the dept. of homeland security. i wondered then and am still perplexed as to why this agency thought it necessary to erect a huge fear-mongering sign in the middle of a fallow cornfield. the only explanation i've ever been able to come up with is that fear-mongering is what dhs does best. my own opinion is that these response/protection agencies are run by ignorant arrogant nepotistic idiots who couldn't begin to imagine that they'd ever have to do any actual *work.*

katrina was a wake-up call. when brownie (michael brown) was asking his peeps 'how do i look?' before a news conference, it pretty much summed up my outlook on fema, dhs, and all their offshoots: it's all about appearances. and a million dollar rv looks pretty spiffy. with any luck, indiana won't stop there; they'll train their people how to actually use the damn thing. and pray they'll never have to.
posted by msconduct at 3:23 PM on June 8, 2006

Does a 53' vehicle need a 52' antenna?
posted by kaemaril at 5:39 PM on June 8, 2006

I'm assuming that the EM-50 is snark.

OF COURSE! Nobody here remembers Stripes?

posted by augustweed at 8:31 PM on June 8, 2006

posted by augustweed at 8:34 PM on June 8, 2006

But in a REAL emergency, such as, oh, The Revolution, one RPG can take this "command post" out, as could a molotov or two. Or, more likely given the area, it could be demolished by one of those banes of trailers, a tornado. I.e., like most Homeland Security projects it's unneeded and probably basically useless PORK. Somebody's relatives must've made a bundle off this rolling sow, I tellya.

Indiana should fix its damn roads instead, and spend more time making sure blind retarded senile drunks quit driving -- or at least restrict them to its own side of the river.
posted by davy at 10:54 PM on June 8, 2006

Can you name the truck with four wheel drive,
Smells like a steak, and seats thirty five?
Canyonero! Canyonero!
Well, it goes real slow with the hammer down
It's the country-fried truck endorsed by a clown
Canyonero! Canyonero!
Hey, hey!
Twelve yards long, two lanes wide,
Sixty five tons of American pride!
Canyonero! Canyonero!
Top of the line in utility sports,
Unexplained fires are a matter for the courts!
Canyonero! Canyonero!
She blinds everybody with her super high beams
She's a squirrel-squashin', deer-smackin' drivin' machine
Canyonero! Canyonero! Canyonero!
Whoa, Canyonero! Whoa!

posted by EarBucket at 4:13 AM on June 9, 2006

posted by fungible at 6:20 AM on June 9, 2006

This isn't a SUV EarBucket, it is a 53' trailer. Probably a semi box trailer considering 53' is the legal max length of semi trailers most places.
posted by Mitheral at 7:56 AM on June 9, 2006

And if the roads are damaged, useless.
It's on the wrong side of the state when disaster hits, useless.
Can't refuel? Useless in 40 hours if it doesn't move (a guess.)

Individuals trained to operate each function of the "trailer" are either not available, dead or are poorly trained. Useless.

I hope this is a prototype and is not a part of a further roll out where each state will get one. My guess is each state will then not be able to talk to each other.

Perhaps I am too skeptical... will have to find more details.

Thanks for the heads up on the product though.
posted by fluffycreature at 8:45 AM on June 9, 2006

posted by Busithoth at 11:03 AM on June 9, 2006

This isn't a SUV EarBucket, it is a 53' trailer. Probably a semi box trailer considering 53' is the legal max length of semi trailers most places.

Yeah, I know. It just seemed appropriate, somehow.
posted by EarBucket at 12:14 PM on June 9, 2006

If you consider the growing legions of RVers a nation, then their capital city is surely Elkhart, Indiana.

Elkhart County and the surrounding communities of Goshen, Middlebury, Nappanee, and Wakarusa are home to nearly two dozen facilities that build famous names like Coachmen, Jayco, Skyline, Gulf Stream and Newmar.

An abundance of manufacturers, dealers and services that supply parts and accessories, both new and used are also located here. RV enthusiasts need look no further than Elkhart County for the world's best selection of RV-related goods and services.

But I can see the points above - Most of the police districts in Indiana are of Mayberry grade, and really can't be relied on as a central post for anything.

(PS: The homepage of the RV/MH hall of fame, if you're as addicted to tacky tourist traps as I am.)
posted by Orb2069 at 12:18 PM on June 9, 2006

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