The EU crisis management framework is currently highly fragmented.
The civil protection domain is subject to national laws and regulations, and in this respect, Member States highly regulate the set-up of their own civil protection mechanisms. They must also consider the internal organizational procedures, structure of the public services involved, as well as communication channels and measures related to disaster response. From the point of view of interoperability, this notably increases the level of complexity. Particularly, in the case of large-scale crises (when the cooperation and involvement of numerous organizations is necessary) or in the case of cross-border incidents (where international cooperation is required) lack of standardisation may jeopardize the efficiency and effectiveness of the operations and sub-optimize the operational outcome.
On a European level, several standards (including international ones) are already available. And while several work items are also currently in progress, there are still standardisation gaps that need to be addressed related to crisis management from (indicatively) a coordination, cooperation, logistics, and operational support perspective. Two things are clear. First, standardisation items are gradually becoming obsolete. And second, standardisation on a national level across the EU is progressing at different speeds.
This outlines a dynamic and ever-changing set of needs and gaps addressing relevant interoperability-related requirements. Thus, to achieve a high interoperability capacity (both technical and organisational) among stakeholders and enhance the overall efficiency of the emergency response, there is a clear need to fill in these gaps, as identified in (among others) previous research activity.
Developing a More Interoperability Friendly Environment
Given the above, embracing demanding societal challenges is essential for ensuring that the next generation sees an environment that is interoperability cooperative. This will benefit all first responders and policymakers who are active within the Crisis Management domain. The STRATEGY project (following a structured methodology), aims to identify, elaborate and validate (through real demonstrations) standardisation items that address specific operational needs expressed by end users.
The project also works to highlight opportunities identified in previous research activity that speak to the latest industry capacity. All are validated though the preliminary phases of the project. In this respect, the STRATEGY project focuses and divides its activities across eight thematic streams, all of which address different (yet mostly complementary) key aspects of crisis management. These streams are based on the needs identified from previous EU initiatives and the desktop research on the EU priorities. They include:
- Search and Rescue,
- Critical infrastructures protection,
- Response planning,
- Command and Control,
- Early warning and Rapid Damage Assessment,
as well as three horizontal streams:
- Terminology/Symbology, and
- CBRN domain.
More specifically, STRATEGY implements and validates (pre-)standardisation activities which leads to the development of a set of pre-standards. These are exemplified in CEN Workshop Agreements (CWAs), Technical Specification (TS) documents and New Working Item Proposals (NWIP), all spread across the 8 thematical streams listed above. The goal of the project is to address the selected (pre-)standardisation objectives and validate them in a realistic environment that encompasses and re-enacts specific use cases, and throughout the course of the project, eight Table-Top and one Full-Scale eXercises (TTX and FSX) will be undertaken. This wide-spread and multidisciplinary approach brings together industry, research organizations, National Standardisation Bodies/standardisation experts and First Responders in hopes of creating a more holistic and comprehensive environment that will save lives.
 CEN Workshop Agreement https://boss.cen.eu/developingdeliverables/cwa/pages/
 Technical Specifications (TS) https://boss.cen.eu/developingdeliverables/ts/pages/