Who We Are

Who We Are

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CIAG is comprised of an international multidisciplinary network of experts, researchers, and practitioners. This network is known as the CIAG ThinkNET.

The CIAG ThinkNet is tasked with understanding, examining, and evaluating critical incidents. The ThinkNet is the engine that powers CIAG.

CIAG and the ThinkNet are led by numerous individuals who dedicate a great deal of their time and energy to insuring its success. The individuals include:

A Message from the Executive Director

How do we identify terrorism’s trajectory or mobilize society to face it? How does one photograph a complex object in motion? Leadership, crisis communication, and societal resilience are just some of the factors that impact our understanding of current critical incidents. In our rapidly changing world, whether one is a photographer or crisis analyst - light, timing and experience are crucial. Experienced photographers are now confronted by dramatically new digital technology. Likewise, even the most seasoned critical incident leaders, managers and responders operate within an information technology driven blizzard of intelligence.

These are not new challenges. Before photography, the French sculptor Houdon sought to capture the images of both Jefferson and Washington. Eighty years later, Matthew Brady photographed Abraham Lincoln as both faced the challenges of perspective, timing and anticipation. Whether image or incident, it first must be captured before it is conveyed.

Light is central, whether one is managing critical incidents or capturing images. Quality and placement of illumination are both crucial. Poor light distorts the quality of the photo, just as inadequate information distorts understanding of the incident. Perspective is equally important. If improperly placed, a single light source is inadequate. Then, no matter the light’s quality, the shutter’s click produces shadow and mystery within the photo. Similarly, a single professional's perspective highlights known, albeit narrow area. Multiple perspectives, similar to multiple light sources, provide the most realistic image and understanding for the viewer.

Our multidisciplinary leaders, managers and responders within the CIAG know that illumination and perspective are critical both in the decision-making process of a critical incident, and also in its later analysis. Illumination and perspective provide focus and clarity, which are essential to understanding.

Timing is important on a number of levels. The best photographers are similar to the best critical incident leaders, managers and responders. They all anticipate the event by being properly placed, responding quickly. If photographers were only interested in capturing still life images of the leopard from the taxidermist’s table, timing would have little consequence. Likewise, our leaders rarely have the luxury of the retrospectroscope, although this instrument is freely used by those who have not stood in the arena.

Threats to our democracy are also ever-mutating. Anticipation is a virtue in a mercurial, violent world. CIAG participants appreciate timing and anticipation as they lead, manage and respond. These are important qualities for professionals today, whether they are responsible for policy, scholarship or sound business practice.

Experience is similar to wisdom. A photographer requires more than just good equipment and instruction. Experience with the vagaries of light and timing over many years must precede the finest work. CIAG participants possess and value experience in the operation and understanding of critical incidents.

Whether providing urgent consultation on a diagnostic dilemma, articulating and developing strategic public preparedness responses such as Community Shielding, or examining critical incidents through a multidisciplinary lens of crisis analysis, the Critical Incident Analysis Group benefits from the intersecting perspectives of government, academe and the private sector. By volunteering their time and counsel, CIAG participants distill current knowledge, providing an opportunity to identify and build productive networks and policies that enhance resilience without diminishing our liberties.

Greg Saathoff M.D.
Executive Director
Critical Incident Analysis Group