Well, turns out I'm wrong. There are cool command centers. Check out this picture from the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Va (source: Evan Vucci/Associated Press).
The place has a cool look to it, at least from this camera angle. Although my experience was in a regional versus national command center, this one has everything we dreamt about:
- The requisite two levels. If you are in charge, you can survey activity from the second level and run down the stairs in an emergency to get involved in the action ... (we had only one level and it was less dramatic to be called over when something was happening)
- Large LCD map hanging on the walls to monitor activity ... (we had a 19 inch TV set which my Chief Petty Officer used to watch "Real TV")
- Glassed in conference rooms ... (we had the typical corporate conference room)
- Cool architecture ... (we had something that resembled a 70's classroom)
- Three monitor work stations ... (we had two)
- Some kind of flashing red status lights (we didn't have any although once a reporter mistook our flashing red phones for some kind of status light; I didn't correct her)
Seriously speaking, this is great. There is a bit of function following form when it comes to performance. Architecture and design has a huge impact on how one can feel about his/her job and can even improve focus and intensity. Who knows if they solved the age-old command center problem of field communications, but I'd want to work there.