EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation – March 3, 2004

The National Mutual Aid
Resource Management Initiative

Gil H. Jamieson
Director, Program Coordination Division
Preparedness Directorate, Department of Homeland Security

Amy Sebring
Moderator, EIIP Technical Projects Coordinator

The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. A raw, unedited transcript is available from our archives. See our home page at http://www.emforum.org

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: On behalf of Avagene Moore and myself, welcome to the EIIP Virtual Forum! We are pleased to have this opportunity to bring you a session on the topic 'The National Mutual Aid and Resource Management Initiative.’

Now, I have the pleasure of introducing today's speaker Gil Jamieson, Director of the Program Coordination Division in the Department of Homeland Security's Preparedness Directorate.

Mr. Jamieson has served twenty-five years of his professional career in emergency management and related fields and has held national level positions with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) since 1979.

In 1998, at the request of the Associate Director for Mitigation, Mr. Jamieson was assigned to design and establish a Planning Branch within the Directorate. Primary responsibilities included implementing new legislation through the formulation of national planning strategies and policies for use by State and local governments.

His current responsibilities include establishing an organization and directing a team of experts that will coordinate Federal programs to ensure State and local governments are better prepared to handle the consequences of any disaster event, natural or man made. Further biographical information is available on our background page, as well as links to related material you may find useful.

Welcome, Gil. We are privileged to have you with us. I now turn the floor over to you to start us off, please.


Gil Jamieson: Good afternoon everyone, it is a pleasure to be here. Thank you to Avagene and Amy for the opportunity to discuss FEMA's National Mutual Aid and Resource Management Initiative and its role within the Department of Homeland Security.

The goal of the National Mutual Aid and Resource Management Initiative is to enhance the incident response ability of any jurisdiction through the use of mutual aid by establishing a comprehensive, integrated, national mutual aid and resource management system. It is envisioned that this system will enhance the readiness and ability to respond at all levels of government by locating and obtaining the appropriate resources to augment a response to any incident that overwhelms a jurisdiction's immediate capability to mitigate.

Jurisdictions will have the ability to request, receive, and track resources that are commonly exchanged in disasters via mutual aid, quickly and effectively, and obtain information on specific resource capabilities, location, cost, and support requirements. This will be accomplished through the use of a national database of pre-categorized and capability-typed resources available for deployment.

A national system will enhance readiness and the ability to respond to an emergency on all levels. The vision is to assist emergency managers at all levels of government in locating resources to enhance their response to their emergency by providing an efficient mechanism that will allow emergency managers to:

* Know what resources are available;

* Request and track resources;

* Take receipt of resources provided to them.

The Initiative builds on existing strengths between jurisdictions -- local-to-local, local-to-state, state-to-state, and state-to-Federal. The Initiative has four main parts and I will touch on each of them. They include:

* Addressing Resource Management Issues;

* Supporting Mutual Aid;

* Developing an automated resource management system (ARMS); and

* Supporting the National Incident Management System (NIMS).


In the summer of 2002, the White House released the President's National Strategy for Homeland Security, which called for "a comprehensive national system to bring together and coordinate all necessary response assets quickly and effectively."

In February 2003, Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5 was released and called for the "establishment of a single, comprehensive national incident management system to manage domestic incidents." So in response to the National Strategy for Homeland Security and HSPD-5, FEMA has made mutual aid and resource management a top priority.

In February 2003, FEMA brought together an inter-agency, multi-disciplinary National Resource Management Working Group made up of first responders, local, State and Federal officials. The Working Group was tasked with developing guidance to make the vision a reality, including, formalizing resource typing categories and descriptions developing a standard methodology for categorizing and typing selected local, state and federal resources, and conducting a system requirements analysis for an automated resource management system. The Working Group meets regularly every 3 months either face-to-face or via conference call.

The following slide briefly describes these classification elements:

[Slide 1]

The Working Group identified a list of critical response assets for typing, and developed a methodology for typing those resources during its February meeting. Resource typing is the categorization and description of response assets by capacity and/or capability. Resource typing defines resources by category, kind, type, and capability according to minimum standards for ease of ordering and mobilization.

This next slide is the Resource Typing Template, which also lists the resource categories:

[Slide 2]

This is a broad effort that encompasses all hazards and all disciplines. In order to focus on the task of resource typing the Working Group formed eight Discipline Groups: Discipline groups are comprised of Subject Matter Experts (SME) who have a great deal of institutional knowledge about a specific resource. The initial Discipline Groups formed were:

* Animal Health;

* Emergency Management;

* Emergency Medical Services;

* Fire & Hazmat; * Health & Medical;

* Law Enforcement;

* Public Works; and

* Search & Rescue.

Members of the discipline groups represent a large array of local, State, Federal and private entities. The initiative aims to be all-inclusive to ensure that resources are defined accurately and terminology is consistent across the board.

Recently, the discipline groups completed a Glossary of Terms and Definitions that provides 2-3 line definitions of the identified typed resources to ensure that common terminology is being utilized across the nation. The Glossary supplements the resource typing definitions.

Currently the Glossary of Terms and Definitions is on the FEMA website at http://www.fema.gov/preparedness/mutual_aid.shtm. Utilizing common terminology for ease of ordering, inventorying and mobilization will provide for an effective and efficient mutual aid system at all levels.

The working group has completed typing of the initial 60 response resources, which are scheduled for release in the coming weeks. FEMA is due to release an additional sixty typed resources in September 2004. This next slide is an example of a fully typed resource.

[Slide 3]

The Working Group and discipline groups consult with Stakeholders throughout the process. Stakeholders represent local, State and Federal government in addition to several emergency management agencies and organizations. Stakeholders receive updates about the Initiative and have the opportunity to comment and provide feedback on all working group products to include the Glossary of Terms and Definitions and the resource typing definitions.

Last May in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), FEMA administered a pilot inventory of resources with 7 States. The Working Group had developed resource typing definitions for 19 resources by that time. So the resource typing definitions were used to inventory the State resources. States were asked to inventory their deployable resources using the resource typing definitions. The purpose of the inventory was to receive feedback on the inventory process and the resource typing efforts underway.

In addition to resource typing and addressing resource management issues, the Initiative supports existing mutual aid agreements, such as the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). FEMA, last year provided the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) with a $2M grant in support of mutual aid. NEMA hired a full-time EMAC coordinator and development of a model intrastate mutual aid agreement was recently completed. In February of this year, NEMA presented a draft model intrastate mutual aid agreement to its membership at its annual mid-year conference in Washington, D.C. The draft model will be posted on the NEMA website. A model intrastate mutual aid agreement will provide States a vehicle for developing agreements within their own local jurisdictions if such agreements do not already exist.

NEMA is also working very closely with the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) to develop an EMAC Field Operations Training Course, which will be piloted in May and set for completion by September 2004.

The National Mutual Aid and Resource Management Initiative will also identify an automated resource management system that will house the resource typing definitions in addition to a national inventory of response assets. An automated resource management system (ARMS) will provide a snapshot of a real-time inventory of Federal, state, and local response assets that are volunteered through mutual aid, their operational status, and the conditions that need to be met to acquire them.

A process for maintaining credentials will also be established. Credentialing accomplishes a number of goals that improve emergency response. A national identification system for emergency response personnel is necessary to have consistent credentialing for all response disciplines across the nation.

Development of a credentialing system should be accomplished on a discipline-specific basis, tied to existing efforts where possible; however all of these efforts need to be nationally applicable. A national system for credentialing that ties all efforts together is currently being addressed by FEMA's Preparedness Division, and will continue to be an integral component of the National Mutual Aid and Resource Management System.

FEMA has identified the system requirements for ARMS and is currently conducting an analysis of commercial and government developed products that would meet the system requirements. FEMA will then narrow the list of qualified candidates that meet the systems requirements. FEMA will pilot the systems with the sample inventory data collected from the pilot inventory. Piloting of the selected software systems is due for completion in July 2004.

The Initiative is an important component of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). The National Resource Management Working Group and its resource typing efforts are cited in the Annex of the NIMS. The NIMS Annex also provides a sample resource typing template that serves as an example for how other resources will be typed.

As FEMA continues to move forward with this Initiative, it will continue to fully complement the National Incident Management System and its functions. This Initiative will develop and deliver a national mutual aid and resource management system including a process for credentialing that will support the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and allow Federal, State and local governments to order and track response resources efficiently and effectively in times of emergency.

Please continue to visit the FEMA website for updates on the Initiative. Once again, I would like to thank-you for this opportunity to discuss the Initiative and I am willing to answer any questions you may have. I will turn the floor over to our Moderator at this point.

[Audience Questions & Answers]


Ed Kostiuk: I talk with many groups that are non-governmental (Search and Rescue) types. Will they be affected by the credentials system?

Gil Jamieson: Ed, thanks for your question. Yes, they will be affected. But many of the standards that will go into a credentialing requirement are already in place for Urban Search and Rescue teams.


Andre Lee: What is the impact of NIMS on jurisdictions that have implemented the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) for years, i.e., California. What are the funding implications?

Gil Jamieson: That is a question that is not easily answered here. I would say there are many parallels between the two systems. NIMS will not be a wholesale change from those practices including ICS that have been in place and working for some time. The funding question is more difficult and will vary from State to state and community to community.


David Crews: What kind of communications and information architectures (software/hardware) are planned for ARMS? Will they provide for commonality, interoperability and survivability of the data and information? Current issues: The Privacy Act and trust at the Federal, State and Local levels to share info.

Gil Jamieson: David, thank you for your question. We are presently evaluating several systems. Privacy and security considerations are certainly part of what we are looking at in determining which system is ultimately selected as the "ARMS" system. Similarly, open architecture to facilitate easy data transfer and storage will be requirements for the system, primary consideration will be given to COTS and pre-existing government owned systems that have proven to be effective.


Jennifer Vuitel: How will you prioritize requests? Example, there is a regional emergency with many similar requests for resources coming in.

Gil Jamieson: No criterion has been established at this time, however, priority consideration for the significance of the impact of the event and information coming back from on scene incident commanders will be used to determine the order in which multiple requirements will be served.


John Desmarais: There are several national and regional level organizations involved in responding to emergencies of varied levels and types. Will mechanisms be available for those organizations to list their resources directly since they may not be specific to one state?

Gil Jamieson: From my perspective the answer is yes. However, I think where these resources are most appropriately to be recorded are on the State and local level to the extent they are contained in a State and local database then they would get rolled up into the national system.


William Moore: How can jurisdictions best prepare for NMAI when drafting their own mutual aid agreements now? What things should they keep in mind in anticipating NMAI?

Gil Jamieson: NEMA has a model intrastate mutual aid agreement. This agreement will be available on their website shortly. It should answer questions that you may have in this regard.

Comment by Moderator:

Amy Sebring: [The EMAC Web site is on the background page where we understand it will be posted in the near future.]


Ed Kostiuk: Correct with the US&R teams, however I am concerned with the fact many of these smaller (rural) communities would like to "credential" their members but seem to be left out when dealing with the FEMA/DHS. Will they have the ability to "compete" with the larger teams or those that are currently recognized (or certified)? Can provisions be made for these small groups of dedicated men and women to obtain the proper Credentials?

Gil Jamieson: Much still needs to be worked out, but from my perspective the credentials for individuals and teams will be published and the requirements associated with credentials will be available and can serve as a guide for smaller teams to train and meet the requirements. This is not to say that because one of these teams meets the credentialing requirements that the team will become part of the USAR system but the team can be requested to meet State to State mutual aid requirements.


Jack Markey: Is the ARMS going to be considered as a module of DisasterHelp.gov so we can minimize additional systems, logins, etc.? "One-stop" resource management and collaboration.

Gil Jamieson: Really more of a question for the IT types. Certainly we want to minimize the number of competing systems but no decisions have been made at this time.


Loui McCurley: My question is re: confirmation of qualifications. How will the system ensure or confirm the capabilities that classified resources claim they have? For example, are listed qualifications going to be by self-proclamation, or is there going to be some method of verification or certification of actual skills and capability on a field level? How will this be accomplished?

Gil Jamieson: Loui, a great question and one that I don't have a definitive answer for at this time. We have developed a concept paper and are looking to get feedback and ideas on how we can accomplish these things. My personal view is that there are many agencies, accreditation boards at the state and local level that can begin to serve this purpose but I want to emphasize that we are just beginning to think this through and we are looking forward to the input from others in this regard.


Isabel McCurdy: Gil, being Canadian, I am curious why Metric measurement chosen over Imperial and will this Mutual Aid be accessible to Canada?

Gil Jamieson: Isabel, no good answer on metric question. I know that many states have agreements in place with our Canadian partners that facilitate mutual aid.


Mike Harris: Will the National Geographic Area Coordination Centers still be focal points for personnel, resource tracking on major events?

Gil Jamieson: Mike, is what you are referring to part of the MACS system and NIIMS through the National Wildfire Coordinating Group?

Mike Harris: Yes.

Gil Jamieson: The NIMS with one "I" is not meant to supplant these existing systems; in fact, they served as a model for the current NIMS so I don't see any changing roles.


Dave Maser: Who will "manage" (i.e., control) the allocation of scarce resources? (The question is one of state/local/federal control!) In your opinion is this an appropriate role for EMAC?

Gil Jamieson: In my view, 95% of mutual aid requests will be dealt with at the State and local level, facilitated by NEMA and EMAC.


Ray Pena: We are developing our own resource management capabilities. How can we work together to assure interoperability?

Gil Jamieson: We have recently developed and will soon publish the resource typing definitions for 60 response assets, and will complete remaining 60 by the end of the fiscal year. Using these definitions when you inventory your response assets will ensure that we are all operating with common definitions that will facilitate mutual aid and an effective response.


Nelson Mix: Do you envision the NIMS Integration Center using ARMS and coordinating resources under the NRP? With respect to special teams at the federal level, should these resources be captured in ARMS for logistical purposes and, assuming yes, will ARMS be used for determining push and pull assets at the Federal level?

Gil Jamieson: My view of the Integration Center is that it will not have an operational role. The NIC is responsible for the development of these systems in advance of their need during a response. The ARMS would be used by our response organization and certainly integrated with the NRP.


David Crews: Re: Dave Maser's and Ray Pena's questions - will there be a NIMS information component for sharing risk/threat assessments between jurisdictions (at all levels) for resource sourcing, identification and application? (Especially in large metroplexes with multiple political, jurisdictional and administrative boundaries).

Gil Jamieson: This question is out of my lane but I know the department intends to facilitate and provide this sort of information.


Anne Odegaard: Two questions: First, will commercial entities, such as commercial hazmat response organizations that meet specific resource definitions or credentialing requirements, be included in the ARMS database, or will it only include input from qualifying state/local/fed agencies and entities? Second: Will all of the certification fall under the NIMS umbrella, i.e., will DHS oversee all qualifications and certifications within the Mutual Aid Initiative under its future NIMS Integration Center?

Gil Jamieson: Anne, from my perspective I would hope so. Again, the emphasis here is on State and local governments developing these inventories and including them within their databases. Concerning the certification question, as I indicated before, much needs to be worked out here. I think certification should certainly fall under the NIMS umbrella. Whether DHS is the agency that will oversee the qualifications and certifications still needs to be worked out.


Marta Brown: What will it take for the smaller teams that met the requirements to become part of USAR and are all federal, state and local guidelines being standardized in SAR?

Gil Jamieson: Marta, that question is out of my lane.


Mark Eggeman: You state that certifications should be addressed by state and local jurisdictions that would have the responsibility for maintaining the database of resources. Does that also apply to the SAR credentialing process? Wilderness SAR not US&R.

Gil Jamieson: The fundamental point that needs to be made is that we have not worked out the details of how credentialing should be established and maintained. My point to Anne was that there are a number of State and local organizations that are already involved in this and we certainly do not want to reinvent the wheel but ideas that you have in terms of how we can put this together to leverage existing processes and systems are most welcome.


Amy Sebring: That's all we have time for today. Thank you very much Gil for taking time to be with us and staying over. We hope you enjoyed the experience.

Gil Jamieson: Thank you.

Amy Sebring: I would also like to thank Tanya Bathiche for her assistance with putting together our program.

The transcript will be posted late tonight and you will be able to access it from our home page or the background page. We have a great archive of transcripts which you can access by topic from the home page.

Thanks to everyone for participating today. We stand adjourned but before you go, please help me show our appreciation to Gil for a fine job.