EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation – August 25, 2004

The NIMS Integration Center
Implementing the National Incident Management System

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

Avagene Moore, CEM
Moderator, EIIP 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]

Avagene Moore: Welcome to the EIIP Virtual Forum! Amy Sebring, my partner/associate, and I are pleased to see you in our audience today. Today's topic is "The NIMS Integration Center -- Implementing the National Incident Management System."

We are pleased to welcome back Gil Jamieson, Acting Director of the NIC. Mr. Jamieson spoke on the topic of the National Mutual Aid and Resource Management Initiative in March of this year. He has served twenty-five years of his professional career in emergency management and related fields. In his current position, he is responsible for 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.

Gil, we greatly appreciate you being here today to share the latest information about the NIC with the EIIP Virtual Forum audience. We also thank Jon Mark Jenkins and Michelle McQueeney for their assistance in this presentation. Gil, I now turn the floor to you.


Gil Jamieson: Good afternoon everyone, it is a pleasure to be here. Thank you to Avagene and Amy for the opportunity to discuss the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Integration Center, also known as the NIC, and its responsibilities. I look forward to introducing you to the mission of the NIC and how it relates to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the overall mission of the Department of Homeland Security.

Everyday there are emergencies in the United States that require action by emergency responders. Whether those responders come from different parts of the same jurisdiction or from state and Federal agencies, they need to be able to work together effectively. They need to be able communicate with each other, and they need to be able to depend on each other.

As you know, Secretary Ridge released the National Incident Management System (NIMS) on March 1, 2004. The new NIMS is a system to enable effective, efficient incident management at all levels. It does this by establishing a core set of doctrine, concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes. The NIMS was developed through a collaborative, intergovernmental partnership with significant input from the incident management functional disciplines, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations.

• The NIMS establishes standard incident management processes, protocols, and procedures that will allow responders to work together more effectively.

• The NIMS provides all the Nation's first-responders and authorities with the same foundation for incident management, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other emergencies.

• The NIMS utilizes the Incident Command System as a standard incident management organization for the management of all major incidents.

• The principle of unified command is incorporated into NIMS to ensure further coordination for incidents involving multiple jurisdictions or agencies.

Further benefits of the NIMS include standardized organizational structures, processes and procedures; standards for planning, training and exercising; and personnel qualifications standards. Equipment acquisition and certification standards; interoperable communications processes, procedures and systems; and support of technologies such as voice and data communications systems, information systems, and data display systems are also advantages provided by the NIMS.

NIMS Requirements
All Federal departments and agencies are required by HSPD-5 to adopt the NIMS and make the NIMS adoption by state and local organizations a condition for federal preparedness assistance. NIMS compliance requirements will be phased in over time; FY 2005 will be a ramp-up year, FY 2006 will be used to address remaining compliance issues. Full l NIMS compliance will not be required until the beginning of FY 2007.

NIMS Implementation
States are encouraged to implement the NIMS now by:

  • Incorporating NIMS concepts, such as the ICS, into existing training programs and exercises;
  • Using federal preparedness funding to support NIMS implementation at state and local levels (for example, DHS Homeland Security Grant Program, Urban Area Security Initiative);
  • Incorporating NIMS concepts into Emergency Operations Plans;
  • Promoting and establishing intrastate mutual aid agreements and compacts; and
  • Coordinating and providing technical assistance to local entities regarding NIMS.

State and local jurisdictions can begin NIMS implementation by:

  • Formally recognizing and adopting NIMS;
  • Developing a timeframe and strategy for full NIMS implementation;
  • Institutionalizing the use of the Incident Command System (ICS); and
  • Establishing a NIMS capability baseline by determining which NIMS requirements they already have met.

Everyone is urged to familiarize themselves with NIMS concepts and principles and begin activities that will lead to system implementation as soon as possible. State and local governments are encouraged to use their FY 2005 preparedness grants for activities that will help implement NIMS. DHS is developing guidance regarding NIMS implementation.

At the core of the NIMS is the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS training developed by FEMA is available in the states. This training includes:

  • ICS-100, Introduction to ICS
  • ICS-200, Basic ICS
  • ICS-300, Intermediate ICS
  • ICS-400, Advanced ICS

Those who would like to participate are encouraged to contact their state emergency management training office. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy (NFA) also offer ICS Train-the-Trainer classes at their facilities in Emmitsburg, Md. At the local level, agencies may contact their fire departments for information and training on ICS.

There is also NIMS awareness training (IS 700) available online for those interested in getting better acquainted with the NIMS. The online course can be found at http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is700.asp

We recognize there are a variety of other training programs available that provide ICS training; the courses listed here are just a start. The NIMS Integration Center (NIC) will be working to ensure other course offerings are consistent with the NIMS.

The NIMS Integration Center (NIC)
The NIC is a multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary organization, which serves as a mechanism for ongoing coordination to provide strategic direction for and oversight of the NIMS. The NIC is designed to support both routine maintenance and the continuous refinement of the NIMS and its components over the long term. The NIC reports to Secretary Ridge through the Undersecretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R). The NIC is physically located within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington, DC. NIC staff is comprised of detailees from several DHS directorates and staff offices, including FEMA, the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP), and the Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate. Later, the NIC will expand to include interagency detailees and State and local government representatives.

NIC’s Organization and Structure
The NIC’s organization and structure includes an Office of the NIC Director and five (5) functional branches. The branches include: Publications Management Branch, Standards and Resources Branch, Training and Exercises Branch, System Evaluation and Compliance Branch; and Technology/R&D Branch. The NIC will be established in two (2) phases and currently the NIC is in its first phase of development. The Technology/R&D branch and the Publications Management branch have not been stood up yet. Right now, the NIC is focusing its efforts on several activities in support of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the overall mission of the Department of Homeland Security. The phase 1 NIC activities include:

Roles and Responsibilities of Each Branch
I will take this time to provide you with a brief overview of each of the NIC branches and their responsibilities. The NIC will also continue to post up-to-date information on the progress and current activities of its branches on the NIC web page. The NIC web page can be found at http://www.fema.gov/nims.

Standards and Resources Branch
The Standards and Resources Branch is focusing on the development of a national system of guidelines, protocols and standards for the implementation of the NIMS system. The Standards and Resources Branch will promote the compatibility between national-level standards for the NIMS and those developed by other public, private, and/or professional groups.

The Standards and Resources branch will also begin to facilitate the development and publication of national standards, guidelines, and protocols for the qualification and certification of emergency responder and incident management personnel, as appropriate. One of the key responsibilities under this branch includes facilitation of the development and issuance of national standards for the typing of resources. Other important activities within this branch will include: the identification of performance standards, the identification of automated resource management system, and a national credentialing system. Current initiatives within this branch include:

  • Developing a matrix to describe all existing and on-going NIMS related standards efforts and identify areas where additional standards work is needed;

  • Enhancing mutual aid efforts nationwide by typing resources, promoting inter- and intra-state mutual aid agreements, and developing a national automated resource management system; and

  • Developing phased requirements for all jurisdictions to achieve NIMS compliance.

The NIC, through the Standards and Resources Branch, will incorporate and expand upon the work that FEMA, through its National Mutual Aid and Resource Management Initiative, has already accomplished in this area. This effort and the accomplishments of this working group directly support the NIMS and the NIC, particularly in the areas of mutual aid and resource management. A national protocol for typing critical response resources has been developed. An initial 60 resources have been typed and an additional 60 typed resources, including equipment, teams and personnel will be released in September. Further information on FEMA’s National Mutual Aid and Resource Management Initiative is located on the FEMA website at http://www.fema.gov/preparedness/mutual_aid.shtm.

Training and Exercises Branch
The Training and Exercises Branch is facilitating the definition of NIMS training requirements and national-level training standards, and NIMS-related course curricula. It will facilitate the development of national standards, guidelines and protocols for incident management training and exercises, including consideration of existing exercise and training programs at all jurisdictional levels. This branch will develop a national program for NIMS education and awareness, to include specific instruction on the purpose and content of the NIMS document and the NIMS in general. The online NIMS awareness training that I mentioned earlier is the first of many training modules, and is located at http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is700.asp.

The Training and Exercises Branch will consult and take into consideration existing exercise and training programs at all jurisdictional levels in the development of national standards, guidelines, and protocols for incident management training and exercises. The branch will develop criteria for training curricula and classes, develop exercise scenarios and methodologies for incident management, assist with performance validation, assists with remediation, and assist with internal process review.

Current initiatives include:

  • Developing NIMS awareness training;

  • Identifying existing training that supports NIMS and determining what additional training is needed to support NIMS implementation; and

  • Developing criteria for NIMS training curricula and classes in coordination with existing training entities.

System Evaluation and Compliance Branch
The System Evaluation and Compliance Branch will oversee the development of assessment criteria for the various components of the NIMS. It will oversee compliance requirements and compliance timelines for federal, state, local and tribal entities. It also will maintain a repository and clearinghouse for reports and lessons learned from actual incidents, training and exercises.

Current initiatives include:

  • Developing the NIMS Capability Assessment Support Tool (NIMCAST)– a Web-based self-assessment tool for evaluating state and local incident response and management capabilities against NIMS requirements.

Publications Management Branch
The Publications Management Branch will become operational during the second phase of the NIC development. The Branch will be key in the development and publication of materials and standardized templates to support implementation and continuous refinement of the NIMS. The Branch will also review (in coordination with appropriate national professional standards-making, certifying, and accrediting organizations, and with input from Federal, State, local, tribal, private-sector and nongovernmental entities) of the discipline-specific publication management requirements submitted by professional organizations and associations. As the NIC becomes more robust, the Publications Management Branch will provide all necessary material to ensure all Stakeholders are up to date and in accordance with the mandates of NIMS.

Technology/R&D Branch
The Technology/R&D Branch, similar to the Publications Management Branch, will not be operational and fully staffed until phase two of the NIC. Once staffed, the branch will integrate the incident management science and technology needs of the departments, agencies, disciplines, and private-sector and nongovernmental organizations into the national R&D agenda, in coordination with the Under Secretary for Science and Technology of DHS. As part of its efforts, the branch will identify, evaluate and promulgate technologies to be used in NIMS execution and work with Standards and Resources Branch to ensure maximum use of relevant technologies.

As I conclude, I would like to remind you to please continue to visit the NIMS website at www.fema.gov/nims for updates and additional information on guidance and training. The NIC has set up a mailbox at [email protected] so that the incident response community can "Ask the NIC" questions about NIMS implementation. I also encourage you to take the online NIMS awareness training if you haven’t already done so. The online course can be found at http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is700.asp. Once again, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to discuss the importance of the NIMS and the role of the NIMS Integration Center (NIC). I am willing to answer any questions you may have so I will turn the floor back over to our Moderator. Thank you.

Avagene Moore: Thank you very much, Gil. I am sure our audience has questions for you.

[Audience Questions & Answers]


Janice Dennis: Will our regional academy be provided training materials and instructor training so that they can train the local emergency responders in a continuing basis?

Gil Jamieson: Yes, course materials will be available initially through EMI and USFA, and your state training coordinator.


Lloyd Colston: Many of my colleagues are expecting something new. I am seeing the heavy emphasis on the Incident Command System. Will our current ICS training remain valid under NIMS? For example, those who attend ICS TTT this fall will be grandfathered under NIMS?

Gil Jamieson: ICS, as taught by the Department of Homeland Security, will be the standard. It's hard to say at this point whether your particular course is consistent with this, but we will be publishing further guidance to define what it means to teach ICS consistent with DHS courses.


Paul Howard: What is the status of the EMAC with regard to interstate mutual aid under NIMS?

Gil Jamieson: The Department is a major supportive of the EMAC initiative. The EMAC has recently issued guidance on intrastate mutual aid. We will continue to support EMAC in all of our policies and processes.


Warren Jorgenson: Do you know what the timetable is for the Integration Center to publish the protocols? When can we start comparing our curriculum to yours?

Gil Jamieson: We don't have any specific timetables established at this point. If you have course materials from DHS, you can start comparing them now.


Jason Moats: I know you said that the ICS training offered by EMI was accepted as an acceptable solution for the ICS portion of NIMS, but what about NIIMS taught by the USFS and their partners? Will it also be accepted through all levels?

Gil Jamieson: Yes. Much of what is included in the NIMS has been based on work accomplished through work accomplished through USFS, including ICS.


Joe Rupe: How many ESFs are there and are all levels of government expected to have the same as the federal government or can they add as many as they want? Is there a matrix matching ESFs with the ICS categories?

Gil Jamieson: There are 15 ESFs in the current draft NRP. We are working to produce a diagram that will show how resources at the national level can be integrated with the state and local ICS structures.


Mark Salafia: As a State Training facility should we continue to deliver ICS based on the National Fire Academy lesson plan or should we be looking to deliver the FIRESCOPE/National Wildfire Coordinating Group ICS training?

Gil Jamieson: They are the same thing.


Jane Ellis: I'm very concerned about what appears to be the one size fits all approach. Have you given thought to the impact this will all have on smaller governments and agencies?

Gil Jamieson: The hallmark of NIMS and ICS is it's flexibility in application. We certainly would agree with your implementation of these concepts to meet your needs.


Charlie Hanson: What does a local jurisdiction have to do in the short term to be considered "NIMS Compliant"?

Gil Jamieson: Additional guidance will be coming out on this from the Department in the very near future. Certainly the NIMS awareness course and adopting your emergency operations plans to ensure compatibility with NIMS are important actions that you can take.


Janice Dennis: If cities and counties participate in a countywide emergency plan, do we need a resolution for each entity or can we use a joint resolution to cover all jurisdictions within the county?

Gil Jamieson: This gets into unique aspects of state and local governance. I don't feel comfortable providing a specific answer to this question. It's really up to whoever has established the regional emergency operations plans and is responsible for those jurisdictions should be who you consult. It's not a federal issue to decide.


Dave Leonardis: Can we use ODP funding to conduct ICS courses?

Gil Jamieson: The general answer is yes. ODP has a process however to review and approve all training requests and I wouldn't want to pre-dispose their specific decisions.


Tim Stuckey: Is there any model language available that could be utilized by the local entities to assist in the formal adopting of NIMS prior to the October 1, 2004 deadline?

Gil Jamieson: First, there is no Oct. 1, 2004 deadline. The text covers the phased in approach to NIMS compliance. We are currently drafting a sample executive order that could be used for this purpose and hope to have it out shortly.


Michael Anderson: It would be helpful to get an idea on when new DHS ICS material will be out. We are putting a great deal of effort out right now doing ICS classes at all levels here in NJ. Not to be difficult here, but we need to know now who can instruct these courses. Will there be any new standards for who can teach and who cannot? The NIMS 700 course is very vague and tells us very little.

Gil Jamieson: There are several aspects of this question that don't lend themselves to being answered in this forum. But we will have our training and exercise people contact you and get you some answers to these questions.


John J Bennett: I understand the NWCG I100-I400 will be standard curricula for ICS - correct?

Gil Jamieson: The NWCG course material is consistent with the NIMS.


T. Murphy: The US Coast Guard, the National Wildfire Coordinating Group & California's Fire Scope have already developed & utilized many of the ICS tools (e.g., resource typing, automated resource statusing & ordering, etc.), will NIC utilize this material and hopefully not create a different model to confuse ICS users?

Gil Jamieson: Yes, we will place maximum emphasis on using existing materials that conform to the NIMS and not re-invent the wheel.


Jonathan Dunfee: When will the Tech/R&D group be set up? Will some activities from DHS/DARPA be folded in or will it start from scratch?

Gil Jamieson: The Tech/R&D branch will be stood up in early FY 2005. That being said, the Department's Science and Technology Directorate are very engaged in these issues now. We have persons from S&T detailed to the NIC and don't feel as though we'll need to start from scratch.


Tommy Murillo: Will funding opportunities still be available for smaller jurisdictions that have a very limited number of volunteers and equipment, such as a volunteer fire department?

Gil Jamieson: The Department, through the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP), working with the State Administrative Agencies, attempts to reach out to localities of all sizes. There is nothing in the NIMS that would preclude this from continuing.

Thanks everyone for your participation. Look forward to working with you.


Avagene Moore: That's all we have time for today. Sorry we couldn't get to all your questions. For further information and questions, see http://www.fema.gov/nims and [email protected] .

We greatly appreciate your efforts and time on our behalf today, Gil. We wish you great success with the NIMS Integration Center.

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We welcome two new Partners this week:

  • Enterprise Unlimited / Black Wolf Task Force, LLC with John J. Bennett serving as our Point of Contact (POC); and
  • Connecticut Fire Academy http://www.ct.gov/cfpc with Mark P. Salfia as the POC to the EIIP.

Partners are listed on the EIIP Virtual Forum site and we link to our Partners' Web sites. Check them out. If your organization is interested in becoming an EIIP Partner, please see the "Partnership for You" link on our home page.

Thanks to everyone for participating today. We appreciate you, the audience!

Before you go, please help me show our appreciation to Gil Jamieson for a fine job. The EIIP Virtual Forum is adjourned!