National Incident Management System

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NIMS and National Preparedness

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The National Incident Management System (NIMS) identifies concepts and principles that answer how to manage emergencies from preparedness to recovery regardless of their cause, size, location or complexity.  NIMS provides a consistent, nationwide approach and vocabulary for multiple agencies or jurisdictions to work together to build, sustain and deliver the core capabilities needed to achieve a secure and resilient nation.

Consistent implementation of NIMS provides a solid foundation across jurisdictions and disciplines to ensure effective and integrated preparedness, planning and response. NIMS empowers the components of the National Preparedness System, a requirement of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-8, to guide activities within the public and private sector and describes the planning, organizing, equipping, training and exercising needed to build and sustain the core capabilities in support of the National Preparedness Goal.

The National Preparedness Goal is a secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk. To achieve the Goal, existing preparedness networks and activities, such as NIMS, will be used to improve training and exercise programs, promote innovation and ensure that the administrative, finance and logistics systems are in place to support these capabilities. 

National Integration Center Guidance Delivery and Whole Community Engagement

The National Integration Center (NIC) mission requires the development of preparedness-related doctrine, policy and guidance to reflect the collective expertise and experience of the whole community. Additionally, the NIC has a duty to ensure its products support “on-the-ground” stakeholders that will be responsible for changing outcomes for survivors and their communities. In order to achieve a national scope and perspective it is critical that stakeholders be the source of content for national doctrine and guidance to the extent possible.

To that end, through separate and distinct national engagement and public comment processes, the NIC:

  1. Identifies and validates needs and requirements to deliver the core capabilities across the Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery mission area communities of practice at the local, state, territorial, tribal and federal levels
  2. Works to attain a national perspective in support of the National Preparedness System, to achieve National Preparedness Goal; and
  3. Seeks to engage the nation early and often through a whole community approach that increases ownership and subsequent adoption of national doctrine, policy and guidance.

Comments received from national engagement are adjudicated by the NIC through collaborative engagement with practitioners and subject matter experts.This all-of-nation approach results in whole community informed documents that can be used in the public comment period – a second and more formal “national engagement” that results in additional whole community input.

National engagement and public comment periods provide the opportunity to facilitate the national scope, perspective and operational viability of national doctrine, guidance and policy.

  • For documents currently in National Engagement, visit here.
  • For documents currently in Public Comment, visit here.
  • For documents presently active in their final state, visit here.

National Integration Center (NIC)

The National Integration Center (NIC) has primary responsibility for the maintenance and management of national preparedness doctrine, to include the Goal, NPS, NIMS and the National Planning Frameworks.  The NIC provides a national perspective and strategic direction for the NPS and the NIMS, as well as the routine maintenance and continuous improvement of these systems.  The NIC develops strategies, doctrine, policies, guidance and best practices in collaboration with practitioners and subject matter experts from the whole community, across the five mission areas.

Additionally, the NIC facilitates, develops and issues national standardized resource typing definitions for resources commonly requested during situations necessitating interstate mutual aid. The NIC uses both measurable standards (including accepted industry and discipline standards) and input from stakeholders to ensure that these typed resources accurately reflect operational capabilities. Three key documents that speak to the NIC’s authority to facilitate, coordinate and/or conduct NIMS resource typing are the following:

  • Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006
  • National Incident Management System (December 2008)
  • Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness (March 2011)

The NIC relies on its Strategic Resource Group - practitioners and subject matter expertise from state, tribal and local governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector – to assist with resource typing definitions.  Job title/position qualifications for the credentialing of personnel. Local, state, territory,tribal and federal agencies and departments depend upon these definitions to identify and inventory their equipment, personnel and teams. NIMS resource management guidance is continually adjusted to reflect currency through lessons learned and after actions from incidents and events.

Questions regarding NIMS should be directed to FEMA-NIMS@dhs.gov; also check out our NIMS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Requesting Copies of Independent Study Certificates

To request a copy of an independent study course certificate for NIMS training contact the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) at 301-447-1200 or e-mail: independent.study@fema.dhs.gov. You may also enroll in Independent Study Courses here.

Last Updated: 
06/04/2013 - 08:50