ICS is the Incident Command System and it is the accepted management scheme for incident management, including incidents of national significance. These events can range from something that is known and planned out, like an OPSAIL, to something unexpected, like an oil spill. NIMS is the National Incident Management System. The ICS is a major component of NIMS. However, NIMS is a national plan, integrating many concepts and potential responding agencies or organizations. In the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary, we will work with both. Each offers basic course work, designed to introduce you to the basic principles of management and the organizational design that allows the system to work.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers over 50 courses in conjunction with the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) related to ICS. The course work that applies to the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary includes ICS 100, 200, and 700 and 800. These courses are available from FEMA's website: http://training.fema.gov/is/nims.aspx
Who should take the ICS courses depends on what you do to support the US Coast Guard. Those who pledged to perform certain duties in direct support of Coast Guard missions have gone through the extensive Personnel Security process and have received a Direct Operational (DO) designation will need to complete the ICS 100 and 700 series. In addition, if you are a coxswain, pilot, team leader, National Staff member, or elected to a leadership role in the organization, then you will need to take ICS 200, 210, and 800. The reason for the additional requirement is simple. You may well be in a position to work with the Coast Guard to gather resources or be exposed to critical sensitive information and helping to manage these resources. We all joined the Auxiliary to support its missions and to promote boating safety. Some of us made the commitment to provide direct operation support to the Coast Guard while others have assumed a leadership role in the organization. If you provide direct operation support, you participate in:
You will need to complete the ICS 100 and 700 courses. In addition, if you are a coxswain, pilot, team leader or have been elected to a leadership role in the organization, then you will need to take IS 200, 210 and 800. Although this list identifies most of the course participants, it is not intended to be "all inclusive". If the Operational Commander determines that you need to take ICS coursework, then you should make every effort to honor that request.
Coxswains, pilots, and anyone who leads a team will need to take additional ICS courses. In these positions, you are known as a "single unit resource leader." Each of these positions has responsibility for accepting direction and performing a function within the response. They are also responsible for directing members of their team, preparing reports to document their activities and providing summaries at the end of their patrol, mission or assignment. Therefore, they need to know more about how the system works and how they work within the system than other Auxiliary members.
ICS 300 and above are used for specific training categories within the USCG Auxiliary (e.g. Marine Safety). While many of the ICS 300/400 level classes will count towards credit for AUXOP, Auxiliary personnel should not be seeking out these classes solely for AUXOP credit. If our District has a need for ICS 300/400 to support gold-side requested activities, we can justify requesting these classes.
Personnel should keep in mind the Coast Guard has limited resources to teach these particular classes and many of these classes are multi-day classes. Justification will need to be provided for Auxiliary members to request these classes. ICS-300 and ICS-400 classes taught by USCG instructors will be accepted for Auxiliary credit.