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National Incident Management System: Command and Coordination

ensure tactical activities, incident support mechanisms and communication efforts are coordinated and effective.

Your organization's Incident Command System (ICS) is a key feature of the National Incident Management System (NIMS); however, Command and Coordination (C&C) is not ICS. The C&C component of NIMS provides you with systems, principles and structures for a standard, national framework for incident management.

Incident C&C consists of 4 areas of responsibility:

  • Tactical activities to apply resources on-scene.
  • Incident support, typically conducted at Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), through operational and strategic coordination, resource acquisition and information gathering, and analysis and sharing.
  • Policy guidance and senior-level decision-making.
  • Outreach and communication with the media and public to keep them informed about the incident.

Local authorities handle most incidents using communications systems, dispatch centers and incident personnel within a single jurisdiction. Larger and more complex incidents may begin with a single jurisdiction but rapidly expand to multijurisdictional and/or multidisciplinary efforts requiring outside resources and support.

Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Groups, sometimes called policy groups, typically consist of agency administrators or executives from organizations or their designees. MAC Groups provide policy guidance to incident personnel, support resource prioritization and allocation, and enable decision making among elected and appointed officials and senior executives in other organizations as well as those directly responsible for incident management.

MAC Groups coordinate these 4 areas across the different NIMS functional groups: ICS, EOCs, MAC Groups and Joint Information Systems (JISs). The C&C component describes these MAC structures and explains how various elements operate at different levels of incident management and interface with one another.

Unified doctrine uses common terminology, organizational structures and operational protocols. NIMS enables all those involved in an incident — from the Incident Commander at the scene to national leaders in a major disaster — to harmonize and maximize the effects of their efforts.

You can find more information on C&C at