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NEWS | Sept. 29, 2022

Army Reserve expands Incident Command System courses

By Sgt. Salvatore Ottaviano 99th Readiness Division

The U.S. Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division is forging ahead with its new National Incident Management System’s Incident Command System courses.

The 99th RD’s mission was to work as the lead agency in developing the Incident Command Training Program for the Army Reserve. After some pilot courses and forming a training system, the first official USAR courses will take place in January 2023.

“The courses help students to get an understanding of the overarching national strategies for response and incident management,” said Maj. Ricardo Roach, who previously served as ICS course manager with the 99th RD’s Homeland Operations/Defense Support of Civil Authorities cell. “We see DoD becoming more involved in natural disasters – our Soldiers have to be more aware of how we respond and manage an incident and the unity of command.”

This expansion of the training program comes after the Army Reserve launched its first-ever ICS courses here last year as part of a pilot program, when it also provided the FEMA training for partner organizations outside of the Army Reserve.

“It’s a groundbreaking program for the Army Reserve,” said Staff Sgt. Lindsay Lê, ICS program manager for the 99th RD. “Next FY (fiscal year), I’ll be traveling to all four RDs to implement the program starting with the 99th RD in January, followed by the 63rd RD in April.”

“Now, (the courses will be conducted) with more administrative authority as part of an enduring program," she added.

The training program works with certifying fire departments, police departments, emergency medical personnel, disaster response teams, and any other outside first-responder organizations.

The FEMA-recognized ICS 300 (Intermediate ICS for expanding incidents) course consists of over 21 contact hours of training on responsibilities, policies, standards, characteristics, components and the relationship of Incident Assessment, Incident Planning and Incident Resource Management of the ICS operations.

The FEMA-recognized ICS 400 (Advanced ICS for complex incidents) course consists of over 15 contact hours in elements, components, requirements and challenges of Event Management, Area Command, Multi-Agency Coordination and Complex Incident Management for senior officials.

“We try to shape students’ minds into the management. It’s a system for everyone to have a common set of standards,” said Roach. “Students are more knowledgeable, more aware; the students have learned a lot and gained a whole new perspective when they walk out of the classes. The method of communication, reporting and the process are all part of the training."

Lê has been working on building the ICS administrative manual during the better part of this year.

“Our RD was selected to do this program as it has a more developed HLO (Homeland Operations) system, and we have three regional emergency managers, a liaison and myself, the ICS program manager” Lê explained. “We’ve dedicated a lot of time to building (the architecture for the program). I created the administrative manual to have their own operational ICS training program so that anyone can grab it and start their program.”

“The end state is that U.S. Army Reserve Command will have a MTT (mobile training team) that can go out into the field and teach the courses,” she added.

“The goal is: One message, one voice, one common objective,” Roach said. “The Soldiers are gaining awareness that these missions are not a combat situation and we are there to support."

The 99th Readiness Division will continue to provide training that supports the National Incident Management System, Incident Command System, and Federal Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with its role providing Defense Support of Civil Authorities in times of natural and man-made disasters.