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NIMS version: March 1, 2004
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NIMS - Preface

On February 28, 2003, the President issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)–5, Management of Domestic Incidents, which directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop and administer a National Incident Management System (NIMS). This system provides a consistent nationwide template to enable Federal, State, local, and tribal governments and private-sector and nongovernmental organizations to work together effectively and efficiently to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity, including acts of catastrophic terrorism. This document establishes the basic elements of the NIMS and provides mechanisms for the further development and refinement of supporting national standards, guidelines, protocols, systems, and technologies.

Building on the foundation provided by existing incident management and emergency response systems used by jurisdictions and functional disciplines at all levels, this document integrates best practices that have proven effective over the years into a comprehensive framework for use by incident management organizations in an all- hazards context (terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other emergencies) nationwide. It also sets in motion the mechanisms necessary to leverage new technologies and adopt new approaches that will enable continuous refinement of the NIMS over time. This document was developed through a collaborative, intergovernmental partnership with significant input from the incident management functional disciplines, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations.

The NIMS represents a core set of doctrine, concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes to enable effective, efficient, and collaborative incident management at all levels. It is not an operational incident management or resource allocation plan. To this end, HSPD-5 requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a National Response Plan (NRP) that integrates Federal government domestic prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery plans into a single, all-disciplines, all- hazards plan. The NRP, using the comprehensive framework provided by the NIMS, will provide the structure and mechanisms for national-level policy and operational direction for Federal support to State, local, and tribal incident managers and for exercising direct Federal authorities and responsibilities as appropriate under the law.

HSPD-5 requires all Federal departments and agencies to adopt the NIMS and to use it in their individual domestic incident management and emergency prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation programs and activities, as well as in support of all actions taken to assist State, local, or tribal entities. The directive also requires Federal departments and agencies to make adoption of the NIMS by State and local organizations a condition for Federal preparedness assistance (through grants, contracts, and other activities) beginning in FY 2005. Jurisdictional compliance with certain aspects of the NIMS will be possible in the short term, such as adopting the basic tenets of the Incident Command System (ICS) identified in this document. Other aspects of the NIMS, however, will require additional development and refinement to enable compliance at a future date (e.g., data and communications systems interoperability). The Secretary of Homeland Security, through the NIMS Integration Center discussed in Chapter VII, will publish separately the standards, guidelines, and compliance protocols for determining whether a Federal, State, local, or tribal entity has adopted the aspects of the NIMS that are in place by October 1, 2004. The Secretary, through the NIMS Integration Center, will also publish, on an ongoing basis, additional standards, guidelines, and compliance protocols for the aspects of the NIMS not yet fully developed.



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