Flexibility of the Incident Command System to Respond to Domestic Terrorism   [open pdf - 2MB]

This thesis argues that the current Incident Command System (ICS) is inadequate for activating the National Guard Military Support Detachment - Rapid Assessment Initial Detection (RAID) Teams, which are vital for responding to domestic terrorism. The current ICS does not allow first responders to contact National Guard units directly during a WMD incident. First responders must send a request via their Emergency Operation Center (EOC), through the State Emergency Management Division (EMD), to the state Governor's office for approval. The Governor can then activate the National Guard to respond to the incident. This process is unnecessarily time-consuming. Serious jurisdictional issues and "turf wars" may emerge between first responders and RAID teams, at precisely the time when close coordination is most necessary. RAID teams should be recognized as operational units, and given the ability to initiate their response plan upon receipt of an alert from the local EOC. With the approval of the RAID team's higher headquarters they may then deploy. Appendix A provides a guide to suggested changes in existing regulations. This thesis also proposes changes in education and training that should help alleviate other problems associated with rapid response, including the risk of jurisdictional conflicts and "Good Samaritan" casualties.

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