DM 1800-001


United States

Department of



Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination






























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Table of Contents


Chapter 1  Introduction.. 6

1     Purpose. 6

2     Cancellations. 6

3     Special Instructions. 7

Chapter 2  Incident Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.. 8

Part 1   National Response Structure.. 8

1     Background. 8

2     Roles and Responsibilities. 8

3     Organizational Structure. 10

Part 2   USDA Response Operations. 15

1     Background. 15

2     Incident Response Process. 15

3     Support of USDA Response. 16

4     Food and Non-Food Resources. 18

Part 3   Incident Management Coordination.. 22

1     Background. 22

2     USDA Adoption of NIMS. 22

3     NIMS Components. 22

4     Incident Command System and Coordination. 23

Chapter 3  Situation Reporting.. 37

Part 1   Information Reported to the Secretary.. 37

1     Background. 37

2     Reporting Requirements. 37

Part 2   Situation Reporting by USDA Agencies and Staff Offices. 42

1     Background. 42

2     Reporting Requirements. 42

Part 3   Daily Situation Summary.. 44

1     Background. 44

2     Reporting Requirements. 44

Chapter 4  National Response Frameworks/Emergency Support Functions. 46

1     Background. 46

2     ESF Notification and Activation. 46

3     ESF Organization Structure. 48

4     USDA ESF Responsibilities. 48

Chapter 5  State and County Emergency Boards. 61

Part 1   State Emergency Boards. 61

1     Background. 61

2     SEB Chairperson. 61

3     SEB Membership. 62

4     Participation in Meetings. 62

5     General Responsibilities. 63

6     Responsibilities Related to an Incident 65

7     Preparation and Planning Responsibilities. 66

8     USDA ESF Responsibilities. 67

Part 2   County Emergency Boards. 80

1     Background. 80

1     CEB Chairperson. 80

3     CEB Membership and Responsibilities. 80

4     Participation in Meetings. 81

5     General Responsibilities. 81

6     Reporting Requirements. 82

Chapter 6  Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources. 88

1     Background. 88

2     Sector Specific Agencies. 89

3     USDA Leadership for SSA Responsibilities. 89

4     FDS Leadership for SSA Responsibilities. 90

5     Security Partners. 91

6     Guiding Frameworks. 92

7     Interdependencies. 93

8     Assessing Risks. 94

9     Reporting Responsibilities. 95

Chapter 7  Incident Response Training.. 96

1     Background. 96

2     USDA NIMS Training Requirements. 96

3     Course Instruction Requirement 99

4     Sources of Training. 103

5     Previous Training. 103

6     Applying for a Course. 103

7     Course Documentation and Administration. 104

8     Testing. 105

9     Training Certificates. 105

10    Qualification Process. 105

Chapter 8  Exercises. 108

1     Background. 108

2     Exercise Types and Tiers. 109

3     Planning for External Exercises. 111

4     Participation in External Exercises. 112

4     Training and Exercise Planning Workshops. 113

6     Scheduling Exercises. 114

7     Conducting Exercises. 114

8     Evaluating Exercises. 115



Appendix A Acronymns. A-1

Appendix B Definitions. B-1






























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Incident Preparedness, Response, and Recovery


December  2011


Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination


















1.                  PURPOSE


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Incident Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Departmental Manual provides guidance on incident preparedness, response, and recovery responsibilities of USDA.  The manual describes the organizational structure, and establishes procedures for the implementation of these responsibilities at the national, regional, State, and county levels.  Further information on authorities and references can be located in the Departmental Regulation, 1800-001, Incident Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.




2.                  CANCELLATIONS


The U.S. Department of Agriculture Emergency Operations Handbook for USDA State and County Emergency Boards, 1993, and USDA State Emergency Memorandum No. 73, September 26, 1984, are superseded by this manual.


Crisis Response Guidelines for USDA Regional Emergency Staffs, July 1979, is superseded by this manual.





3.                  SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS


Agencies and offices within USDA should not rely on this Departmental Manual (DM) as their only source of guidance pertaining to incident preparedness, response, and recovery.  Agencies and offices should develop their own policies and procedures as to how they will manage preparedness, response, and recovery activities and responsibilities.  Any such policies and procedures that are developed should be consistent with the overarching guidance provided in this DM.










In responding to incidents as well as assisting with recovery efforts, USDA works within existing laws, regulations, policies and procedures such as those outlined in this chapter.  Part 1 of this chapter provides an overview of the national response and recovery structure in which USDA operates while Parts 2 and 3 of this chapter provide additional guidance on USDA’s role as well as its management of response and recovery efforts.


Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 5 called for a single, comprehensive system to enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents.  The National Incident Management System (NIMS) provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all levels of government, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to work together during an incident.

Integrating these NIMS principles into all phases of an incident and throughout all levels of government ensures that all stakeholders have a common set of principles from which to operate during an incident.


A basic premise of the National Response Framework (NRF) is that incidents are generally handled at the lowest jurisdictional level possible.






a.        Local Governments


The responsibility for responding to incidents, both natural and manmade, begins at the local level—with individuals and public officials in the county, city, or town affected by the incident.  Local leaders and emergency managers prepare their communities to manage incidents locally. 


When a disaster occurs that exceeds the capacity of the local government, or when local resources are not adequate, the State government supplements and facilitates local efforts.  If the disaster exceeds the capacity of the State Government to assist the local government, the Governor can request a presidential declaration invoking the Stafford Act.


County Executive Boards (CEBs) and USDA employees working in service centers at the local level will interface with local leaders and emergency managers to assist with planning for response activities as well as assisting with response and recovery efforts. 


b.       The Private Sector


Private-sector organizations play a key role before, during, and after an incident.  USDA will work with members of the private sector including, but not limited to, farmers, ranchers, and private land owners; as well as owners and operators of facilities that process meat, poultry and egg products.  Interaction may occur at county/parish level service centers, processing facilities, or at incident response locations.


c.        Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)


NGOs play enormously important roles before, during, and after an incident.  For example, NGOs provide sheltering, emergency food supplies, counseling services, and other vital support services to support response and promote the recovery of incident victims.  These groups often provide specialized services such as establishing animal shelters following an incident. 


USDA agencies should work closely with NGOs to better utilize resources following an incident during response and recovery activities.


d.       States, Territories, and Tribal Governments


A primary role of State government is to supplement and facilitate local efforts before, during, and after incidents.  The State provides direct and routine assistance to its local jurisdictions through emergency management program development and by routinely coordinating in these efforts with Federal officials. 


Under the NRF, the term “State” and discussion of the roles and responsibilities of States typically also include similar responsibilities that apply to U.S. territories and possessions and tribal governments. 


The United States has a trust relationship with Indian tribes and recognizes their right to self-government.  As such, tribal governments are responsible for coordinating resources to address actual or potential incidents.  When local resources are not adequate, tribal leaders seek assistance from States or the Federal Government.  For certain types of Federal assistance, tribal governments work with the State, but as sovereign entities they can elect to deal directly with the Federal Government for other types of assistance.  In order to obtain Federal assistance via the Stafford Act, a State Governor must request a Presidential declaration on behalf of a tribe.


State governments may work with Federal departments and agencies in preparing for incident response by inclusion in exercises or by forming resources such as joint incident management teams (IMTs).  Additionally, the State Emergency Board (SEB) should interface with State governments to ensure coordination of resources for response and recovery efforts.


State departments of agriculture are usually the primary State agency that work with USDA or its agencies or offices to prepare for or respond to incidents.  State departments of agriculture may also work with USDA agencies such as Farm Service Agency (FSA) during the recovery phase following an incident when financial assistance programs may become available.


e.        Federal Government


When an incident occurs that exceeds or is anticipated to exceed local or State resources—or when an incident is managed by Federal departments or agencies acting under their own authorities—the Federal Government typically follows the guidance provided in the NRF and its annexes to involve necessary Federal department and agencies, organize the response, and ensure coordination with other response partners.


f.        USDA


For the majority of incidents, USDA will provide assistance in accordance with the provisions of the NRF, as appropriate.


Some incidents such as the outbreak of a foreign animal disease may not invoke a Presidential declaration for Federal assistance via the Stafford Act.  For these types of incidents, USDA may provide direct Federal-to-Federal assistance to other agencies in accordance with the Financial Management Support Annex of the NRF.  USDA may also directly assist State and local governmental entities without involving other Federal agencies.


The size and complexity of an incident will determine the level of involvement for USDA and its offices and agencies.  For example, some small incidents may be handled completely by a State department of agriculture without USDA assistance being provided.






The NRF provides structures for implementing national-level policy and operational coordination for domestic response.  It can be partially or fully implemented in the context of a threat, in anticipation of or in response to an incident.  Selective implementation allows for a scaled response, delivery of the exact resources needed, and a level of coordination appropriate to each event. 


This section provides an overview of the organizational structure that will be utilized to manage large incidents or to provide coordination and support.


a.       Field-Level Response


Local responders will use the NIMS and the Incident Command System (ICS) to manage response operations.  The field level response may include the following organizational elements:


(1)      Single command:  One Incident Commander with the authority for conducting incident operations and responsibility for the management of all incident operations at the incident site.


(2)      Unified Command:  Unified Command is an ICS application used when more than one agency has incident jurisdiction or when incidents cross political jurisdictions.


(3)      Area Command:  An organization established to oversee the management of multiple incidents that are each being handled by a separate ICS organization or to oversee the management of a very large or evolving incident that has multiple incident management teams engaged.


(4)      Unified Area Command:  A Unified Area Command is established when incidents under an Area Command are multijurisdictional.


USDA agencies may be involved in local response from the single command level up to a unified area command.  For example, an Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) incident management team may be responsible for controlling a small outbreak of plant or animal disease and Forest Service (FS) officials may be part of a unified area command tasked with responsibility of managing multiple wildland fires.


b.      Field-level Coordination


Multiagency coordination centers, as defined in NIMS, provide central locations for operational information sharing and resource coordination in support of on-scene efforts.  USDA personnel assisting with staffing for these various coordination facilities should keep in mind that no command of an incident(s) is handled by these coordination facilities as command is handled at the incident level.  These structures may include:


(1)      Local Emergency Operations Center (EOC).  When an incident requires significant multiagency coordination at the local level, usually the local EOC is activated.  The local EOC coordinates activities with the individual incidents or area command as well as with other local EOCs.  The Chairperson of a County Emergency Board may provide assistance to a local EOC, if requested.


(2)      State Emergency Operations Center (EOC).  At the State EOC, requests from multiple jurisdictions are coordinated and prioritized.  If the State officials cannot fulfill resource requests, they can use intrastate and interstate mutual aid and assistance agreements.  In addition, statewide private-sector and nongovernmental organizations may help fulfill needs.  The State EOC coordinates with other States through agreements and compacts such as the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).  The State EOC may also coordinate with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Federal representation in the EOC.  The majority of State EOCs are organized by Emergency Support Functions (ESFs), so staffing will be handled by the leads for the ESFs for which USDA serves as the coordinator and/or primary agency (ESF4 and ESF11).


(3)      Joint Field Office (JFO).  The JFO is the primary Federal incident management field structure.  The JFO is a temporary Federal facility that provides a central location for the coordination of Federal, State, tribal, and local governments and private-sector businesses and nongovernmental organizations with primary responsibility for response and recovery.  As with State EOCs, USDA may be asked to provide representatives for the JFO in support of the NRF. 


c.       Regional-Level Coordination


At the regional level, Federal interagency resource coordination and multiagency incident support are provided by the Regional Response Coordination Centers (RRCCs).  RRCCs are located in each of the 10 FEMA regions. 


USDA will support the response from the regional level by staffing the appropriate ESF desks within the RRCC.


USDA personnel assisting with staffing for regional-level coordination facilities should keep in mind that these facilities provide coordination functions and do not become involved in the command or control of an incident/incidents.


d.      National-Level Response

The President leads the Nation in responding effectively and ensuring the necessary coordinating structure, leadership, and resources are applied quickly and efficiently to large-scale incidents.  The Homeland Security Council (HSC) and National Security Staff (NSS) advise the President on national strategy and policy during large-scale incidents.  The HSC and NSC ensure coordination for all homeland and national security-related activities among executive departments and agencies and promote effective development and implementation of related policy.  USDA personnel assisting with staffing national-level coordination facilities should keep in mind that these facilities provide coordination functions and do not become involved in the command or control of an incident/incidents.


The following entities assist with coordination of response activities following an incident:


(1)      National Operations Center (NOC).  The NOC is the primary national hub for situational awareness and operations coordination across the Federal Government for incident management.  The NOC provides the Secretary of Homeland Security and other principals with information necessary to make critical national-level incident management decisions.  USDA, through its Operations Center, provides situation reporting to the NOC.


(2)      National Response Coordination Center (NRCC).  The NRCC, a component of the NOC, is FEMA’s primary operations center responsible for national incident response and recovery as well as national resource coordination.

During an incident, the NOC-NRCC operates on a 24/7 basis or as required to:


·          Monitor potential or developing incidents.

·          Support the efforts of regional and field components, including coordinating the preparedness of national-level emergency response teams and resources.

·          Initiate mission assignments or reimbursable agreements to activate other Federal departments and agencies (in coordination with RRCCs).

·          Activate and deploy national-level specialized teams.


USDA will support the response from the national level by staffing the appropriate ESF desks within the NRCC.


(3)      National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC).  The NICC monitors the Nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources on an ongoing basis.  During an incident, the NICC provides a coordinating forum to share information across infrastructure and key resources sectors through appropriate information-sharing entities such as the Information Sharing and Analysis Centers and the Sector Coordinating Councils.


(4)      National Military Command Center (NMCC).  The NMCC is the Nation’s focal point for continuous monitoring and coordination of worldwide military operations.  It directly supports combatant commanders, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, and the President in the command of U.S. Armed Forces in peacetime contingencies and war.  Structured to support the President and Secretary of Defense effectively and efficiently, the Center participates in a wide variety of activities such as Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) activities.


(5)      National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).  The NCTC serves as the primary Federal organization for integrating and analyzing all intelligence pertaining to terrorism and counterterrorism and for conducting strategic operational planning by integrating all instruments of national power.


(6)      Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC).  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) SIOC is the focal point and operational control center for all Federal intelligence, law enforcement, and investigative law enforcement activities related to domestic terrorist incidents or credible threats, including leading attribution investigations.  













USDA agencies provide a wide range of response and recovery capabilities related to incidents.  In preparing and responding to incidents, USDA agencies operate under their established incident response policies and the NRF with support from USDA.


This part provides an overview of the incident response and recovery process but does not include detailed agency/office information.  USDA agencies and offices should ensure that they have current procedures in place to provide guidance on how they will prepare for and respond to incidents.  The information provided in this part provides more detailed guidance and support for the national response structure outlined and discussed in Part 1 of this chapter.






a.       Authorities and Policy


To carry out incident management responsibilities during or following an incident, the Secretary of Agriculture will utilize the provisions of this DM, individual agency/office policies and the NRF and NIMS. 


In accordance with Part 2 of EO 12656, the Secretary of Agriculture has appointed the Director of the USDA Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination (OHSEC) to serve as the USDA Emergency Coordinator, responsible for developing and maintaining a multiyear, national emergency preparedness plan for the Department to include objectives, programs, and budgetary requirements. 


USDA will use present authorities and existing legislation to adjust and operate agricultural programs following incidents and natural disasters. 


b.      Working with Other Federal Departments and Agencies


At the national and regional levels, USDA works with DHS and FEMA officials as well as other applicable Federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). 

FEMA, in accordance with the NRF, coordinates the overall Federal response when a disaster declaration is issued in accordance with the Stafford Act.  In these instances, the SEBs and CEBs would provide assistance and support to the ESF regional coordinators, as needed. 


c.       State and County Emergency Boards


The SEBs and CEBs contribute to incident response by assisting with situation reporting and coordination of resources in all 50 States (covering associated Territories and/or Possessions) along with representation in all U.S. counties, parishes, and similar political subdivisions.


(1)      The SEB and CEB structure will be utilized to assist with the coordination of the response and recovery activities within a particular State with the exception of those being managed by agencies with existing mobilization systems. 


(2)      During or following an incident, SEB and/or CEB members may be requested to assist State and local governments in coordination of a response at the respective level.






To support USDA agencies at all levels when responding to incidents, USDA has established the following roles, responsibilities, and processes.


a.       National Headquarters


(1)      The USDA Operations Center will provide support for preparation and response operations prior to, during and following an incident until the situation is determined to be under control.


(2)      USDA agencies will provide information on their activities to the USDA Operations Center and a status report will be prepared for the Secretary of Agriculture and senior staff to keep them apprised of all USDA response activities.


(3)      It is essential during and following incidents that adequate communications be established and maintained both within USDA and with departments, agencies and entities outside of USDA.  The USDA Office of Communications has the responsibility for managing the overall public communication process for USDA, except for wildland fires which are the responsibility of the Forest Service (FS).


(a)    Specific responsibilities of the USDA Office of Communications include:


1           Providing leadership, expertise, counsel and coordination for developing communications strategies which are vital to the overall formulation, awareness, and acceptance of USDA programs and policies and serves as the principal USDA contact point for the dissemination of consistent, timely information.

2           Providing communications policy direction, review, and coordination of all public information programs;

3           Maintaining the flow of information, and providing a liaison between USDA and the mass communication media, State and local governments, stakeholders, and the public;

4           Operating and managing the USDA Joint Information Center (JIC) and in the event of an incident that requires a coordinated Federal response.  USDA JIC responsibilities would include:


a            Serving as the Department’s representative to the DHS in the implementation of the NRF, ESF15, External Affairs

b           Serving as the Department’s representative to DHS in providing the support specified in the NRF Public Affairs Support Annex, and

c            Serving as the Department’s representative to the DHS for the communications responsibilities specified in the NRF Food and Agriculture Incident Annex and/or participation in the National JIC during emergencies, if activated.


(b)   It is the responsibility of other agencies within USDA to assist with communications during incidents by:


1        Providing personnel support to the Director, Office of Communications, in the management and operation of the USDA Joint Information Center during and after incidents, as required.

2        Providing copies of all emergency related agency-specific communications plans and points of contact to the Director, Office of Communications.


b.      SEBs


(1)      Upon notification of an incident, the SEB Chairperson will contact the SEB membership and the CEB Chairpersons directly impacted by the incident and apprise them of the situation. 

(2)      The SEB Chairperson should be able to coordinate with the ESF4 and ESF11 representatives in the State EOC and/or JFO, if activated. 

(3)      Each SEB member agency will provide a situation report to the Chairperson, who in turn, will prepare a report using SEB and CEB inputs, and send the report to the FSA National Office. 

(4)      If SEB members cannot contact their Chairperson, they will send their reports directly to the FSA National Office.  If the FSA National Office is unavailable, then the USDA Operations Center should be contacted.

(5)      If no communications are available, continue to collect information until communications are reestablished.


c.       CEBs


(1)      Upon notification of an incident, the CEB Chairperson will contact the membership and apprise them of the situation.  Reports should be prepared and forwarded immediately to the SEB Chairperson.

(2)      When the CEB is activated, the CEB Chairperson will provide support to the local or county EOC, if requested, by designating a liaison to coordinate with other public officials in the EOC.

(3)      The CEB Chairperson will respond to the SEB requirements.

(4)      If the CEB members cannot contact their Chairperson, they will send their reports directly to the appropriate SEB Chairperson or directly to the FSA National Office Center if it is not possible to contact the SEB Chairperson.  If the FSA National Office is unavailable, then the USDA Operations Center should be contacted.

(5)      If no communication is available, CEB members shall continue to collect information until communication has been reestablished.






a.       Food, Feed, Seeds and Fertilizer Facility Listings


FSA’s Food, Feed, and Seed Facility Listings and Fertilizer Facility Listings are an inventory of critical food processing, storage, and distribution facilities along with mills, grain storage facilities, seed processors, fertilizer manufacturers, and agricultural production resources facilities that would be essential to the United States during or following an incident.  The listings may also be used for assessing post-attack operating capabilities of facilities.  Facility data has been entered on the listing by Group, Standard Industrial Classification, Alphabetical Category, Construction Codes, and Capacity.  The listings are reviewed and updated annually by State and county FSA offices.  New facilities are added to the FSA Facility Listings by county FSA offices as they occur.



(1)      These listings enable personnel to assess the vulnerability of these industries during or following an incident.


(2)      The facility listings are updated annually and provided to FEMA for the National Emergency Critical Resource Database. 


(3)      USDA also participates in the FEMA Key Assets List Program.


b.       Emergency Water


USDA is responsible for developing plans and programs, in coordination with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), for use of water for USDA Rural Development (RD) financed rural water systems, agricultural production and food processing during or following an incident.  FSA, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and FS have been designated as the responsible USDA agencies.  Decisions to operate the emergency water plans will be made at the national level by USACE.  Established priorities for emergency water include:


·         Rural water systems for human consumption;

·         Drinking water for livestock and poultry;

·         Water for food processing;

·         Water for irrigation, in accordance with food priorities; and

·         Water for fire control:  urban and rural/forest.


c.       Agriculture Priorities and Allocations System


The Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 authorizes the President to (1) establish priorities under contracts which the President deems necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense and (2) to allocate materials, services, and facilities in such manner, upon such conditions, and to such extent as he shall deem necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense.  “National defense” includes “emergency preparedness” activities under the Stafford Act (which include both preparedness and response) and “critical infrastructure protection and restoration,” which is defined as “any systems and assets, whether physical or cyber-based, so vital to the United States that the degradation or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on national security, including, but not limited to, national economic security and national public health or safety.” The Act is triggered by a determination by the President or other designated entity that action is necessary to promote national defense.  Under the DPA and EO 12919, USDA has jurisdiction for food, food resource facilities, distribution of farm equipment, and commercial fertilizer.


The Agriculture Priorities and Allocation System (APAS), implements the authorities established in the DPA by establishing a procedure for the prioritization of contracts over other respective contracts to ensure timely delivery of an item that has been deemed necessary only in times of emergency or to promote the U.S. national defense.  Within USDA, authority to administer APAS is delegated to the FSA.  FSA Administrator will coordinate APAS implementation and administration through the Director, USDA Office of Homeland Security.  Before APAS was implemented, USDA entered into various MOU’s with Department of Commerce (DOC) and DHS that authorize them to place priority ratings on contracts for items under the jurisdiction of USDA.  Even with the implementation of APAS, USDA will continue to collaborate with DOC, Department of Defense (DOD), and DHS through MOU’s to ensure these Departments can meet their emergency response requirements.  USDA published the proposed rule for APAS implementation in May 2011. 


Governments and/or private industry can request from USDA that a priority rating authorization be granted on a contract for items that will provide them the means to meet the requirements of maintaining or restoring national defense operations.  Priority contracts require a vendor/supplier to fill the order before all other unrated orders.  In addition, it provides the vendor/supplier with legal protection from other customers without rated orders with respect to timeliness of filling their other unrated orders.


The Secretary of Homeland Security has pre-approved two categories of programs that enable USDA to issue priority contracts without first receiving concurrence from DHS.  They are:


(1)      Programs involving food and food resources processing and storage in support of emergency preparedness activities conducted pursuant to Title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act,


(2)      Programs to protect or restore the agriculture and food system from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.


The Secretary of Defense has pre-approved one program that enables USDA to issue priority contracts without first receiving concurrence from DOD.  This pre-approved program concerns the placement of priorities for Food Resources (combat rations) for the DOD.


The broad authority granted under the DPA over civilian contracting is limited when it comes to establishing controls over general distribution of materials  (allocations) in the civilian marketplace, i.e., government-imposed rationing.  Allocation authority would be used only when there is insufficient supply of a material, service, or facility to satisfy national defense supply requirements through the use of priorities authority or when the use of the priorities authority would cause a severe and prolong disruption in the supply of materials, services or facilities available to support normal U.S. economic activities.  The Secretary is authorized under Executive Order 12919 to make this finding for allocations for the resources for which he has delegated authority and it must be submitted to the President for approval through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.  


DOC has extensive experience using its priorities authority but has not used its allocation authority in more than 50 years.  APAS is expected to primarily be used for prioritizing contracts and to a much lesser extent for making allocations.


d.      Commodity Credit Corporation


The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is a U.S. Government corporation that funds programs administered by FSA, for the purpose of stabi1izing, supporting, and protecting farm income and prices and to assist in maintaining adequate supplies of agricultural commodities.  During or following an incident, CCC assets may be used to:


·         Manage commodity inventories to assure that the commodities are available.

·         Guarantee or make emergency loans to firms to continue processing, storage, and wholesale distribution of food and the distribution and use of feed and seed.

·         Guarantee or make emergency loans to continue the mixing and distribution of fertilizer, the distribution of farm equipment, and other agricultural supplies.

·         Guarantee payment to firms authorized by USDA to provide a commodity under USDA jurisdiction, or a related service.


e.       Record Keeping


FSA State and county offices are directed to place critical agricultural records in the appropriate SEB or CEB record file in their respective offices.  Copies of FSA’s Food, Feed, and Seed Facility Listings and Fertilizer Facility Listings along with Geographic Information System (GIS) based maps of their locations are provided to each FSA State office annually by the National FSA Office to be included in the SEB record files.  The SEB Chairpersons will act as custodian for the record files in the FSA State and county offices and ensure that this information is provided to the appropriate EOC, if requested.  This information will also be provided to the USDA Operations Center, as required.


Each USDA agency that is a primary member of the SEB is responsible for providing the SEB Chairperson with a copy of their incident preparedness and response procedures along with any records providing information on that agency’s available incident response resources that could be provided in the event of an incident.  Special attention should be paid to providing copies of any sensitive or classified records or data that might be viewed by unauthorized persons.












HSPD-5 signed by the President on February 28, 2003, directed the development and administration of NIMS.  NIMS provides a consistent nationwide approach for Federal, State, tribal and local governments to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, respond to, and recover from incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity.






It is essential that USDA agencies and their personnel be prepared to respond to incidents of any size.  By utilizing the principles of NIMS, USDA can provide a more coordinated and well-organized response.






NIMS contains the following major components that work together as a system to provide the national framework for preparing for, preventing, responding to, and recovering from incidents and natural disasters, regardless of cause, size, or complexity: 


a.       Preparedness.  Effective incident management and incident response activities begin with a host of preparedness activities conducted on an ongoing basis, in advance of any potential incident.  Preparedness involves an integrated combination of planning, procedures and protocols, training and exercises, personnel qualification and certification, and equipment certification.


b.      Communications and Information Management.  Emergency management and incident response activities rely on communications and information systems that provide a common operating picture to all command and coordination sites.  NIMS describes the requirements necessary for a standardized framework for communications and emphasizes the need for a common operating picture.  NIMS is based on the concepts of interoperability, reliability, scalability, portability, and the resiliency and redundancy of communications and information systems.


c.       Resource Management.  Resources (such as personnel, equipment, and/or supplies) are needed to support critical incident objectives.  The flow of resources must be fluid and adaptable to the requirements of the incident.  NIMS defines standardized mechanisms and establishes the resource management process to identify requirements for, order and acquire, mobilize, track and report, recover and demobilize, reimburse for, and inventory resources.


d.      Command and Management.  The Command and Management component within NIMS is designed to enable effective and efficient incident management and coordination by providing flexible, standardized incident management structures.  The structure is based on three key organizational constructs:  Incident Command System, Multiagency Coordination System, Public Information.


(1)   Incident Command System (ICS).  ICS is a standardized on-scene emergency management construct specifically designed to provide for the adoption of an integrated organizational structure that reflects the complexity and demands of single or multiple incidents, without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries.  ICS is the combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure, designed to aid in the management of resources during incidents. 


(2)   Multiagency Coordination (MAC) Systems.  MAC systems provide the architecture to support coordination for incident prioritization, critical resource allocation, communications systems integration, and information coordination.  The elements of multiagency coordination systems include facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications.  Two of the most commonly used elements are EOCs and MAC Groups.  These systems assist agencies and organizations responding to an incident.


(3)   Public Information.  Public information encompasses the processes, procedures, and systems for communicating timely, accurate, accessible information on the incident’s cause, size, and current situation; resources committed; and other matters of general interest to the public, responders, and additional stakeholders (both directly affected and indirectly affected).


Additional information about NIMS can be accessed at the following Web sites:


·         FEMA National Integration Center at

·         NRF Resource Center at






In preparing for and responding to incidents, USDA agencies and offices shall incorporate the NIMS principles and processes into their incident management procedures and plans.  All incidents shall be managed utilizing ICS as outlined in NIMS.  Agencies and offices may also utilize ICS to manage large events.




In an ICS organization, there is no correlation with the administrative structure of any other agency or jurisdiction.  This organization’s uniqueness helps to avoid confusion over different position titles and organizational structures.  Someone who serves as a supervisor every day may not hold that title when deployed under an ICS structure and may be subordinate to someone they supervise on a day-to-day basis.  The GS level of a particular employee is not factored into what position they may hold within an ICS structure established for an incident or event.


The Incident Commander (IC) performs all major ICS Command and General Staff responsibilities unless these functions are delegated and assigned.  As illustrated in Figure 2.1, an ICS organization generally includes:


·Command Staff:  Public Information Officer, Liaison Officer, Safety Officer

·General Staff:  Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief, Logistics Section Chief, Finance/Administration Section Chief














Text Box: Figure 2.1 – ICS Organization




Table 2.1 provides an overview of the primary functions of the primary ICS positions.



Table 2.1 – Primary Functions of Major ICS Positions

Major ICS Positions

Primary Functions

Incident Commander or Unified Command

·         Have clear authority and understand agency policy.

·         Ensure incident safety.

·         Establish Incident Command Post (ICP).

·         Set priorities, and determine incident objectives and strategies to be followed.

·         Establish ICS organization needed to manage the incident.

·         Approve Incident Action Plan (IAP).

·         Coordinate Command and General Staff activities.

·         Approve resource requests and use of volunteers and auxiliary personnel.

·         Order demobilization as needed.

·         Ensure after-action reports are completed.

Public Information Officer

·         Determine, according to direction from the IC, any limits on information release.

·         Maintain contact with USDA EOC and provide updated information as appropriate.

·         Develop information for use in press/media briefings.

·         Obtain IC’s approval of news releases.

·         Conduct periodic media briefings.

·         Arrange for tours and other interviews or briefings as required.

·         Monitor and forward media information that may be useful to incident planning.

·         Maintain current information summaries and/or displays on the incident.

·         Make information about the incident available to incident personnel.

·         Participate in Planning Meetings.

Liaison Officer

·        Assemble agency information for use in answering requests for information and resolving problems.

·        Provide assisting and cooperating agency input as necessary.

·        Keep cooperating and assisting agencies informed of planning actions.

·        Provide assisting and cooperating agencies’ input into the demobilization process and supply demobilization information at least one operational period prior to demobilization.

Safety Officer

·         Identify and mitigate hazardous situations.

·         Ensure safety messages are communicated and briefings take place.

·         Exercise emergency authority to stop and prevent unsafe acts.

·         Review the IAP for safety implications.

·         Assign assistants qualified to evaluate special hazards.

·         Initiate preliminary investigation of accidents within the incident area.

·         Review and approve the Medical Plan.

·         Participate in Planning Meetings.



Table 2.1 – Primary Functions of Other ICS Positions

Other ICS Positions

Primary Functions



The IC may have one or more Deputies.  An individual assuming a Deputy role must be equally capable of assuming the primary role.  Therefore, a Deputy IC must be able to assume the IC’s role.  Following are three reasons to designate Deputies:

·         To perform specific tasks as requested by the IC.

·         To perform the Incident Command function in a relief capacity (e.g., to take over the next operational period).

·         To represent an assisting agency that may share jurisdiction or have jurisdiction in the future.

The Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief, Logistics Section Chief, Finance/Administration Section Chief, and Branch Directors may also have one or more Deputies. 


The Public Information Officer (PIO), Safety Officer (SO), and Liaison Officer (LNO) may have Assistants, as necessary.  The Assistants may represent assisting agencies or jurisdictions, or simply assist in managing the workload associated with the position.

·         Assistant PIOs may be assigned to the field or Joint Information Center or assigned to handle internal information. 

·         Assistant SOs may have specific responsibilities, such as aviation, hazardous materials, etc. 

·         Assistant LNOs may coordinate with specific Agency Representatives or groups of representatives.

The Assistant title indicates a level of technical capability, qualification, and responsibility subordinate to the primary positions.

Technical Specialists

Certain incidents or events may require the use of Technical Specialists who have specialized knowledge and expertise.  Technical Specialists may function within the Planning Section, or be assigned wherever their services are required. 

While each incident dictates the need for Technical Specialists, some examples of the more commonly used specialists are:

·         Meteorologists.

·         Environmental Specialists.

·         Flood Control Specialists.

·         Fuels and Flammable Vegetation Specialists.

·         Hazardous Substance Specialists.

·         Animal Disease Specialists.

·         Continuity Specialists.

For qualification purposes, a Technical Specialist does not have to complete Position Task Books.


Table 2.1 – Primary Functions of Other ICS Positions (Continued)

Other ICS Positions

Primary Functions

Agency Representatives

An Agency Representative is an individual assigned to an incident from an assisting or cooperating agency.  The Agency Representative must be given authority to make decisions on matters affecting that agency’s participation at the incident. 

Agency Representatives report to the Liaison Officer or to the IC in the absence of a Liaison Officer.

Major responsibilities of the Agency Representative are to:

·         Ensure that all of their agency resources have completed check-in at the incident.

·         Obtain briefing from the LNO or the IC.

·         Inform their agency personnel on the incident that the Agency Representative position has been filled.

·         Attend Planning Meetings as required.

·         Provide input to the planning process on the use of agency resources unless resource Technical Specialists are assigned from the agency.

·         Cooperate fully with the IC and the Command and General Staffs on the agency’s involvement at the incident.

·         Oversee the well-being and safety of agency personnel assigned to the incident.

·         Advise the LNO of any special agency needs, requirements, or agency restrictions.

·         Report to agency dispatch or headquarters on a prearranged schedule.

·         Ensure that all agency personnel and equipment are properly accounted for and released prior to departure.

·         Ensure that all required agency forms, reports, and documents are complete prior to departure.

·         Have a debriefing session with the LNO or the IC prior to departure.



b.      Area Command


An Area Command is activated only if necessary, depending on the complexity of the incident and incident management span-of-control considerations.  An Agency Administrator or other public official with jurisdictional responsibility for the incident usually makes the decision to establish an Area Command. 


An Area Command is established either to oversee the management of multiple incidents that are each being handled by a separate ICS organization or to oversee the management of a very large incident that involves multiple ICS organizations, such as would likely be the case for incidents that are not site-specific, geographically dispersed, or evolve over longer periods of time (e.g., a bioterrorism event).  In this sense, acts of biological, chemical, radiological, and/or nuclear terrorism represent particular challenges for the traditional ICS structure and will require extraordinary coordination between Federal, State, tribal, local, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations. 


Area Command may also be used when there are a number of incidents in the same area and of the same type, such as two or more hazardous material (HAZMAT) or oil spills, and fires.  These represent incidents that may compete for the same resources.  When incidents do not have similar resource demands, they are usually handled separately and are coordinated through an EOC.  If the incidents under the authority of the Area Command are multijurisdictional, then a Unified Area Command should be established. 


For incidents involving a response by USDA, Area Command may be considered, especially as the number of incidents increases within a given area.  For example, multiple outbreaks of a plant disease or multiple wildfires may be more effectively managed by establishing an area command.


Area Command should not be confused with the functions performed by an EOC.  An Area Command oversees management of the incident(s), while an EOC coordinates support functions and provides resources support.


c.       Unified Command


Unified Command is a collaborative team-effort process that allows agencies and entities with responsibility for an incident to establish a common set of incident objectives that all can subscribe to.  It can be accomplished without losing or abdicating agency authority, responsibility, or accountability. 


The ICs within a Unified Command make joint decisions and speak as one voice.  If there is a disagreement, it is worked out among the ICs within a Unified Command.


The exact composition of the Unified Command structure will depend on the location(s) of the incident (i.e., which geographical administrative jurisdictions are involved) and the type of incident (i.e., which functional agencies of the involved jurisdiction(s) are required).


When a Unified Command is established, it will most often involve departments and agencies external to USDA.  For example, a Unified Command established for a food recall incident would involve external agencies such as Food and Drug Administration and Center for Disease Control in addition to Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).


Table 2.2 describes how Unified Command applies in the following incident elements:  authorities, policies, objectives, and strategies; organization; resources; and operations.

Table 2.2 – Applying Unified Command



Authorities, Policies, Objectives, and Strategies

In single command, authority and responsibility for an IC to manage an incident or event comes in the form of a delegation of authority from the agency executive or Administrator of the jurisdiction of occurrence, or is inherent in existing agency policies and procedures.  In Unified Command, the responsibility for delegating authority belongs to the various jurisdictional and agency executives or Administrators who set policy and are accountable to their jurisdictions or agencies.  They must appropriately delegate to the Unified ICs the authority to manage the incident.  Given this authority, the Unified ICs will then collectively develop one comprehensive set of incident objectives, and use them to develop strategies. 



The Unified Command organization consists of the ICs from the various jurisdictions or agencies with statutory jurisdiction operating together to form a single command structure.  Typically, this will consist entirely of local ICs representing their respective jurisdictions or agencies.  On complex Type* 1 or 2 incidents, the Unified Command may include ICs that have been mobilized through a Federal, State, tribal, or municipal mobilization system combined with the local ICs representing the local jurisdictions or functional agencies.



For Type* 3, 4, or 5 incidents, resources in the ICS Unified Command are generally the personnel and equipment supplied by the jurisdictions and agencies that have functional or jurisdictional responsibility.  In larger Type 1 or 2 incidents, local agency resources may be supplemented by additional resources mobilized for the incident through Federal, State, tribal, or municipal mobilization systems.


Under Unified Command in ICS a single Operations Section Chief is responsible for all tactical operations.  The Unified ICs must agree as to who the Operations Section Chief will be.  The Operations Section Chief is selected by the Unified ICs and typically is the most qualified available person or a member of the agency with the most operational involvement.  In either alternative, resources stay under the administrative and policy control of their agencies, but operationally they respond to mission assignments under the coordination and direction of the Operations Section Chief based on the requirements of the IAP.  As in single command incidents the use of Deputies or Branch Directors may be assigned as appropriate.

* FEMA has defined incident types based on several characteristics.




Emergency management and incident response activities require carefully managed resources (personnel, teams, facilities, equipment, and/or supplies) to meet incident needs.  In order to facilitate the acquisition and prioritization of resources, USDA utilizes several organizations whose primary functions include coordination in addition to communications and situation reporting oversight.


The following organizations are maintained and utilized at the Departmental level by USDA, when needed, to provide for coordination of USDA resources to assist with response efforts related to large scale incidents.


(1)   USDA Multiagency Coordination Group (MAC)


A high level of structured coordination among the USDA Agencies is essential to preparedness and response to incidents.  Accordingly, the Secretary of Agriculture or his or her designee may initiate a USDA MAC Group to formulate and execute Departmental policies, identify and allocate critical resources, and identify and resolve issues that are common to all participating agencies to guide USDA’s implementation of the President’s Direction and Strategies and supporting Federal protocols for interagency collaboration. 


The USDA MAC Group provides a forum to discuss actions to be taken to ensure that an adequate number of resources are available to meet anticipated needs, and to allocate those resources most efficiently during periods of competition for limited resources.  The USDA MAC Group will provide for:


·       Situation assessment;

·       Incident prioritization;

·       Resource acquisition and allocation;

·       Departmental rapid response coordination;

·       Accurate factual information for use by the MAC Group and agency heads to successfully attain objectives in emergency response and media communication; and

·       Identification and resolution of issues common to all parties.


In consultation with the OHSEC Director, the Secretary will issue a memorandum activating the USDA MAC Group and providing appropriate delegation of authority to the MAC Group members.


Agency Administrators and Chiefs, by virtue of the executive positions they occupy in their respective agencies, have the authority to support an emergency declared or actions undertaken by the Secretary of Agriculture.  They may direct the movement of personnel and equipment under their jurisdictions to maximize the strategic response functions of detection, control and containment of an event.


Table 2.3 outlines the roles and responsibilities of the members and support staff that make up the USDA MAC Group.


Multi-agency coordination for wildland fires will be handled by the National MAC Group for wildland fires and associated geographical MAC Groups.  If necessary, any communications and coordination regarding wildland fires with the USDA MAC Group will be managed by the FS.


(a)    A MAC Group usually meets prior to each operational period during an incident.  After analyzing current situational information, the group establishes priorities and disseminates this information for implementation in operational plans.  In emergencies that are more complex, the MAC Group may choose to establish support positions that work for the MAC Group Coordinator, and in some cases under the direction of the MAC Group Chair.


(b)   For each meeting of the USDA MAC Group, a set of objectives should be developed.  The following objectives can be used as a guideline.


·         Identification and resolution of issues (proactive);

·         Establishment of priorities;

·         Allocation and re-allocation of scarce or limited resources;

·         Provide and recommend direction to subordinate MAC Groups if applicable; and

·         Determine the need for Contingency Plans as appropriate.


(c)    Depending on the type of incident for which the USDA MAC Group was activated, any of the following decision models may be used and selected.


·         Make a collaborative decision and assign responsibility/expectation (estimated date).

·         Delegate a decision with expectations to a MAC Group member, the Coordinator, or member of the staff.

·         Defer decision for consideration at a later date (e.g. defer for more information or defer for further development of fire situations).

·         Determine that the issue is outside the scope of our responsibility.  Defer issue to appropriate organization or individual.





Table 2.3 - USDA Multiagency Coordination Group


Roles and Responsibilities

Secretary of Agriculture

·    Appoint MAC Group chair.

·    Makes decision to activate the MAC Group.

Agency Administrators and Chiefs


·    Appoint MAC Group members.

·    Review for approval the MAC Group decision documents that direct the release of resources previously assigned to the MAC group.

·    Support MAC Group decisions.

MAC Group Chair

The MAC Group Chair will be appointed by the Secretary.  The MAC Group Chair will have the responsibility for making the decision to convene the MAC Group.  The MAC Group Chair will:


·    Determine the need for additional MAC Group representation beyond USDA.

·    Resolve disagreements between Agency Administrators, Chiefs and MAC Group involving interpretations of fact.

·    Sign all documents involving MAC Group decisions.

MAC Group Coordinator

The MAC Group can be supported by a designated person who executes MAC Group Coordination/Facilitation functions.  This role should only be assigned when  the Coordinator serves as a facilitator to the multiagency decision making process by organizing and accomplishing the mission, goals and direction of the MAC Group.  The Coordinator provides expertise in obtaining and summarizing multiagency information to facilitate collective decisions at the MAC Group level and implementation of agencies’ priorities.


The USDA OHSEC Director will serve as the USDA MAC Group Coordinator.  The Coordinator facilitates MAC Group meetings, supervises the MAC Group staff, and ensures implementation of MAC Group decisions.  The Coordinator may delegate the following responsibilities to any MAC support staff as appropriate.  Some of the common responsibilities include:


·    Identifying issues needing MAC Group attention;

·    Obtaining appropriate intelligence necessary to support MAC Group activities;

·   Ensuring timely acquisition and dissemination of accurate information relative to incident status, threats and projections of needs as requested to support MAC Group activities;

·    Ensuring that sufficient staff is available to support MAC Group activities;

·    Ensuring adequate and timely identification of specialists needed to support MAC Group activities;

·    Facilitating MAC Group meetings and schedule;

·    Ensuring MAC Group decisions are communicated and implemented through established channels;

·    Maintaining permanent records of MAC Group activities;

·   Staffing and supervising necessary element and support positions within the MAC Group in accordance with workload and situation complexity.  These positions may include display processors, recorders, and documentation personnel, ground support personnel, (i.e., drivers), facilities and/or other logistic support personnel as needed;

·    Managing the MAC Group facility and ensuring adequate equipment, communications, and infrastructure are available to execute MAC Group functions;

·   Facilitating the MAC Group decision-making process by ensuring development and display of information that provides MAC Group Representatives/Members a common operating picture and overall decision support information; and

·   Ensuring methods and processes are in place to document formal proceedings, maintain records (conference calls and meeting minutes, etc.), and distribute copies of documentation to all MAC Group representatives.

MAC Group Members

MAC Group members are authorized by their respective Agency Administrators and Chiefs to commit agency/office resources and their agencies/offices to actions agreed to during MAC Group deliberations.  MAC Group member functions include:


·    Establish priorities for incidents by an agreed upon set of criteria;

·    Determine specific resource requirements for an incident from each Agency/Office;

·    Anticipate and identify future resource needs;

·    Establish priorities for allocation of resources among incidents;

·    Identify and resolve issues common to all parties;

·    Develop procedures to implement decisions;

·    Re-allocate resources among incidents when necessary due to shortages within the system;

·    Initiate special actions to alleviate resource shortages to meet anticipated demands;

·    Keep Agency/Office Administrators and Chiefs informed of the situation and of MAC Group decisions;

·    Inform cooperating partners of the situation and of MAC Group decisions;

·    Maintain a dialog with the Agency/Office Administrators and Chiefs;

·    Provide factual information, both internally and externally;

·    Consider legal/fiscal implications;

·    Review need for participation by other agencies; and

·    Critique and recommend improvements to MAC Group operations.

MAC Group Liaisons

Representatives from participating or cooperating departments /agencies (external/internal), as well as from agencies with an interest, may serve as liaisons to the MAC Group.  They may also participate in briefings, and routinely receive, (via email), briefing materials/notification.

MAC Group Advisors

Technical specialists, scientists, professionals, and legal representatives may provide professional advice and counsel to the MAC Group; and may participate in MAC Group deliberations at the request of the MAC Group chair.  The USDA Emergency Coordination Group will serve as MAC Group Advisors.  Duties include:


·    Providing professional and technical information from their specialty areas relating to the situation.

·    Receiving and providing information to assist the MAC Group members in making their decisions.

MAC Support Staff

A MAC Group may require its own internal support and administrative organization in order to sustain mission accomplishment.  The number and skills of support personnel will vary by incident complexity, activity levels, and other factors identified through agreements or preparedness plans.  It may be useful to designate a lead person such as the MAC Group Coordinator and to create an organizational structure for this function.  This may be done as a preparedness activity.  Support staff may include International and Domestic Coordination Groups, USDA, APHIS and FSIS Operations Centers and/or Local Ordering Points.  Some of the more common internal support and sustainment requirements may include:


·   Facilitating flow of intelligence information needed to support MAC Group activities;

·   Facilitating flow of MAC Group decisions to field units, Incident Management Teams and Rapid Response personnel as appropriate;

·   Implementing actions associated with MAC Group decisions as may be appropriate to the dispatch system;

·   Providing accurate information relative to incident status, threats and projections of needs as requested to support MAC Group activities;

·   Implement actions associated with MAC Group decisions as may be appropriate to the IMT or Rapid Response Personnel;

·   Ensuring internal logistics, resupply, servicing, and maintenance are adequate for the situation;

·   Ensuring real property management and services pertaining to facilities, overflow workspace requirements and facility cleanliness are adequate for the situation;

·   Ensuring computer network system support, and technical assistance of software and applications are adequate for the situation;

·   Ensuring all communications including radio and telecommunications are adequate for the situation;

·   Performing administrative support tasks such as answering phones, developing written documents and meeting minutes, preparing briefing rooms, developing and formatting presentations, and updating maps, status boards, notification rosters and call logs;

·   Reserving conference call times for required briefings, and provides schedule and access information to all participants;

·   Preparing and maintaining a filing system for all MAC Group Support activities; and

·   Maintaining and updating mailing lists used to send decision documents and other information.


The following functions may be assigned to the support staff as needed following activation of a MAC Group.


·    Finance and Accounting Function;

·    Information (Situation Assessment) Function;

·    Intelligence/Investigation Information;

·    JIC Public Information Function;

·    Geospatial Function;

·    Resource Coordination (Mobilization/Dispatch Function);

·    Specialized Technician; and

Aviation Coordination Function.

(2)   USDA Emergency Coordination Group.


The USDA Emergency Coordination Group assists with the coordination of Department-wide activities for the prevention, protection, response and recovery from incidents, including those under the authorities of USDA and the NRF.


The USDA Emergency Coordination Group is chaired by the Director of OHSEC or a designee, and includes as its members representatives from each agency/staff office. 


The USDA Emergency Coordination Group will meet regularly and may also be convened to facilitate coordination of prevention, protection, response and recovery activities.


The members of the group are referred to as Emergency Coordinators.  Emergency Coordinators may be appointed by agencies/staff offices, or at any organizational level of the Department (including coordinators for ESF4, ESF11 and ESF14), where prevention, protection, response or recovery programs exist and require coordination.  Emergency Coordinators and, at a minimum, two alternates (to the extent possible, one not in the National Capital Area), are to be designated in writing by each agency/staff office head to the Director, USDA OHSEC. 


The duties of an Emergency Coordinator (including alternates), include, but are not limited to:


·       Serving as liaison to the Department on prevention, protection, response and recovery activities and representing their agency/staff office on the USDA Emergency Coordination Group. 

·       Coordinating the completion of agency/staff office situation reports and information requests from the Office of the Secretary.

·       Coordinating with Continuity of Operations (COOP) points of contact for their respective agency/staff office during an emergency situation that requires the deployment of staff to emergency relocation facilities. 

·       Assisting the OHSEC with planning for national level exercises and certain regional exercises.

·       Being willing to work a flexible schedule (including hours outside of a normal work schedule including weekends) from any location.

·       Participating in Department-wide planning, preparation, exercise, training, and after-action activities to ensure sufficient capability to respond during incidents. 


Individuals serving as an Emergency Coordinators (including alternates) should meet the following criteria:


·       Have sufficient visibility within their agency/staff office to effectively coordinate activities during incidents.

·       Be able to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.

·       Have taken as a minimum, the following training courses

o  IS-700.a:  Introduction to the National Incident Management System (NIMS)

o  IS-800.b:  National Response Framework (NRF), An Introduction


The USDA OHSEC maintains the USDA Emergency Coordination Group roster and provides the roster to the USDA Operations Center for coordination of incidents.


(3)   USDA Homeland Security Mission Area Group


The USDA Homeland Security (HS) Mission Area Group is comprised of agency officials with responsibility for homeland security activities.  The group meets on a regular basis to coordinate USDA homeland security activities and to discuss agency activities, particularly those pertaining to critical infrastructure and key resources.


Members of the HS Mission Area Group provide a monthly report on their agency’s congressional activity; National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) activity; White House National Security Staff activity; regulatory activity; Secretarial disaster declarations; media activity; current homeland security projects; and pending Office of the Inspector General (OIG) or Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on homeland security.











The USDA Operations Center receives information from a variety of government and non-governmental sources.  Depending on the source and type of information, the USDA Operations Center forwards this information to OSEC during duty and non-duty hours in the form of e-mails, reports, or voice notifications.






a.       Information is placed in one of three categories based on the relative importance and impact of the information:


(1)      Group 1:  Significant and time-sensitive items are relayed by telephone on a 24/7 basis with immediate follow up by e-mail.  All pertinent details of Group 1 information should be telephonically communicated from the USDA Operations Center to the following:


·       Deputy Chief of Staff, who will determine the need for the USDA Operations Center to notify the Chief of Staff

·       Director, OHSEC, who will determine the need for the USDA Operations Center to notify the Assistant Secretary for Administration.

·       Deputy Director, OHSEC

·       Assistant to the Director, OHSEC

·       Chief, Emergency Programs Division

·       Deputy Chief, Emergency Programs Division

·       Chief, Resilience and Preparedness Division


(2)      Group 2:  Event information forwarded as e-mail Spot Reports as they occur.


(3)      Group 3:  Event information reported in a Daily Situation Summary transmitted via e-mail by 9:00 a.m. Eastern each business day.


When appropriate, the USDA Operations Center will subsequently notify others via e-mail or telephone as approved.


b.      The information contained in the communication categories (1-3) is divided according to significance and time sensitivity.  Sample reporting criteria are presented in Table 3.1.  Information presented in Table 3.1 is not a comprehensive list of information and is intended to be representative of information received and transmitted by the USDA Operations Center.


Table 3.1 – Sample Reporting Criteria

Group 1:

Significant and time-sensitive items relayed by telephone on a 24/7 basis with immediate follow up by e-mail.

Personnel Accountability:

·         Death or life-threatening injury to an employee during performance of duties;

·         Fatalities or serious injury to multiple employees or visitors on USDA-managed lands; or

·         Emergencies involving USDA employees on official duty outside the U.S., including incidents attracting media or diplomatic attention.

Security Incidents Directed at USDA Personnel:

·         White powder incidents affecting USDA employees (not USDA facilities).

·         Arrests of USDA personnel at USDA facilities, while on duty, or related to performance of duties.

Incidents including, but not limited to, natural or man-made emergency incidents affecting USDA-managed lands or facilities that cause, or may cause, severe or significant damage, impact employee or visitor use, or degrade the ability to provide USDA services:

·         Major structural fires, structural failures, or other impacts to USDA facilities;

·         Earthquakes in the United States affecting any USDA facility or employees;

·         Floods affecting USDA facilities or employees;

·         Tornados affecting any USDA facilities or employees;

·         Oil and hazardous substances incidents on or impacting USDA-managed lands with releases of more than 500 gallons of oil or 100 gallons of other hazardous substances, or with the potential for significant damage to USDA-managed lands, facilities or resources;

·         USDA-related aircraft incident, on USDA managed lands, or involving USDA or USDA-contracted aircraft, resulting in the loss of life or total loss of aircraft; or

·         Wildland fires impacting any USDA facilities.

Threats, attempted sabotage, or actual terrorist activity directed against USDA facilities, at USDA personnel, or on USDA managed lands:

·         Sabotage or attempted sabotage to a USDA laboratory;

·         White Powder Incident at USDA facility or on USDA-managed lands;

·         Security breaches at USDA facilities;

·         Suspicious packages at USDA facilities;

·         Threat to a USDA facility;

·         Bomb threat to a USDA facility;

·         Loss of Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulated radiological material from a USDA facility;

·         Threats, attempted sabotage, or terrorist activity directed against resources and infrastructure on USDA-managed lands; or

·         Suspicious loss or theft of USDA vehicles (including aircraft, boats, and buses), or law enforcement, (including credentials, uniforms, weapons).

Office Closures:

·         Mission critical offices closed for any reason.

·         Non-mission critical facilities closed for 2 business days or more.

Selected Continuity of Government (COG)/COOP notifications including activations of any Continuity of Operations Plans for USDA facilities with national significance.

Threats or damage from natural disasters, terrorism, or technological emergencies impacting food and agriculture sector critical infrastructure/key resources.

Information regarding threatened or actual demonstrations or protest activity that may impact critical infrastructure/key resources, the food and agriculture sector, or USDA mission critical facilities.

Emergencies affecting USDA regulated facilities.

Border closings.

Any emergency/homeland security incident potentially resulting in significant national media interest (i.e., terrorist event, explosion, or catastrophic loss of life):

·         White powder incidents;

·         Terrorism incidents/hostage incidents/shootings;

·         Earthquakes in the United States with a magnitude of 6.0 or greater;

·         Tsunami, tsunami watch or warning for any U.S. state or territory;

·         Earthquake in the Western Hemisphere with a magnitude of 6.5 or greater; or

·         Earthquake, anywhere in the world, with a magnitude of 7.0 or greater.

Group 2:

Event information forwarded as e-mail spot reports as they occur.

Emergency Response Activations:

·         Activations of State and/or county Emergency Boards;

·         Activation of the Advisory Team for Environment, Food and Health (A-Team);

·         Activations of ESFs to support the NRCC, RRCC, JFOs and /or other deployments under Stafford Act mission assignments; or

·         Activation of JICs established to support preparedness, response, or recovery.

USDA-related aircraft incident, on USDA managed lands, or involving USDA or USDA-contracted aircraft, which does not result in the loss of life or total loss of aircraft.

Warnings, alerts, waivers, or advisories issued by USDA to the public or other government agencies related to incidents, including wildland fires.

Warnings of natural disasters or other emergencies that threaten USDA facilities, and infrastructure and preparedness measures taken in response to such threats.

Group 3:

Event information reported in a Daily Situation Summary transmitted via e-mail by 9:00 a.m. Eastern each business day.

Tropical Weather System:

·         Tropical depression strength or stronger in the Atlantic or Caribbean west of 30° West Longitude.

·         Tropical depression strength or stronger in the Pacific east of 135° West longitude or anywhere in the Pacific expected to impact a U.S. State or territory within five (5 ) calendar days.

Preparedness activities in advance of notice incidents/events (e.g., hurricanes and National Special Security Events).

Participation in emergency response exercises.

Activities in support of incidents, emergencies and major disasters including, but not limited to:

·         Activities of ESFs at the NRCC, RRCC, JFOs and/or other deployments under mission assignments.

·         Activities at JICs established to support preparedness, response, or recovery.

·         Warnings, alerts, waivers, or advisories issued to the public or other government agencies by USDA related to incidents, including wildland fires.

·         Warnings of natural disasters or other emergencies that threaten USDA – facilities, and infrastructure and preparedness measures taken in response to such threats.

·         Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) authorizations.

·         Presidential Declarations, including updates.

·         Secretarial Declarations.

·         Declarations of Extraordinary Emergencies (USDA Secretary).

·         Quarantine designations.

·         FSA Determination of Physical Loss Notifications.

Significant wildland fire information not available through the National Interagency Coordination Center at www.nifc.goc/nicc.














USDA agencies and staff offices provide information on major emergency activities that they are involved in, or affected by, to the USDA Operations Center in a daily Situation Report (SITREP) or, as the incident/event unfolds, in the form of a SPOT report.  The USDA Operations Center uses the information from the daily Situation Reports and/or SPOT reports to prepare a Daily Situation Summary (DSS) for the Office of the Secretary.  The DSS provides an overview of the major emergency and non-emergency activities or issues being addressed by the Department or its agencies.  The OHSEC is the lead coordinator for domestic incidents.  The FAS is the lead coordinator for international incidents.






a.       USDA agencies and staff offices report to the USDA Operations Center information on the types of incidents/events listed in Table 3.1.  Information reported includes impacts to USDA personnel/facilities and ability to meet the USDA mission.  All agency/staff office SITREPs are submitted using the standard format provided by OHSEC.  Negative reports are not required.


b.      Who is Responsible for Reporting


(1)      Domestic Incidents - The designated Emergency Coordinator at the national level of each USDA agency or staff office is responsible for obtaining necessary information from within their respective agency or staff office and submitting that information to the USDA Operations Center by the close of business daily.  This product is referred to as the agency/office SITREP.


(a)    SPOT reports are provided as initial reports of significant no-notice incidents or to update daily reports when significant incident information changes.  Initial reports of no-notice incidents to the USDA Operations Center may be telephonic, and should be followed up with written reports transmitted electronically (fax or e-mail) as soon as the situation allows.


(b)   The National Coordinators for ESFs where USDA is a Coordinating or Primary Agency are responsible for ensuring reports of ESF activities are submitted.  This information may be included in the agency/staff office SITREP or may be submitted separately using the standard ESF reporting format utilized by the National ESF Coordinator.


(2)      International Incidents - The designated agency/staff office Country Team member is responsible for obtaining necessary information from within their respective agency or staff office and submitting that information to the USDA Operations Center.  The FAS is responsible for identifying reporting criteria for international incidents and emergencies.  Information on international incidents or emergencies provided to the USDA Operations Center is included in the Daily Situation Summary.  Negative reports are not required.


(a)    SPOT reports are provided as initial reports of significant no-notice incidents or to update daily reports when significant incident information changes.  Initial reports of no-notice incidents to the USDA Operations Center may be telephonic, and should be followed up with written reports transmitted electronically (fax or e-mail) as soon as the situation allows.


(b)   Agency/staff office Country Team members review reporting criteria, reporting schedule and reporting termination with the FAS.












The USDA Operations Center uses the information from the USDA agency/staff office daily SITREPs to prepare a DSS for the Office of the Secretary.  The DSS provides an overview of the major emergency and non-emergency activities or issues being addressed by the Department or its agencies/staff offices. 






a.   Preparation of Daily Situation Summary


The DSS is prepared by the USDA Operations Center for release by 9:00 a.m. each business day.  Information in the DSS is compiled from SITREPs, as well as SPOT reports, received each business day by the close of business from the USDA agencies and staff offices.  The DSS adheres to a standardized format for consistency.


The DSS will be made available to the following individuals/entities:


·         Secretary of Agriculture

·         Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

·         USDA Under Secretaries

·         Office of Congressional Relations

·         Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

·         USDA MAC Group(s) for the incident

·         USDA Emergency Coordinators

·         USDA Office of Communications

·         Members of the FAS Country Team when international incidents are reported.

·         FS National Fire Desk


When approved for release outside of the USDA, applicable elements of the DSS will be made available to the following entities:


·         DHS National Operations Center (NOC)

·         DHS National Infrastructure Coordination Center (NICC)

·         National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC)

·         FEMA COOP Office


The USDA Operations Center maintains archived copies of all DSSs for reference and use upon request.










The Federal Government and many State governments organize much of their resources and capabilities—as well as those of certain private-sector and nongovernmental organizations—under the ESFs of the NRF.  Not all State ESFs will follow the same numbering process utilized at the Federal level.


ESFs are a critical mechanism to coordinate functional capabilities and resources provided by Federal departments and agencies, along with certain private-sector and non-governmental organizations.  The ESFs serve as the primary coordination mechanism to provide assistance in functional areas such as transportation, communications, public works and engineering, firefighting, mass care, housing, human services, public health and medical services, search and rescue, hazardous materials response, agriculture and natural resources, energy, and public safety and security.






ESFs may be selectively activated for both Stafford Act and non-Stafford Act incidents under circumstances as defined in HSPD-5.  Not all incidents requiring Federal support result in the activation of any or all ESFs. 


a.       Stafford Act Incidents


The NRCC or RRCC may activate specific ESFs by directing appropriate departments and agencies to initiate the initial actions delineated in the ESF Annexes.


FEMA can deploy assets and capabilities through ESFs into an area in anticipation of an approaching storm or event that is expected to cause a significant impact and result.  This coordination through ESFs allows FEMA to position Federal support for an accelerated response, though actual assistance cannot normally be provided until the Governor requests and receives a Presidential major disaster or emergency declaration. 


When activated, ESFs may be deployed to:


·       Headquarters.  At FEMA headquarters, the ESFs support decision-making and coordination of field operations within the NRCC.


·       Region and Field.  The ESFs deliver a broad range of technical support and other services at the regional level in the RRCCs and at the field level at the JFO.


b.      Non-Stafford Act Incidents


Federal departments and agencies routinely manage the response to incidents under their statutory or executive authority that do not require the assistance of other Federal agencies.  For USDA, an example of this would be a response to an outbreak of an exotic plant pest or disease where the response to the incident would not require resources beyond what can be provided by the Department.


When a Federal department with primary responsibility and authority for handling an incident requires assistance beyond what the department has capability for, the department may request DHS coordination of Federal multiagency assistance.  In such cases, DHS coordinates assistance using the procedures and structures within the NRF.  Generally, the requesting agency funds the participation of other Federal departments and agencies in accordance with provisions of the Economy Act unless other pertinent authorities exist.


(1)      To initiate Federal-to-Federal support, the requesting department submits a request for assistance to the DHS Executive Secretary via the NOC.  Requests include a summary of the situation, types and amount of resources needed, financial information, and any other appropriate details.


(2)      Upon approval of the request, the Secretary of Homeland Security issues an operations order to the NOC.  The NOC, through the NRCC, coordinates the activation of the appropriate ESFs.  The Secretary of Homeland Security designates a Federal Resource Coordinator (FRC) to manage Federal resource support.  In circumstances requiring extraordinary coordination, the DHS Secretary may appoint a Principal Federal Official to serve as his or her representative in the field.


(3)      The requesting department designates a senior official to work in coordination with the FRC as part of the Unified Coordination Group to identify and define specific support requirements.


(4)      The requesting department also provides comptrollers to the NRCC, RRCC, and JFO, as appropriate, to oversee financial management activities.


(5)      An RRCC may be fully or partially activated to facilitate the deployment of resources until a JFO is established.  Facilities, such as mobilization centers, may be established to accommodate personnel, equipment, and supplies.


(6)      Other Federal departments and agencies provide resources under interagency reimbursable agreements or their own authorities.


(7)      Once established, the JFO serves as the focal point for coordinating Federal assistance to the requesting department and incident command structures on-scene.


(8)      As the need for full-time interagency coordination at the JFO decreases, the Unified Coordination Group plans for selective release of Federal resources, demobilization, and closeout.


If there are needs that cannot be addressed under USDA or other Federal agency authorities, the President may elect to declare that a major disaster or emergency exists, in accordance with the provisions of the Stafford Act.  The NRF is the mechanism for coordinating Federal response under a Stafford Act declaration.








The ESF coordinator has management oversight for that particular ESF.  The departments/agencies serving as ESF coordinators are identified in Table 4.1.




ESF primary agencies are Federal agencies with significant authorities, resources, or capabilities for a particular function within an ESF.  A Federal agency designated as an ESF primary agency serves as a Federal executive agent under the Federal Coordinating Officer (or Federal Resource Coordinator for non-Stafford Act incidents) to accomplish the ESF mission.



Support agencies are those entities with specific capabilities or resources that support the primary agency in executing the mission of the ESF. 






Within USDA, the ESF Coordinator responsibilities are delegated to the FS for ESF4 and to the APHIS for ESF11 and each agency has appointed a national ESF coordinator.  FSA and RD share responsibility as the Primary Agency for ESF14.


For ESF4 and ESF11, the FS and APHIS, respectively, have identified ESF coordinators within each of the FEMA regions.  These ESF coordinators staff the RRCC and JFO(s) when requested.  In addition, the FS and APHIS provide staffing for the NRCC when it is activated.  For ESF14, FSA and RD provide staffing as required to address issues related to ESF14.


The national level ESF coordinators coordinate closely with the OHSEC and provide updates as necessary through the reporting process identified in Chapter 3 of this DM.  In addition, these national level ESF coordinators assist with planning for national level exercises.


Table 4.1 – Emergency Support Functions and ESF Coordinators


Emergency Support Function

ESF Coordinator

ESF #1 – Transportation

Department of Transportation

ESF #2 – Communications

DHS (National Communications System)

ESF #3 – Public Works and Engineering

Department of Defense (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

ESF #4 – Firefighting

U.S. Forest Service (USDA)

ESF #5 – Emergency Management


ESF #6 – Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services


ESF #7 – Logistics Management and Resource Support

General Services Administration and DHS (FEMA)

ESF #8 – Public Health and Medical Services

Department of Health and Human Services

ESF #9 – Search and Rescue



ESF #10 – Oil and Hazardous Materials Response

Environmental Protection Agency


ESF #11 – Agriculture and Natural Resources

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA)


ESF #12 – Energy

Department of Energy


ESF #13 – Public Safety and Security

Department of Justice


ESF #14 – Long-Term Community Recovery



ESF #15 – External Affairs




Table 4.2 – Emergency Support Functions for Which USDA Serves as the ESF Coordinator or Primary Agency



Support Agencies

USDA Responsibilities


Emergency Support Function (ESF) #4 – Firefighting provides Federal support for the detection and suppression of wildland, rural, and urban fires resulting from, or occurring coincidentally with, an incident requiring a coordinated Federal response for assistance.


ESF4 manages and coordinates firefighting activities, including the detection and suppression of fires on Federal lands, and provides personnel, equipment, and supplies in support of State, tribal, and local agencies involved in wildland, rural, and urban firefighting operations.

Department of Commerce (National Weather Service)

Department of Defense

Department of Homeland Security (U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Fire Administration)

Department of the Interior

Department of State

Environmental Protection Agency




As the ESF Coordinator and Primary Agency, the U.S. Forest Service:


·         Provides qualified representatives to serve as ESF4 coordinators at the national and regional/area levels;

·         Provides support personnel at the NRCC and RRCC/JFO levels;

·         Requests assistance from supporting agencies as necessary to accomplish ESF4 responsibilities;

·         Provides logistics support through the applicable Geographic Area Coordination Center(s) (GACC) and/or NICC for mobilizing resources for firefighting;

·         Assumes full responsibility for suppression of wildfires burning on National Forest System lands and joins in a unified command with the local jurisdiction on incidents threatening National Forest System lands;

·         Provides and coordinates firefighting assistance to other Federal land management, State forestry, tribal and local fire organizations as requested under the terms of existing agreements and the National Response Framework;

·         Arranges for direct liaison with State EOCs, local EOCs, and fire chiefs in the designated area, as appropriate, to coordinate requests for firefighting assistance in structural or industrial fire detection, protection, and suppression operations; and

·         Provides information to the Planning Section at the incident and the JFO as assessments of fire-caused damages are obtained.



Table 4.2 – Emergency Support Functions for Which USDA Serves as the ESF Coordinator or Primary Agency (Continued)



Support Agencies

USDA Responsibilities


Emergency Support Function (ESF) #11 – Agriculture and Natural Resources supports State, tribal, and local authorities and other Federal agency efforts to provide nutrition assistance; control and eradicate, as appropriate, any outbreak of a highly contagious or economically devastating animal/zoonotic (i.e., transmitted between animals and people) disease, or any outbreak of an economically devastating plant pest or disease; ensure the safety and security of the commercial food supply; protect natural and cultural resources and historic properties (NCH) resources; and provide for the safety and well-being of household pets during an emergency response or evacuation situation. 


The appropriate FEMA Regional Office activates ESF11 at the regional level (RRCC/JFO) and the FEMA National Headquarters activates ESF11 at the NRCC for incidents requiring a coordinated Federal response and the availability of support for one or more of these roles/functions.



Department of Agriculture

Department of Commerce

Department of Defense

Department of Energy

Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Homeland Security

Department of the Interior

Department of Justice

Department of Labor

Department of State

Department of Transportation

Environmental Protection Agency

General Services Administration

National Archives and Records Administration

U.S. Postal Service

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

American Red Cross

Heritage Emergency National Task Force

As the ESF Coordinator and one of the Primary Agencies, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service:


·         Assists with outbreaks of plant and animal diseases according to FEMA direction in areas where APHIS is an SME;

·         Coordinates veterinary and wildlife response;

·         Supports DHS/FEMA with household pet response together with ESF6, ESF8, ESF9, and ESF14; and

·         Coordinates with ESF8.


Food and Nutrition Service:

·         Determines nutritional assistance needs;

·         Obtains appropriate food supplies;

·         Arranges transportation for food supplies; and

·         Authorizes D-SNAP benefits.

Food Safety Inspection Service:

·         Performs inspection and verification of meat, poultry, and egg products;

·         Conducts food-borne disease surveillance;

·         Coordinates recall and tracing of adulterated products;

·         Coordinates disposal of contaminated food products; and

·         Provides inspectors and laboratory services.


The other Primary Agency, Department of the Interior:

·         Protects natural and cultural resources, and historic properties.




Table 4.2 – Emergency Support Functions for Which USDA Serves as the ESF Coordinator or Primary Agency (Continued)



Support Agencies

USDA Responsibilities


Emergency Support Function (ESF) #14 – Long-Term Community Recovery provides a mechanism for coordinating Federal support to State, tribal, regional, and local governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to enable community recovery from the long-term consequences of extraordinary disasters.  ESF14 accomplishes this by identifying and facilitating availability and use of sources of recovery funding, and providing technical assistance (such as impact analyses) for community recovery and recovery planning support.

Department of Commerce

Department of Defense

Department of Energy

Department of Health and Human Services

Department of the Interior

Department of Labor

Department of Transportation

Department of the Treasury

Environmental Protection Agency

Corporation for National and Community Service

Delta Regional Authority

American Red Cross

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster



Farm Service Agency and Rural Development are assigned the responsibility by USDA to jointly represent USDA as the primary agency.


Farm Service Agency

·         Provides emergency loans for agricultural sector; disaster assistance programs; and technical assistance for agricultural market recovery and resource conservation assistance.


Rural Development

·         Provides emergency loans and grants, economic and technical assistance for the recovery of rural community facilities, businesses, utilities, housing, community planning and community development.



Table 4.3 – Emergency Support Functions for Which USDA Serves as a Support Agency



ESF Coordinator

USDA Responsibilities


Emergency Support Function (ESF) #1 – The Department of Transportation (DOT) provides support to DHS by assisting Federal, State, tribal and local governmental entities, voluntary organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector in the management of transportation systems and infrastructure during domestic threats or in response to incidents.  ESF1 also participates in prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation activities.


ESF1 carries out DOT’s statutory responsibilities, including regulation of transportation, management of the Nation’s airspace, and ensuring the safety and security of the national transportation system.

Department of Transportation

If available, the Forest Service:


·         Provides transportation assets to ESF1 when Forest Service resources are the most effective to support the ESF1 mission.

·         Provides appropriate engineering and contracting/procurement personnel and equipment to assist in emergency removal of debris, demolition, repair of roads and bridges, and temporary repair of essential public facilities.


Resources will be assigned commensurate with each unit’s level of training and the adequacy and availability of equipment.  ESF4 or the USDA/Forest Service Disaster and Emergency Operations Branch is the contact for this support.



Emergency Support Function (ESF) #2 – Communications supports the restoration of the communications infrastructure, facilitates the recovery of systems and applications from cyber attacks, and coordinates Federal communications support to response efforts during incidents requiring a coordinated Federal response.  This ESF implements the provisions of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) National Plan for Telecommunications Support in Non-Wartime Emergencies (NPTS).


ESF2 also provides communications support to Federal, State, tribal, and local governments and first responders when their systems have been impacted  and provides communications and information technology (IT) support to the JFO and JFO field teams.

Department of Homeland Security/National Protection and Programs/Cyber Security and Communications/National

Communications System



If available, the Forest Service provides appropriate communications resources, including:


·         Radio communications systems to support firefighters, law enforcement officers, and incident response operations;

·         Engineers, technicians, and liaison staff to assist the Communications Branch Director;

·         National Interagency Radio Support systems for damage reconnaissance teams and other applications;

·         A communications officer to accompany radio systems for user training and operator maintenance indoctrination; and

·         Additional radio systems to support the JFO radio network.



Emergency Support Function (ESF) #3 – Public Works and Engineering assists DHS by coordinating and organizing the capabilities and resources of the Federal Government to facilitate the delivery of services, technical assistance, engineering expertise, construction management, and other support to prepare for, respond to, and/or recover from a disaster or an incident requiring a coordinated Federal response.

Department of Defense/ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

If available, USDA provides engineering and contracting/procurement personnel and equipment to assist in emergency removal of debris, demolition, temporary protection of roads and bridges, temporary protection of essential public facilities, water supply, and sanitation.  ESF4 or the USDA/Forest Service Disaster and Emergency Operations Branch is the contact for this support.


If available, the Natural Resources Conservation Service provides technical personnel to evaluate damage to water control facilities.


Emergency Support Function (ESF) #5 – Emergency Management is responsible for supporting overall activities of the Federal Government for domestic incident management.  ESF5 provides the core management and administrative functions in support of NRCC, RRCC, and JFO operations.


Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency

If resources are available, USDA provides expert personnel to the multiagency coordination centers, as requested, to assist with the delivery of Federal resources and provide reports to the respective Planning Section.  All agencies, as appropriate, identify staff liaisons or points of contact to provide technical and subject-matter expertise, data, advice, and staff support for operations that fall within the domain of each agency.  Support capabilities of other organizations may be used as required and available.  Maintains comprehensive and current plans and procedures identifying how they will execute the support functions for which they are responsible. 


Emergency Support Function (ESF) #6 – Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services coordinates the delivery of Federal mass care, emergency assistance, housing, and human services when local, tribal, and State response and recovery needs exceed their capabilities.

Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, through ESF11 supports ESF #6 to ensure an integrated response to provide for the safety and well-being of household pets.  ESF11 provides technical support and subject-matter expertise regarding the safety and well-being of household pets.


If resources are available, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) through ESF11 supports ESF6 with emergency food assistance:


·         Locates and secures supplies of food, including federally owned surplus foods, to supplement those in disaster areas;

·         Provides statistics on the quantities and locations of food furnished by the FNS;

·         Authorizes requests from the State Distributing Agency regarding reimbursements or requests for additional USDA foods; and

·         Approves State requests to provide D-SNAP benefits.


If  available, the Forest Service:


·         Provides appropriate resources (e.g., cots, blankets, sleeping bags, personnel) for shelters.

·         Assigns Resources commensurate with each unit’s level of training and the adequacy and availability of equipment.  ESF4 is the contact for this support.


Rural Development, as part of the National Disaster Housing Strategy:


·         Provides information on currently available habitable housing units in USDA’s inventory;

·         Provides available staff to assist when needed with ESF6;

·         Provides Letters of Priority Entitlement allowing the holder of the letter (identified evacuee and/or victim) to go to the top of any USDA MF 515 or 514 waiting lists for placement in USDA financed housing; and

·         Assists eligible recipients to meet emergency housing assistance needs resulting from Presidentially-declared emergencies or major disasters.


Emergency Support Function (ESF) #7 – Logistics Management and Resource Support assists DHS by providing a comprehensive, national disaster logistics planning, management, and sustainment capability that harnesses the resources of Federal logistics partners, key public and private stakeholders, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to meet the needs of disaster victims and responders.  The General Services Administration (GSA) supports Federal agencies and State, tribal, and local governments that need resource support prior to, during, and/or after incidents requiring a coordinated Federal response.

General Services Administration

Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency

If resources are available, USDA, through agencies such as FNS, FS, and FSIS supports response by:


·         Determines nutrition assistance needs, obtains food supplies, arranges for delivery of food supplies, and authorizes D-SNAP;

·         Provides staff to support MOB Center establishment, if available, when mission assigned; and

·         Inspects food and coordinates disposal of contaminated food products.



Emergency Support Function (ESF) #8 – Public Health and Medical Services provides the mechanism for coordinated Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local resources in response to a public health and medical disaster, potential or actual incidents requiring a coordinated Federal response, and/or during a developing potential health and medical emergency.


Public Health and Medical Services include responding to medical needs associated with mental health, behavioral health, and substance abuse considerations of incident victims and response workers.  It may also include the need for addressing veterinary and/or animal health issues.

Department of Health and Human Services