DOC EOC: Department of Commerce Emergency Operations Center.
Incident Coordination Center: (1) Emergency operations center located in SSMC I, 8th floor; and (2) staffed by cadre of specially trained personnel bringing working knowledge of the National Response Plan, scientific and management issues, NOAA and Line Office Continuity of Operation (COOP) and contingency planning and NOAA organizational structures implementing program activities.
Homeland Security Program Office: NOAA activity tasked with establishing and maintaining the ICC and coordination of all homeland-security related policies, plans and programs.
Homeland Security Senior Management Team: A cadre of specially trained, Assistant Administrator- or Staff Office Director-appointed Line and Staff Office representatives serving as an executive steering group for HSPO. Members serve on ICC and COOP teams and working groups.
National Incident Management System (NIMS). National system mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 to facilitate interaction of engaged activities. Includes the Incident Command System (ICS) which establishes predefines roles and responsibilities for incident management.
NOAA HSOC Desk: NOAA presence in Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC). Provides input to scheduled HSOC briefings and subject briefings including SECDHS. NOAA interface to other HSOC federal, state, and local support desks for information during all natural and man-made incidents for national level coordination. Supports the DHS Interagency Incident Management Group.
What was the specific goal, challenge or problem related to the Department’s mission and/or strategic plan? To achieve organizational and management excellence in incident management. The nation depends on NOAA to (1) deliver scientific expertise, environmental information and situational awareness on operations supporting mission essential functions at all times; (2) integrate our activities into national planning, and (3) orchestrate all engaged activities, whether provided from sources impacted and operating under contingency plans; deployed assets on-site; supporting national, state or local incident management structures; or operating from normal duty stations.
What was the context in which the nominee addressed the goal, challenge or problem? Between August 24 through October 3, 2005, NOAA faced Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Hurricane Katrina alone was among the deadliest and, in terms of economic loss, the most destructive natural disasters ever to strike the United States. Never before has all of NOAA been so widely affected by such a significant event. During these hurricanes, 719 NOAA employees were directly impacted (homes damaged or destroyed, vehicles damaged, etc.).
What specific actions did the nominee take to address the goal, challenge or problem? Four days before landfall, on Friday, August 26, 2005, NOAA activated the Incident Coordination Center (ICC) for daily coordination and overall incident management. The ICC served as the implementing arm of NOAA leadership during activation. It achieved National-level inter-agency coordination, coordinated NOAA activities, established priorities, and supported deployed and impacted people and assets. The ICC established and maintained the information stream vital to the Situational Awareness and Common Operating Picture, guiding operations at all levels of incident management. The ICC satisfied 100+ tracked actions and issued 13 recurring reports: daily ICC SITREPS to Office of Under Secretary, DOC EOC, DHS, and USNORTHCOM and current information on NOAA’s people, mission delivery, and impacted infrastructure. What were the results of the actions in either quantifiable or qualitative terms? The ICC realized “One NOAA” – all NOAA activities working together for a national need. NOAA’s people were found, accounted for and helped. NOAA’s capabilities were effectively delivered where and when needed. NOAA’s Office of the Under Secretary was informed and appropriately engaged. NOAA’s partners were supported.
How long did it take to complete the accomplishment? When was the accomplishment completed/implemented/deployed? Preparation began October 2001. HSPO leads NOAA efforts in national exercises, planning, training, and preparedness activities. The ICC operational construct, first realized at NOAA’s Alternate Site C in Forward Challenge 04, is executed by NOAA’s Homeland Security Senior Management Team (HS SMT) and Line and Staff Office representatives who staff the ICC. The HS SMT also provides 24/7 monitoring as NOAA Watch Officer.
What is the short-term impact (1-2 years) of the accomplishment on the bureau and/or Department’s mission? NOAA’s effectiveness earned engagement in national planning. Corporate NOAA and DOC saw firsthand the benefits of Continuity of Operations Plans (COOPs) and incident management performed through a single source to ensure coordinated delivery of NOAA essential functions, supporting activities and capabilities.
What is the short-term impact (3-5 years) of the accomplishment on the bureau and/or Department’s mission? The nation has seen what NOAA can do to detect and warn, respond and recover, and conduct long-term restoration. Partners see current and future rewards of partnering with NOAA’s scientific expertise, environmental products and observing infrastructure.
Does the accomplishment affect other bureaus/Department or other Federal agencies? If so, how? DHS and USNORTHCOM witnessed NOAA’s efforts in Katrina and Rita. Briefings provided by the NOAA Desk included DHS Secretary and White House.
Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in science, technology, or automation? If so, how? The ICC set up web-based and telephone-based infrastructures for NOAA’s most important asset, our people, to report their condition and availability. ICC operations were supported by a separate server. A phone system now forwards calls from the ICC to the NOAA Watch Officer.
Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in non-scientific areas such as customer service or administrative support? If so, how? The 2005 hurricane season was the first real test of the ICC being physically stood up and demonstrated beyond a doubt the benefits of unity of effort and a single information stream. All of NOAA now has a greater degree of confidence in the ICC’s ability to engage and respond to any future disasters. Lessons learned during the hurricane season are being incorporated into an ICC Standard Operating Plan. Thirty-six iridium satellite phones were ordered and shipped to NOAA field sites in the Gulf area in hopes of alleviating future communication problems. All NOAA identification badges are now being printed with NOAA’s emergency toll-free number and homeland security web address. Stickers with this information have been distributed to all employees to affix to their badges until they receive new ones. National partners are now more aware of the response capabilities NOAA has to offer.
Mark Napoli, Deputy Director, Logistics Division GS-15
James Griffith, Management Analyst GS-11
WFMO: Darla Callaghan, Director, UNSEC Client Services Division GS-15
CIO: Donald Holtzer, Mgr, Messaging Operations Center, IT Spec. GS-15
1995 and 2001 Bronze Awards, October 2003 Employee of the Month
Nominator: CDR Phil Kenul, Program Manager, Homeland Security
What is the significance of this accomplishment? This accomplishment signifies the dedication and commitment of the nominees toward substantially improving NOAA’s COOP readiness through their dynamic test, training and exercise program in FY2006.
Certificate Text: For design and execution of a Continuity of Operations exercise which improved NOAA’s ability to continue essential functions under all circumstances.