In 1980, federal officials transitioned ICS into a national program called the National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS).

An ICS enables integrated communication and planning by establishing a manageable span of control. An ICS divides an emergency response into five manageable functions essential for emergency response operations.

In 2004 Homeland Security issued the National Incident Management System (NIMS)

The Incident Commander (IC) or the Unified Command (UC) is responsible for all aspects of the response, including developing incident objectives and managing all incident operations.

Typical operations structures might look like:
Source: FEMA - NIMS Basic

NIMS Basic - The Incident Command System
  IS-100.a Introduction to Incident Command System, I-100 at
  NIMS - National Incident Management System at

What is an Incident Command System? at
ICS Incident Command System for Amateur Radio

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last updated 18 Dec 2009