February 2022

DEC Bulletin

There is a new amateur radio auxiliary communicator position being incorporated by many states under the National Incident Management System (NIMS). These Auxiliary Communicators (AUXCOMM) are classified as Technical Specialists (THSP) within the ICS/NIMS framework. The incident commander will have final authority where these AUXCOMM volunteers will reside within their command.

In the ICS/NIMS framework is the Logistics Branch. One of the components of the logistic branch is the Communications Unit. Within the communications Unit is the Technical Specialists (THSP) group. Within the THSP unit is the AUXCOMM group. AUXCOMM personnel are led by an Auxiliary Communications Manager (ACM) who assists the Communications Leader (COML). The AUXCOMM personnel supports the operational and technical aspects of the auxiliary communications unit. They maintain and/or operate the AUXCOMM network, and they staff AUXCOMM positions.

The AUXCOMM operators are made up of ARES®, CERT, CAP, MARS, or RACES operators. When they report for duty as an AUXCOMM Volunteer there is no distinction of their affiliation. All amateur attire is left at home. The dress code is casual or business casual attire. The AUXCOMM Communicators perform duties of a Radio Operator (RADO), Technician, other THSP duties as required and/or assigned depending on their training. They operate voice, digital, satellite, VoIP, and other modes if equipment is available. The RADO can be sent to the Incident Command Center (ICC) to be a scribe and document all radio and telephone messages. He/she can staff a data position and be responsible for operating data communications equipment. The AUXCOMM volunteer is assigned to a supervisor and will only perform duties assign by their immediate supervisor.

The AUXCOMM training course is a 20-hour resident course. It is provided by the Department of Homeland Security. The instructors are amateur radio operators themselves. Upon completion of the course there is a workbook that can be completed. The workbook will be evaluated by the Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC) who can grant a state certification. The course is geared specifically for amateur radio operators who are dedicated to being an EMCOMM volunteer. To be an EMCOMM volunteer takes a commitment that is not to be taken lightly.

The terms ARES® and Amateur Radio Emergency Service® is both registered trademarks of the American Radio Relay League, Inc. and are used by permission.

Questions and comments are always welcome and encouraged. Send email to the address shown below.

Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT

Amateur Radio Emergency Service

DEC, District 6, WTX Section

Email: kb5hpt@arrl.net