OSMS and YOU: Incident Management and Preparedness

This blog post is the tenth in a series of posts highlighting the various specialties and sub-specialties offered by the recently launched Officer Specialty Management System. Stay tuned as we share key information about each specialty/sub-specialty in the coming weeks!



Written by Kevin Sligh 

Incident management is a critical function that spans all Coast Guard missions. Strength in incident management and an in-depth understanding of working with the interagency is integral to the Response Operations Ashore specialty. Whether an earthquake, hurricane, oil spill, terrorist attack, national special security event, marine transportation disruption, or any other maritime incident, the Coast Guard must be ready to respond with swift, well coordinated actions to ensure the safety, security, and stewardship of the nation’s waterways. Coast Guard personnel at Sectors, deployable specialized forces, and operational commands must be trained and demonstrate proficiency in interagency operations and effective use of the Incident Command System or ICS.

OAR-16, Incident Management, is an officer specialty code that applies to both active duty and reserve officers. This specialty documents proficiency and expertise in incident management as well as use of the ICS to carry out Coast Guard missions. OAR-16 has three levels of proficiency; Apprentice, Journeyman and Master; with each level having defined qualification and currency requirements.

The Apprentice level requires basic ICS training, position specific incident management training, and attainment of an entry level ICS Type 3 qualification. After completing the initial competency at the Apprentice level, Officers are expected to advance their knowledge, skills and experience while attaining higher ICS qualifications and certifications required at the Journeyman and Master levels. This includes actively participating in real world events, drills and exercises. The progression through the levels of OAR-16 corresponds to higher levels of qualification in ICS. The Master level requires certification as an ICS Type 1 or Type 2 Incident Commander, Planning Section Chief, or Operations Section Chief.

ICS courses required for competencies cannot be waived. Additional information on ICS training and competencies.

OAR-16, Incident Management is open to CG civilian employees and Auxiliarists with experience in emergency or incident management. The Office of Contingency Preparedness and Exercise Policy (CG-CPE) is currently working with the Coast Guard Auxiliary National Staff to apply OAR-16 to Auxiliary personnel.

Documentation of training, qualifications, experience and proficiency is required and critical to attaining OAR-16, Incident Management. Use of ICS Form 225 – Personnel Performance Rating – is very helpful and encouraged in documenting a member’s performance during exercises or real world events. Submission of these forms allows reviewers and board members to clearly identify levels and quality of incident management performance for both the OAR-16 and the ICS Type 1 and Type 2 Certification Boards. When applying for OAR-16 or ICS certification boards, experience must also be clearly outlined with a command endorsed memo that will accompany the CG-5319A.

Questions regarding OAR-16, Incident Management can be directed to Mr. Kevin Sligh or Lt. Cmdr. Robert Gore, Incident Management and Crisis Response Division at the Coast Guard Office of Contingency Preparedness and Exercise Policy (CG-CPE).

Officers can also find more information on the Officer Specialty Management System(OSMS)


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