Washington, D.C. - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) recently announced the transition of the Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS), a full-time emergency response capability, to the Worldwide Incident Command Services Corporation (WICS). WICS is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation and DHS S&T Technology Transition Partner that provides technical and operational support to the NICS user community. This innovative first responder technology was originally developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory as a tool that provides emergency response agencies and first responders with improved communications and situational awareness.
NICS is a mobile, web-based system that facilitates collaboration and enhances situational awareness across all levels of response agencies, government, and the private sector during emergency incidents. The system is designed to improve safety and enable operational efficiencies, particularly for responders who must make timely decisions under extreme pressure to save lives and prevent damages.
NICS can be operated from a computer, smart phone, or tablet with a web browser and Internet connectivity. Additionally, to enable ease-of-use for all responders, no software needs to be installed for basic NICS functions. For mobile users, an enhanced Android-based version is available, and an iOS version is scheduled for beta release in the summer of 2015.
NICS currently has about 3,300 registered users from 570 organizations in 40 U.S. states and five foreign countries, and has been effectively used in more than 330 actual emergencies and at numerous large events such as marathons and sports events. NICS was tested in real-time fire situations by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
As NICS transitions from research and development to a fully sustainable, full-time emergency response capability, WICS will provide hosting, support, and enhancements, as well as emergency planner and first responder access to NICS as a low-cost service. The transition of NICS into the WICS-hosted environment is scheduled for late spring of 2015.