Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2015

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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71 Spring 2015 Proceedings RDML Austin: By delegating FOSC authority, there is cer- tainly value added. The sector commander is able to retain span of control. Major incidents like hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, large multi-faceted incidents with major port dam- age, MTSRU and hazmat issues, are perfect for incident- specifc designation. Even a Type 3 response can be delegated if the complex- ity warrants it. By being able to delegate the FOSC author- ity in complex cases to the NSF, the sector commander can focus on other aspects of the response. Letters of delegation should contain specifc task direction, delegation of author- ity, and should also establish commander's critical informa- tion requirements. CK: Is there anything else you would like to add? If you could share anything with future crisis managers, what would you share? RDML Austin: First, when considering the dynamics of the incident (the crisis) and the event (the politics), what we are seeing now is the emergence of a new "normal." Media is faster, more decentralized, and more intense. Social media has changed the dynamics of information availability and has made crises at all levels more severe in their percep- tion. This is where meta-tools and crowd sourcing become very valuable. The National Football League and other major businesses already use these tools. It may make sense to pur- sue social media and these meta-tools with our basic order- ing agreements for response. There may even be value in using the public as ad hoc feld observers — " #oilonthebeach." During the height of the Deepwater Horizon response, there was too much work for one incident commander to do alone. CAPT Roger Laferriere (ret.) was the designated incident commander and I was his deputy for the Houma incident command post. He delegated the authority to make deci- sions within the incident command post to me to ensure the ICS planning cycle and other decisions internal to the response organization could be made in his absence. He was the public face of the incident, meeting with govern- ment offcials and responders in the feld, and I ensured all planning activities and critical decisions needed internal to the response occurred in a timely manner. Span of control management — ensuring there is not a single point of fail- ure — is key. In that particular response, the hardest thing to do was gain concurrence with your options — creating consensus from varying perspectives is always a formidable challenge. Event management — addressing the politics — requires both capacity and resources. You need the capacity in your staff to manage the infux of increased attention, but you also need resources to respond externally to issues that may crop up. When you effectively manage the event, you are able to address the public's concerns and reduce their "outrage." Less outrage can shorten the response signifcantly. This is why outreach is so important in the initial hours. In closing, to quote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "Don't panic!" If there's one thing about a crisis — you want to be in control. Initially, there will be lots of moving pieces. There will be things you've seen and some things you have never seen. Do not let the size and sheer enormity over- power you. "Don't panic!" — The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy As the crisis unfolds, take a minute to assess the situation and move forward. Defne what you know and what you do not. Ask yourself: "What have I seen before? What is famil- iar? What is totally unfamiliar?" Assemble a core team to help you. Identify your key stake- holders and get them involved early. Remember the differ- ence between the incident and the event; you'll need to man- age both. It is crucial not to let the event overwhelm you. RDML Meredith Austin is the commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Per- sonnel Service Center. Previous assignments include serving as chief of staff of U.S. Coast Guard District 14, and commander of Sector Delaware Bay, the Pacifc Strike Team, and the National Strike Force Coordination Center. She is a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy, and she holds an M.S. in public health in industrial hygiene from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and an M.A. in homeland security from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. RDML Austin is a NIMS-certifed Type I incident commander, and has earned the designations of certifed industrial hygienist and certifed emergency manager. LT Christopher Kimrey is the assistant chief of Incident Management U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Francisco. He has 16 years of diverse all- hazard response experience, ranging from major hurricanes to seven of the most recent major oil spills in U.S. history and holds NIMS certifca- tions as Type 1 operations and Type 2 planning chief.

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