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Kadena to change crisis response procedures

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Kadena will soon transform how it responds to emergencies and crises when the new Air Force Incident Management System is fully implemented here. 

The system, called AFIMS, standardizes the planning, preparedness, response and recovery efforts for incidents and accidents. 

It also brings Kadena and the Air Force in line with a Homeland Security directive, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5, in which President George W. Bush called for a single, comprehensive national system for managing emergencies and disasters. 

Under HSPD-5, the National Response Plan and the National Incident Management System were initiated to effectively coordinate and control the limited emergency response and support resources. 

In March 2006, Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne introduced AFIMS, stating the management system will standardize planning, preparedness, response and recovery efforts. "AFIMS will ensure our military-unique command and control requirements remain sound to execute critical mission-oriented operations while simultaneously meeting the intent of national policy and guidance," Mr. Wynne said. 

According to Senior Master Sgt. Robert McAfee, superintendent of the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness and Emergency Management Flight, the driving force behind HSPD-5 and AFIMS was "to get all emergency response teams at federal, state, county and local levels, as well as military units at home and overseas, on a common operating picture." 

For Kadena, this means a dramatic change to its Disaster Control Group, the main cadre of personnel who respond to incidents and accidents. 

"The current Disaster Response Force construct has served the Air Force well since 1965," said Sergeant McAfee. "However, in order to have 'plug and play' capability, we must fall in line with our counterparts outside the wire, whether they are from the municipal, county, state or federal levels or even from our sister services." 

Sergeant McAfee said that AFIMS will apply during both peacetime and wartime.
"There will no longer be a peacetime versus wartime construct," he said. "DCG roles won't change whether they are in garrison or deployed. AFIMS is geared toward simplifying things for everybody involved in incident response." 

Full implementation of AFIMS will occur in two phases over the next three years.
"The first phase will focus on Kadena's response procedures, including developing policies, guidance, inspection criteria, evaluation criteria and planning templates," Sergeant McAfee said. Kadena will accomplish the first phase by December. 

"The second phase will include improving training, exercises and identifying and correcting any capability flaws," Sergeant McAfee said. "This phase will be accomplished by December 2009."