pdf icon NARP Supplement DoDM3150.08


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Close physical or electrical proximity to a nuclear weapon in such a manner as to allow the opportunity to tamper with or damage a nuclear weapon. For example, a person would not be considered to have access if an escort or a guard was provided for either the person or the weapon when the person is in close proximity to the weapon.

Access to Classified Material

The ability and opportunity to get knowledge of classified information. For access to classified information the following general restrictions apply:

  • Favorable determination of eligibility for access has been made by the Head of an Agency or his or her designee.
  • The person has signed an approved nondisclosure agreement; and
  • The person has a need to know the information.

Accident Response Group (ARG)

A DOE/NNSA asset comprised of technical and scientific experts with specialized equipment. The ARG includes a cadre of senior scientific advisors, weapons engineers and technicians, experts in nuclear safety and high-explosive safety, health physicists, radiation control technicians, industrial hygienists, physical scientists, packaging and transportation specialists, and other specialists from the DOE/NNSA weapons complex. The ARG maintains readiness to provide DOE technical assistance to peacetime accidents involving U.S. nuclear weapons and components anywhere in the world.

Accident Scene

The area surrounding an Accident Site from which all non-essential personnel are evacuated or excluded.

Accident Site

An area within the NDA, NSA, WRA, Weapon Storage Area, Restricted Area (RA), or Safety and Security Zone (SSZ) containing the affected weapon(s), warhead(s), special nuclear material (SNM), and any potential damaged buildings, vehicles, and personal property affected by the accident. Additionally, the accident site will include response personnel, equipment, and resources necessary to control entry and access to the affected area, and to plan and organize health and safety matters, weapons recovery, and other operations essential to recovery from the emergency.

Accident Site Consolidation

The third phase of the response to a nuclear weapon accident. It is marked by the arrival of a robust cadre of DoD and DOE/NNSA response assets to the accident site. It grows out of the initial response phase and begins once immediate life-saving and firefighting activities are completed.

Accident Site Health Group (ASHG)

A group of health and safety experts, staffed by representatives from the Department of Defense and the DOE/NNSA. The ASHG will ensure the health and safety of all on-site personnel during recovery from a nuclear weapon accident and all associated hazards, not just radiological hazards. The ASHG was formerly known as the Joint Hazard Evaluation Center.


The intensity of a radioactive source or the quantity of radioactive material that is transformed into a more stable element over a period of time. Unit of activity is a curie (Ci) or a Becquerel (Bq).

Aerial Measuring System (AMS)

A DOE/NNSA asset consisting of fixed and rotary wing aircraft used to perform aerial radiation surveys and radioactive source searches which are able to confirm the release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere, track the radiation plume, map the radioactive ground deposition, and provide aerial photography.


A division of government with a specific function, offering a particular kind of assistance. In ICS, agencies are defined either as jurisdictional (having statutory responsibility for incident management) or as assisting or cooperating (providing resources or other assistance).

Agency Representative

A person assigned by a primary, assisting, or cooperating Federal, State, local, or tribal government agency or private entity that has been delegated authority to make decisions affecting that agency’s or organization’s participation in incident management activities, following appropriate consultation with the leadership of that agency.

Air Force Institute for Operational Health (AFIOH)

A U.S. Air Force (USAF) unit that provides consultant, engineering, and analytical support in radiological, occupational, and environmental health programs.

Air Force Radiation Assessment Team (AFRAT)

A field-qualified 37-person team of worldwide deployable health physicists, industrial hygienists, and laboratory technicians stationed at the Air Force Institute for Operational Health. Assets include a forward deployed field laboratory, supplemented by reach-back radioanalytical capability at Brooks City Base, TX.

Air Sampler

A device used to collect samples of and measure the amounts of various pollutants or other substances in the air. As related to radiation, this device is used to collect radioactive particulates suspended in the air.

Airborne Radioactivity

Any radioactive material suspended in the atmosphere.


A designated location in an area of operations used as a base for supply and evacuation by air.

Alpha Particle Radiation

A positively charged particle made up of two neutrons and two protons, emitted by certain radioactive nuclei. Alpha particles may be stopped by thin layers of light materials such as a sheet of paper or the outer layer of the exposed person’s skin and therefore pose no direct or external radiation threat. However, if internalized, they may pose a health risk.

Area Command (Unified Area Command)

An organization established 1.) to oversee the management of multiple incidents that are each being handled by an ICS organization or 2.) to oversee the management of large or multiple incidents to which several Incident Management Teams have been assigned. Area Command has the responsibility to set overall strategy and priorities, allocate critical resources according to priorities, ensure that incidents are properly managed, and ensure that objectives are met and strategies followed. Area Command becomes Unified Area Command when incidents are multijurisdictional. Area Command may be established at an emergency operations center facility or at some location other than an incident command post.


The configuration of a nuclear weapon in which a single signal initiates the action for a nuclear detonation.

Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI)

A tri-Service facility in Bethesda , MD , that conducts research in the field of radiobiology and related matters essential to the operational and medical support of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Military Services. The AFRRI provides the Medical Radiobiology Advisory Team (MRAT), and also provides educational courses such as, “The Medical Effects of Ionizing Radiation.” (See http://www.afrri.usuhs.mil)


The evaluation and interpretation of measurements and other information to provide a basis for decision-making.


Tasks given to resources to perform within a given operational period that are based on operational objectives defined in the Incident Action Plan (IAP).


Title for subordinates of principal Command Staff positions. The title indicates a level of technical capability, qualifications, and responsibility subordinate to the primary positions. Assistants may also be assigned to unit leaders.

Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC)

A DOE/NNSA asset for providing real-time computer modeling to assess events involving the release of radiological materials and other hazardous chemicals into the atmosphere.

Available Resources

Resources assigned to an incident, checked in, and available for use, normally located in a Staging Area.

Background Count

In connection with health protection, the contribution of background radiation to a measurement of radioactivity.

Background Radiation

The radioactivity and radiation in the environment, including both natural and a very small amount of manmade radioactive material. Nuclear (or ionizing) radiation arising from within the body and from the surroundings to which individuals are always exposed. It approximates 360 millirem (mrem) a year.

Becquerel (Bq)

The International System unit of activity of a radionuclide, equal to the activity of a quantity of a radionuclide having one spontaneous nuclear transformation a second. The traditional unit of activity is the Curie.


See Nuclear Weapon Incident.

Beta Particle Radiation

An electron or positron emitted by an atomic nucleus during radioactive decay. Beta radiation may be harmful depending on the dose and time of exposure and is easily shielded by aluminum.


The determination of type, quantity, concentration, and/or location of radioactive material in the body using either direct measurements of the body or analysis of biological material removed (blood, saliva) or excreted (feces, urine) from the body.


A laboratory method for determining a person's dose of ionizing radiation by analyzing certain components of the blood.


The organizational level having functional or geographical responsibility for major aspects of incident and accident operations. A branch is organizationally situated between the section and the division or group in the Operations Section, and between the section and units in the Logistics Section. Branches are identified by the use of Roman numerals or by functional area.


See Nuclear Weapon Accident.


Any person who is declared dead or is missing, ill, or injured.

Catastrophic Incident

Any natural or manmade incident, including terrorism, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, and/or government functions. A catastrophic event could result in sustained national impacts over a prolonged period of time; almost immediately exceeds resources normally available to State, local, tribal, and private-sector authorities in the impacted area; and significantly interrupts governmental operations and emergency services to such an extent that national security could be threatened. All catastrophic events are Incidents of National Significance.

Chain of Command

A series of command, control, executive, or management positions in hierarchical order of authority.


The process through which resources first report to an incident or accident. Check-in locations include the incident command post, Resources Unit, incident base, camps, staging areas, or directly on the site.


The ICS title for individuals responsible for management of functional sections: Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance/Administration, and Intelligence (if established as a separate section).

Close Proximity

Within two-arms’ reach or 6 to 7 ft. of a weapon or SNM.

Coastal Zone

As defined by the National Contingency Plan (NCP), means all U.S. waters subject to tide, U.S. waters of the Great Lakes, specified ports and harbors on inland rivers, waters of the contiguous zone, other water of the high seas subject to the NCP, the land surface or land substrata, ground waters, and ambient air proximal to those waters. The term “coastal zone” delineates an area of Federal responsibility for response action. Precise boundaries are determined by EPA/USCG agreements and identified in Regional Contingency Plans (RCPs).


The act of directing, ordering, or controlling by virtue of explicit statutory, regulatory, or delegated authority.

Command Staff

In an incident or accident management organization, the Command Staff consists of the Incident Command and the special staff positions of Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, and other positions as required, e.g., legal and medical advisor who report directly to the Incident Commander. They may have an assistant or assistants, as needed.

Community Recovery

In the context of the National Response Plan (NRP) and its annexes, the process of assessing the effects of an Incident of National Significance, defining resources, and developing and implementing a course of action to restore and revitalize the socioeconomic and physical structure of a community.

Communications Unit

An organizational unit in the Logistics Section responsible for providing communication services at an incident or an Emergency Operations Center (EOC). A Communications Unit may also be a facility (e.g., a trailer or mobile van) used to support an Incident Communications Center.

Consequence Management (CM)

Actions taken to maintain or restore essential services and manage and mitigate problems resulting from disasters and catastrophes, including natural, manmade, or terrorist incidents.


The deposition and/or absorption of radioactive or other hazardous or toxic material on or by structures, areas, personnel, or objects where it is not desired.

Contamination Control

Procedures to avoid, reduce, remove, or render harmless, temporarily or permanently, nuclear or other hazardous or toxic materials contamination to maintain or enhance the efficient conduct of operations.

Contamination Control Line (CCL)

A line that initially extends 100 m beyond the known and/or suspected radiological contamination to provide a measure of safety. Once the Contamination Control Station (CCS) is operational, the CCL becomes the outer boundary that separates the reduced hazard area from the clean area.

Contamination Control Station (CCS)

An area specifically designated for allowing ingress and egress of personnel and equipment to and/or from the Hazards Area/Radiological Control Area (RCA, also called the Exclusion Zone). The outer boundary of the CCS is the CCL, and the inner boundary is the line segment labeled the hot line.

Contiguous Zone

The zone of the high seas, established by the United States under Article 24 of the Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone that is contiguous to the territorial sea and that extends 9 miles seaward from the outer limit of the territorial sea.

Continental United States (CONUS)

U.S. territory, including the adjacent territorial waters, located in North America between Canada and Mexico .

Cooperating Agency

An agency supplying assistance other than direct operational or support functions or resources to the incident or accident management effort.


To advance systematically an analysis and exchange of information among principals who have or may have a need to know certain information to carry out specific incident or accident management responsibilities.

Coordinating Agency

The Coordinating Agency is the Federal agency that owns, has custody of, authorizes, regulates, or is otherwise designated responsibility for the nuclear/radioactive material or nuclear weapon. Coordinating Agencies are responsible for the implementation of processes detailed in the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex of the NRP and have primary responsibilities for Federal activities related to the nuclear/radiological aspects of the incident or accident. DHS may assume overall responsibility for Federal coordination of the response, while the Coordinating Agency would be responsible for supporting DHS in this mission. The Coordinating Agency was formerly known as the Lead Federal Agency (LFA).

Credible Threat

A threat which one party finds sufficiently believable based upon a variety of variables, including intelligence, past experience, etc., that the party will undertake actions based upon the assumption that the threat will be executed. In principle, a threat is credible if it is in the best interest of the party making the threat to carry it out.

Critical Infrastructures

Systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.

Critical Nuclear Weapons Design Information (CNWDI)

Top-secret restricted data (RD) or secret restricted data revealing the theory of operation or design of the components of a thermonuclear or implosion-type fission bomb, warhead, demolition munition, or test device. Specifically excluded is information concerning arming, fusing, and firing systems; limited life components; and totally contained quantities of fissionable, fusionable, and high-explosive materials by type.

Cultural Resources

Cultural resources include historic and prehistoric structures, archeological sites, cultural landscapes, and museum collections.

Cumulative Dose (Radiation)

The total dose resulting from repeated exposure to radiation in the same region or of the whole body, including multiple exposures or internal doses delivered over time.

Curie (Ci)

The traditional unit of activity; the activity of a quantity of any radioactive nuclide undergoing 37 billion disintegrations per second; the amount of activity in 1 gram of radium. The International System unit of activity is the Becquerel (Bq). One Curie = 3.7 x 1010 Bq.


The responsibility for the control of, transfer and movement of, and access to weapons and components. Custody also includes the maintenance of and accountability for weapons, components, and radioactive materials.

Decay (Radioactive)

The spontaneous decrease in the radiation intensity or mass of any radioactive material with respect to time.


The process of making any person, object, or area safe within acceptable limits by absorbing, making harmless, or removing contaminated material clinging to or around it.

Decontamination Station

A building or location suitably equipped and organized where personnel and material are cleansed of radiological and other hazardous or toxic contaminants.

Defense Senior Official (DSO)

The Official who supports the IC by managing DoD emergency response assets during a nuclear weapon accident or incident when the Department of Defense is the Coordinating Agency. When the Department of Defense is not the Coordinating Agency, the DoD SO is responsible for C2 and coordination of DoD emergency response assets to support the IC. The DoD SO serves as the DoD senior spokesperson when the Department of Defense is not the Coordinating Agency.

Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA)

Refers to DoD support provided by Federal military forces, DoD civilians and contract personnel, and DoD agencies and components, in response to requests for assistance during domestic incidents to include terrorist threats or attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.


The ordered movement of a resource or resources to an assigned operational mission or an administrative move from one location to another.


A fully qualified individual who, in the absence of a superior, could be delegated the authority to manage a functional operation or perform a specific task. In some cases, a deputy could act as relief for a superior and therefore must be fully qualified in the position. Deputies can be assigned to the Incident Commander, General Staff, Section Chiefs, and Branch Directors.


See Major Disaster.


The partition of an incident into geographical areas of operation. Divisions are established when the number of resources exceeds the manageable span of control of the Operations Chief. A division is located within the ICS organization between the branch and resources in the Operations Section.


The amount of energy absorbed per unit mass of material, or the time integrated dose rate. The International System unit of dose is the gray (Gy). The traditional unit of dose is radiation absorbed dose (rad).


The measurement of radiation dose. It applies to both the devices used (dosimeters) and to the techniques.

Emergency Management Team (EMT)

The DOE Headquarters’ (HQ) senior management team that coordinates and supports the departmental response to radiological emergencies.

Emergency Operations Center(EOC)

The physical location at which the coordination of information and resources to support domestic incident management activities normally takes place. An EOC may be a temporary facility or may be located in a more central or permanently established facility, perhaps at a higher level of organization within a jurisdiction. EOCs may be organized by major functional disciplines (e.g., fire, law enforcement, and medical services), by jurisdiction (e.g., Federal, State, regional, county, city, tribal), or by some combination thereof.

Emergency Response Provider

Includes Federal, State, local, and tribal emergency public safety, law enforcement, emergency response, emergency medical (including hospital emergency facilities), and related personnel, agencies, and authorities. (See reference (e)). Also known as “emergency responder” or “first responder.”

Emergency Support Function (ESF)

A grouping of government and certain private-sector capabilities into an organizational structure to provide the support, resources, program implementation, and services that are most likely to be needed to save lives, protect property and the environment, restore essential services and critical infrastructure, and help victims and communities return to normal, when feasible, following domestic incidents. The ESFs serve as the primary operational-level mechanism to provide assistance to State, local, and tribal governments or to Federal departments and agencies conducting missions of primary Federal responsibility.


Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, an emergency is any occasion or instance for which, in the determination of the President, Federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States. Absent a Presidentially-declared emergency, any incident(s), human-caused or natural, that requires responsive action to protect life or property.

Entry Control Point (ECP)

The place where entry into and exit from the CCL, Security Station, NDA/NSA, or classified material working space is controlled. It is located on the disaster cordon near the on-scene control point.


Natural and cultural resources and historic properties as those terms are defined in this glossary and in relevant laws.

Environmental Response Team

Established by the EPA, the Environmental Response Team includes expertise in biology, chemistry, hydrology, geology, and engineering. The Environmental Response Team provides technical advice and assistance to the IC for both planning and response to discharges and releases of oil and hazardous substances into the environment.

Explosive Ordnance

All munitions containing explosives, nuclear fission or fusion materials, and biological and chemical agents. This ordnance includes bombs and warheads; guided and ballistic missiles; and artillery, mortar, rocket, and small arms ammunition. It also includes all mines, torpedoes, and depth charges; pyrotechnics; clusters and dispensers; cartridges and propellant actuated devices; electro-explosive devices; clandestine and improvised explosive device (IED); and all similar or related items or components that are explosive in nature.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)

The detection, identification, on-site evaluation, rendering safe, recovery, and final disposal of unexploded explosive ordnance. It may also include explosive ordnance which has become hazardous by damage or deterioration.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)Procedures

Those particular courses or modes of action taken by EOD personnel for access to, diagnosis, rendering safe, recovery, and final disposal of explosive ordnance or any Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) associated with an EOD incident.

  • Access Procedures. Those actions to locate exactly and gain access to unexploded ordnance.
  • Diagnostic Procedures. Those actions taken to identify and evaluate unexploded explosive ordnance.
  • Render Safe Procedures (RSPs). The part of the EOD procedures involving the application of special EOD methods and tools to interrupt functions or separate essential components of unexploded explosive ordnance to prevent an unacceptable detonation.
  • Recovery Procedures. Those actions taken to recover unexploded explosive ordnance.
  • Final Disposal Procedures. The final disposal of explosive ordnance which may include demolition or burning in place, removal to a disposal area, or other appropriate means.


Organized, phased, and supervised withdrawal, dispersal, or removal of persons from dangerous or potentially dangerous areas, and their reception and care in safe areas.


A planned, non-emergency activity. ICS can be used as the management system for a wide range of events, e.g., parades, concerts, or sporting events.

Exclusion Zone

An area within the incident or accident site where contamination is present and the highest possibility for worker exposure to hazardous waste occurs.

Explosive Safety Quantity Distance (ESQD) Standards

Standards for the amounts and kinds of explosives that may be stored and the proximity of such storage to buildings, highways, railways, magazines, and other installations. These standards may be found in DoD 6055.9-STD, reference (f).


The level of radiation flux to which a material or living tissue is exposed. The actual dose of radiation from the exposure depends on many factors including length of exposure time, the distance from the radiation source, and the amount of shielding between the radiation source and the exposed object.

Facility Management

Facility selection and acquisition, building services, information systems, communications, safety and health, and physical security.


Of or pertaining to the Federal Government of the United States of America .

Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO)

The Federal officer who is appointed to manage Federal resource support activities related to Stafford Act disasters and emergencies. The FCO is responsible for coordinating the timely delivery of Federal disaster assistance resources and programs to the affected State and local governments, individual victims, and the private sector.

Federal Emergency Communications Coordinator (FECC)

That person, assigned by General Services Administration (GSA), who functions as the principal Federal manager for emergency telecommunications requirements in major disasters, emergencies, and extraordinary situations, when requested by the FCO or Federal Resource Coordinator (FRC).

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The Federal Agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which establishes policy and coordinates all civil defense and civil emergency planning, management, mitigation, and assistance functions of executive agencies in response to emergencies which require Federal response assistance. The FEMA assists State and local agencies in their emergency planning. Its primary role in a radiological accident is one of coordinating Federal, State, local, and volunteer response actions.

  • National Interagency Emergency Operations Center (NIEOC). The NIEOC is the location in the FEMA HQ in Washington , DC , from which the Emergency Support Team (EST) provides coordination support for Federal and State emergency response activities to a radiological accident or emergency.
  • Emergency Response Team (ERT). An interagency team, headed by the FEMA, deployed to a radiological emergency scene by the FEMA Director to make an initial assessment of the situation and then provide the FEMA’s primary response capability.
  • Emergency Support Team (EST). The FEMA HQ team that carries out notification activation and coordination procedures from the FEMA NIEOC. The EST obtains HQ coordination for Federal Agencies and supports staff of the FEMA Director and the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO).

Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC)

The Federal official predesignated by the EPA or the USCG to coordinate responses under subpart D of the National Contingency Plan (NCP), or the government official designated to coordinate and direct removal actions under subpart E of the NCP.

Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC)

A coalition of all Federal resources that coordinates and manages the Federal off-site radiological monitoring and assessment activities during major radiological emergencies within the United States . The FRMAC works in support of State, local, and tribal governments through the Coordinating Agency/LFA.

Federal Resource Coordinator (FRC)

The Federal official appointed to manage Federal resource support activities related to non-Stafford Act incidents. The FRC is responsible for coordinating support from other Federal departments and agencies using interagency agreements and MOUs.

Field Instrument for the Detection of Low-Energy Radiation (FIDLER)

A field survey instrument specifically designed to measure low-energy X rays and gamma rays from weapons-grade plutonium (Pu).

Film Badge

A photographic film packet or badge sometimes carried by non-U.S. personnel for measuring and recording gamma ray dosage permanently. Regularly replaced by Thermoluminescent Dosimetry.

Final Disposal Procedures

See Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Procedures.

First Responders

Local and nongovernmental police, fire, and emergency personnel who in the early stages of an incident are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property, evidence, and the environment, including emergency response providers as defined in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (reference (e)), as well as emergency management, public health, clinical care, public works, and other skilled support personnel (such as equipment operators) who provide immediate support services during prevention, response, and recovery operations. First responders may include personnel from Federal, State, local, tribal, or nongovernmental organizations. The IRF is considered a first responder.

Formerly Restricted Data (FRD)

Information removed from the restricted data category when the DOE (or antecedent Agencies) and the DoD jointly determine that such information relates primarily to the military use of atomic weapons and that such information may be adequately safeguarded as classified defense information. (Section 142d of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954, as amended (reference (g)).

Fragmentation Zone

A computed distance which fragments created by an explosion may be projected.

Gamma-Ray Radiation

High-energy electromagnetic radiation emitted from atomic nuclei during a nuclear reaction or radioactive decay. Gamma radiation requires thick layers of dense materials, such as lead, for shielding. Potentially lethal to humans, depending on the intensity of the field.

Geiger-Müller (GM) Counter

A GM counter is a gas ionization-type detector for gamma detection. They are most often used to detect beta and gamma rays. These counters are unable to distinguish gamma-ray energies and therefore may not be used to identify specific radionuclides.

General Staff

A group of incident management personnel organized according to function and reporting to the Incident Commander. The General Staff normally consists of the Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief, Logistics Section Chief, and Finance/Administration Section Chief.

Gray (Gy)

A unit of absorbed dose of radiation in the International System. The traditional system unit is radiation absorbed dose (rad). One centigray (cGy) equals one rad.

Ground Radioactivity

An undesirable radioactive substance dispersed on the ground.


Established to divide the incident management structure into functional areas of operation. Groups are composed of resources assembled to perform a special function not necessarily within a single geographic division. Groups, when activated, are located between branches and resources in the Operations Section. (See Division.)


The time required for the activity of a given radioactive element to decrease to half of its initial value due to radioactive decay. The physical half-life is a characteristic property of each radioactive element and is independent of its amount or physical form. The effective or biological half-life of a given isotope in the body is the time in which the quantity in the body decreases to half because of both radioactive decay and biological elimination.


Something that is potentially dangerous or harmful, often the root cause of an unwanted outcome.

Hazard Mitigation

Any cost-effective measure which will reduce the potential for damage to a facility or harm to individuals from a disaster event.

Hazard Prediction and Assessment Capability (HPAC)

The HPAC is a forward deployable modeling capability available for government, government-related, or academic use. This software tool assists in emergency response to hazardous agent releases. Its fast running, physics-based algorithms enable users to model and predict hazard areas and human collateral effects in minutes. The HPAC is able to predict the effects of HAZMAT releases into the atmosphere and their impact on civilian and military populations.

Hazardous Material (HAZMAT)

Any material that is flammable, corrosive, an oxidizing, explosive, toxic, poisonous, radioactive, nuclear, unduly magnetic, or chemical agent, biological research material, compressed gas, or any other material that, because of its quantity, properties, or packaging, may endanger life or property. For the purposes of ESF #1, hazardous material is a substance or material, including a hazardous substance, that has been determined by the Secretary of Transportation to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and which has been so designated (See reference (h)). For the purposes of ESF #10 and the Oil and Hazardous Materials Incident Annex, the term is intended to mean hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants as defined by the NCP.

Hazardous Substance

As defined by the NCP, any substance designated pursuant to section 1321 of the Clean Water Act (reference (i)); any element, compound, mixture, solution, or substance designated pursuant to section 102 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, reference (j)); any hazardous waste having the characteristics identified under or listed pursuant to the Solid Waste Disposal Act (reference (k)) (but not including any waste the regulation of which under the Solid Waste Disposal Act [reference (l)] has been suspended by act of Congress); any toxic pollutant listed under section 1317 of the Clean Water Act (reference (m)); any hazardous air pollutant listed under section 7412 of the Clean Air Act (reference (n)); and any imminently hazardous chemical substance or mixture with respect to which the EPA Administrator has taken action pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act (reference (o)).

High Explosive (HE)

An energetic material that detonates (instead of deflagrating or burning); the rate that the reaction zone advances into the unreacted material exceeds the velocity of sound in the unreacted material.

Historic Property

Any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, including artifacts, records, and remains which are related to such district, site, building, structure, or object (reference (p)).

Hot Line

The inner boundary of the CCS, marked with tape or line. The station personnel consider the area on the inner side of the line as being contaminated and the side away from the incident or accident as an area of reduced contamination.

Hot Spot

The region in a contaminated area in which the level of radioactive contamination is considerably greater than in neighboring regions in the area (about 10 times the surrounding area).

Hot Spot Health Physics Code

A fast, field-portable set of software modeling programs used for evaluating events involving radioactive material. The software is also used for safety-analysis of facilities handling nuclear material.

Hotspot Mobile Laboratory

The Hotspot Mobile Laboratory is a DOE/NNSA emergency response capability that analyzes radiation samples for incidents or accidents involving nuclear weapons and radioactive materials.

Human Reliability Program (HRP)

A program implemented for specifically tasked DOE personnel who handle, have access to, or control access to nuclear weapon systems and components. The program covers selection, screening, and evaluation of the personnel assigned to various nuclear duties. The program seeks to ensure that personnel coming under its purview are mentally and emotionally stable and reliable.


An unexpected event that presents the potential for negative consequences that may be caused by accidental or intentional acts, acts of God, unfavorable environmental conditions, or other factors.

Incident Action Plan (IAP)

An oral or written plan containing general objectives reflecting the overall strategy for managing an incident. It may include the identification of operational resources and assignments. It may also include attachments that provide direction and important information for management of the incident during one or more operational periods.

Incident Command Post (ICP)

The field location at which the primary tactical-level, on-scene incident command functions are performed. The ICP may be collocated with the incident base or other incident facilities and is normally identified by a green rotating or flashing light.

Incident Command System (ICS)

A standardized on-scene emergency management construct specifically designed to provide for the adoption of an integrated organizational structure that reflects the complexity and demands of single or multiple incidents, without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries. ICS is the combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating with a common organizational structure, designed to aid in the management of resources during incidents. ICS is used for all kinds of emergencies and is applicable to small as well as large and complex incidents. ICS is used by various jurisdictions and functional agencies, both public and private, or organized field-level incident management operations.

Incident Commander (IC)

The individual responsible for all incident activities, including the development of strategies and tactics and the ordering and the release of resources. The IC has overall authority and responsibility for conducting incident operations and is responsible for the management of all incident operations at the incident site.

Incident Management Team (IMT)

The Incident Commander and appropriate Command and General Staff personnel assigned to an incident.

Incident Mitigation

Actions taken during an incident designed to minimize impacts or contain the damages to property or the environment.

Incident Objectives

Statements of guidance and direction necessary for selecting appropriate strategy(s) and the tactical direction of resources. Incident objectives are based on realistic expectations of what can be accomplished when all allocated resources have been effectively deployed. Incident objectives must be achievable and measurable, yet flexible enough to allow strategic and tactical alternatives.

Information Officer

See Public Information Officer.


The manmade physical systems, assets, projects, and structures, publicly and/or privately owned, that are used by or provide benefit to the public. Examples of infrastructure include utilities, bridges, levees, drinking water systems, electrical systems, communications systems, dams, sewage systems, and roads.

Ingestion Pathway

The means by which a person is exposed to radiation through ingestion (i.e., hand-to-mouth).

Inhalation Pathway

The means by which a person at, or downwind from, the incident or accident area is subjected to respiratory radiation exposure.

Initial Actions

The actions taken by those responders first to arrive at an incident or accident site.

Initial Response

Resources initially committed to an incident.

Initial Response Force (IRF)

A tailored force dispatched from the closest military installation by the NMCC immediately upon notification of a nuclear weapon accident or nuclear or radiological incident. The IRF will assume military command of the accident site, provide security forces, set up a National Defense Area if appropriate, and establish a working relationship with the civilian incident commander IAW the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

  • If an IRF is deployed by specific request of the Department of Energy or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as custodial agencies for radiological materials, the IRF will coordinate with the DOE or NASA incident commander upon arrival at the accident site.
  • The IRF may include command and control, security, public affairs, hazardous material, EOD, communications, and logistics elements depending upon the request.

Initial Response Resources (IRR)

Disaster support commodities that may be pre-staged, in anticipation of a catastrophic event, at a Federal facility close to a disaster area for immediate application through an NRP ESF operation. The initial response resources are provided to victims and responders immediately after a disaster occurs. They are designed to augment State and local capabilities. DHS/EPR/FEMA Logistics Division stores and maintains critically needed initial response commodities for victims and responders and pre-positions supplies and equipment when required. The initial response resources include supplies (baby food, baby formula, blankets, cots, diapers, meals ready-to-eat, non-slip plastic sheeting, tents, and water) and equipment (emergency generators, industrial ice-makers, mobile kitchen kits, portable potties with service, portable showers, and refrigerated vans).

Inland Zone

As defined in the NCP, the environment inland of the coastal zone, excluding the Great Lakes and specified ports and harbors on the inland rivers. The term “coastal zone” delineates an area of Federal responsibility for response action. Precise boundaries are determined by EPA/USCG agreements and identified in RCPs.

Insensitive High Explosive (IHE)

HE that requires a shock of unusual strength to cause detonation. This relative insensitivity contributes to weapon safety.

Insular Areas

Non-State possessions of the United States . The insular areas include Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), American Samoa , the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the former World War II Trust Territories now known as the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands . These last two entities, known as Freely Associated States (FAS), are still connected with the United States through the Compact of Free Association.

Intelligence Officer

The intelligence officer is responsible for managing internal information, intelligence, and operational security requirements supporting incident or accident management activities. These may include information security and operational security activities, as well as the complex task of ensuring that sensitive information of all types (e.g., classified information, law enforcement sensitive information, proprietary information, or export-controlled information) is handled in a way that not only safeguards the information, but also ensures that it gets to those who need access to it to perform their missions effectively and safely.

Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC)

An interagency center responsible for production, coordination, and dissemination of consequence predictions for an airborne hazardous material release. The IMAAC generates the single Federal prediction of atmospheric dispersions and their consequences utilizing the best available resources from the Federal Government.

Joint Director of Military Support (JDOMS)

Plans for and commits DoD resources in response to requests from civil authorities, under DoD Directive 5101.1 (reference (q)). The JDOMS serves as the action agent for planning and executing the Department of Defense’s support mission to civilian authorities within the United States .

Joint Field Office (JFO)

A temporary Federal facility established locally to provide a central point for Federal, State, local, and tribal executives with responsibility for incident or accident oversight, direction, and/or assistance to effectively coordinate protection, prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery actions. The senior officials from each federal agency form what is known as the JFO Coordination Group within the JFO. The JFO will combine the traditional functions of the JOC, the FEMA DFO, and the JIC within a single Federal facility.

Joint Information Center (JIC)

A facility established to coordinate all incident- or accident-related public information activities. It is the central point of contact for all news media at the scene of the incident or accident. Public information officials from all participating agencies should collocate at the JIC.

Joint Operations Center (JOC)

The JOC is the focal point for all Federal investigative law enforcement activities during a terrorist or potential terrorist incident or any other significant criminal incident, and is managed by the SFLEO. The JOC becomes a component of the JFO if the SFO is activated.


A range or sphere of authority. Public agencies have jurisdiction at an incident or accident related to their legal responsibilities and authorities. Jurisdictional authority at an incident or accident can be political or geographical (e.g., city, county, tribal, State, or Federal boundary lines) or functional (e.g., law enforcement, public health). There are three types of jurisdiction with which the DoD IC needs to be concerned:

  • Exclusive Jurisdiction. In designated areas under exclusive jurisdiction, a single government (Federal, State, local, or tribal) has sole jurisdiction over the area. Many DoD installations have exclusive Federal jurisdiction. On those installations, the Federal government exercises executive, legislative, and judicial authority. On exclusive jurisdiction DoD installations, the DoD IC shall have sole authority over the incident or accident site. Outside the boundaries of a DoD installation, the Department of Defense will have exclusive jurisdiction within the boundaries of a declared National Defense Area (NDA – see the Security page), but will rarely have exclusive jurisdiction outside the NDA.
  • Concurrent Jurisdiction. In areas under concurrent jurisdiction, multiple governments (e.g., Federal and State or local governments) exercise simultaneous authority over the area. Essentially, this is dual jurisdiction. In nuclear weapon accidents or incidents, both on and off DoD installations, where concurrent jurisdiction applies, the DoD IC must work with State, local, and tribal civil authorities to conduct collective accident management activities. An NDA will normally be established around an accident occurring outside the boundaries of a DoD installation. It may also be necessary to establish an NDA if the accident is inside the boundaries of a DoD installation to ensure proper safeguarding of classified components and materials. In an accident that is within the boundaries of a DoD installation, the DoD IC should consult with local military legal professionals to determine the advisability of establishing and declaring an NDA.
  • Proprietary Jurisdiction. Proprietary jurisdiction applies in situations where a government entity has ownership of an area but has not retained jurisdiction. Under these circumstances, the owning government entity has the same rights as any other landowner. The State, local, or tribal government retains jurisdiction over the area and has the authority to enforce laws in the area. In a nuclear weapon accident or incident on Federal land under proprietary jurisdiction, the DoD IC can be held liable for issues involving law enforcement activities. Although very few installations fall into this category, if a nuclear weapon accident occurs in an area where the Department of Defense has proprietary jurisdiction, the DoD IC should establish an NDA and a Unified Command relationship with designated officials from the agencies with jurisdictional authority (see Unified Command).

Lead Federal Agency (LFA)

See Coordinating Agency. This term is still used for incidents and accidents that occur outside the United States .


A form of communication for establishing and maintaining mutual understanding and cooperation.

Liaison Officer

A member of the Command Staff responsible for coordinating with representatives from cooperating and assisting agencies.

Local Government

A county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority, school district, special district, intrastate district, council of governments (regardless of whether the council of governments is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under State law), regional or interstate government entity, or agency or instrumentality of a local government; an Indian tribe or authorized tribal organization or, in Alaska, a Native Village or Alaska Regional Native Corporation; or a rural community, unincorporated town or village, or other public entity (As defined in reference (r)).


Providing resources and other services to support incident or accident management. Logistics Section: The section responsible for providing facilities, services, and material support for the incident or accident.

Major Disaster

As defined under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (reference (s)), a major disaster is any natural catastrophe (including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought), or, regardless of cause, any fire, flood, or explosion, in any part of the United States, which, in the determination of the President, causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance under this Act to supplement the efforts and available resources of States, tribes, local governments, and disaster relief organizations in alleviating the damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused thereby.

Management by Objective

A management approach that involves a four-step process for achieving the response goal. The Management by Objectives approach includes the following: establishing overarching objectives; developing and issuing assignments, plans, procedures, and protocols; establishing specific, measurable objectives for various incident or accident management functional activities and directing efforts to fulfill them, in support of defined strategic objectives; and documenting results to measure performance and facilitate corrective action.

Materiel Management

Requisitioning and sourcing (requirements processing); acquisition, asset visibility (resource tracking), receipt, storage, and handling; security and accountability; inventory, deployment, issue, and distribution; and recovery, reuse, and disposition.

Maximum Permissible Dose

The radiation dose that a military commander or other appropriate authority may prescribe as the limiting cumulative radiation dose to be received over a specific period of time by members of the command, consistent with operational military considerations.

Medical Radiobiology Advisory Team (MRAT)

A team from the AFRRI of highly qualified radiation medicine physicians, health physicists, and related scientists who provide state-of-the-art advice and assistance to the U.S. Combatant Commanders, allied forces, Federal Agencies, State and local governments, and others on radiological matters including accidents and incidents involving nuclear weapons, nuclear reactors, radiological dispersal devices, and industrial and/or medical sources. The MRAT also provides expertise for managing and treating radiation casualties. The MRAT deploys as augmentees to the DTRA Consequence Management Advisory Team (CMAT).

Mission Assignment

The vehicle used by DHS/EPR/FEMA to support Federal operations in a Stafford Act major disaster or emergency declaration. It orders immediate, short-term emergency response assistance when an applicable State or local government is overwhelmed by the event and lacks the capability to perform, or contract for, the necessary work.


Activities designed to reduce or eliminate risks to persons or property or to lessen the actual or potential effects or consequences of an incident or accident. Mitigation measures may be implemented prior to, during, or after an incident or accident. Mitigation measures are often developed in accordance with lessons learned from prior incidents or accidents. Mitigation involves ongoing actions to reduce exposure to, probability of, or potential loss from hazards. Measures may include zoning and building codes, floodplain buyouts, and analysis of hazard-related data to determine where it is safe to build or locate temporary facilities. Mitigation can include efforts to educate governments, businesses, and the public on measures they can take to reduce loss and injury.


The process and procedures used by all organizations—Federal, State, local, and tribal—for activating, assembling, and transporting all resources that have been requested to respond to or support an incident or accident.

Mobilization Center

An off-site, temporary facility at which response personnel and equipment are received from the Point of Arrival and are pre-positioned for deployment to an incident or accident logistics base, to a local Staging Area, or directly to an incident or accident site, as required. A mobilization center also provides temporary support services, such as food and billeting, for response personnel prior to their assignment, release, or reassignment and serves as a place to out-process following demobilization while awaiting transportation.


The act of detecting the presence of radiation and the measurement thereof with radiation measuring instruments; the act of detecting the presence of other hazardous materials and the measurement thereof with suitable measuring instruments.

Multiagency Coordination System

Provides the architecture to support coordination for incident and accident prioritization, critical resource allocation, communications systems integration, and information coordination. The components of multiagency coordination systems include facilities, equipment, EOCs, specific multiagency coordination groups, personnel, procedures, and communications. The systems assist agencies and organizations to fully integrate the subsystems of NIMS.

Mutual Aid Agreement

Written agreement between agencies, organizations, and/or jurisdictions that they will assist one another on request by furnishing personnel, equipment, and/or expertise in a specified manner.


Of a nationwide character, including the Federal, State, local, and tribal aspects of governance and policy.

National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC)

A centralized computer-based system that estimates the transport, diffusion, and deposition of radioactive or other HAZMAT released to the atmosphere and projects doses to people and the environment.

National Communications System (NCS)

The telecommunications system resulting from the technical and operational integration of the separate telecommunications systems of the several Executive Branch departments and Agencies having significant telecommunications capability.

National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications

A joint telecommunications industry–Federal Government operation established to assist in the initiation, coordination, restoration, and reconstitution of NS/EP telecommunications services and facilities.

National Defense Area (NDA)

An area established on non-Federal or Federal lands located within the United States , its possessions, or its territories for safeguarding classified defense information or protecting DoD equipment and/or material. Establishment of an NDA temporarily places such lands under the effective control of the Department of Defense and results only from an emergency event. The senior DoD representative at the scene shall define the boundary, mark the boundary with a physical barrier, and post warning signs. The landowner’s consent and cooperation shall be obtained when possible; however, military necessity shall dictate the final decision on location, shape, and size of the NDA.

National Incident Management System (NIMS)

A system mandated by HSPD-5 that provides a consistent nationwide approach for Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, the private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity. To provide for interoperability and compatibility among Federal, State, local, and tribal capabilities, the NIMS includes a core set of concepts, principles, and terminology. HSPD-5 identifies these as the ICS; multiagency coordination systems; training; identification and management of resources (including systems for classifying types of resources); qualification and certification; and the collection, tracking, and reporting of incident information and incident resources.

National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP)

Maintained by the EPA in coordination with the National Response Team (NRT), the NCP provides the organizational structure and procedures for preparing for and responding to discharges of oil and releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants. To achieve this objective, the NCP establishes the NRT, Regional Response Teams (RRTs), and local Area Committees to coordinate planning and preparedness efforts. Federal On-Scene Coordinators coordinate response activities at the incident site. The NCP applies to oil discharges into or on the navigable waters of the United States (including adjoining shorelines and into the exclusive economic zone) and to releases into the environment of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants that may present an imminent and substantial danger to public health or welfare.

National Response Center

A national communications center for activities related to oil and hazardous substance response actions. The National Response Center , located at DHS/USCG Headquarters in Washington , DC , receives and relays notices of oil and hazardous substances releases to the appropriate Federal On-Scene Coordinator (OSC).

National Response Framework (NRF)

The document that establishes a comprehensive, national, all-hazards approach to domestic incident response. It replaces the National Response Plan (NRP).

National Response System

Pursuant to the NCP, the mechanism for coordinating response actions by all levels of government (reference (t)) for oil and hazardous substances spills and releases.

National Response Team (NRT)

The NRT, comprised of the 16 Federal agencies with major environmental and public health responsibilities, is the primary vehicle for coordinating Federal agency activities under the NCP. The NRT carries out national planning and response coordination and is the head of a highly organized Federal oil and hazardous substance emergency response network. EPA serves as the NRT Chair, and DHS/USCG serves as Vice Chair.

National Security and Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) Telecommunications

NS/EP telecommunications services are those used to maintain a state of readiness or to respond to and manage any event or crisis (local, national, or international) that causes or could cause injury or harm to the population, damage to or loss of property, or could degrade or threaten the NS/EP posture of the United States.

National Security Area (NSA)

An area established on non-Federal or Federal lands located in the United States, its possessions, or its territories, for safeguarding classified information, restricted data, or equipment and material belonging to the DOE/NNSA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Establishment of an NSA temporarily places such lands under the effective control of the DOE/NNSA or NASA and results only from an emergency event. The senior DOE/NNSA or NASA representative having custody of the material at the scene shall define the boundary, mark the boundary with a physical barrier, and post warning signs. The landowner’s consent and cooperation shall be obtained when possible; however, operational necessity shall dictate the final location, shape, and size of the NSA.

Natural Resources

Natural resources include land, fish, wildlife, domesticated animals, plants, biota, and water. Water means salt and fresh water, surface and ground water, including water used for drinking, irrigation, aquaculture, and recreational purposes, as well as in its capacity as fish and wildlife habitat, including coral reef ecosystems as defined in reference (u). Land means soil, surface and subsurface minerals, and other terrestrial features.

Nongovernmental Organization (NGO)

A nonprofit entity that is based on the interests of its members, individuals, or institutions and that is not created by a government, but may work cooperatively with government. Such organizations serve a public purpose, not a private benefit. Examples of NGOs include faith-based charity organizations and the American Red Cross.

Nuclear Component

The part of a nuclear weapon composed of fissionable or fusionable materials that contribute substantially to nuclear energy released during detonation. Nuclear components include radioactive boosting materials.

Nuclear Contribution

Explosive energy released by nuclear fission or fusion reactions as part of the total energy released by a radiological incident or accident.

Nuclear Detonation

A nuclear explosion resulting from fission or fusion reactions in nuclear materials, such as from a nuclear weapon.

Nuclear Incident Response Team (NIRT)

Created by the Homeland Security Act to provide DHS with a nuclear/radiological response capability. When activated, the NIRT consists of specialized Federal response teams drawn from DOE and/or EPA. These teams may become DHS operational assets providing technical expertise and equipment when activated during a crisis or in response to a nuclear/radiological incident as part of the DHS Federal response.

Nuclear Radiation

Particulate and electromagnetic radiation emitted from atomic nuclei in various nuclear processes. The important nuclear radiations, from the weapons effects standpoint, are alpha and beta particles, gamma rays, and neutrons.

Nuclear Weapon

A complete assembly (i.e., implosion type, gun type, or thermonuclear type), in its intended ultimate configuration which, on completion of the prescribed arming, fusing, and firing sequence, is able to produce the intended nuclear reaction and release of energy.

Nuclear Weapon Accident (flagword BROKEN ARROW)

An unexpected event involving nuclear weapons or radiological nuclear weapon components that results in any of the following:

  • Accidental or unauthorized launching, firing, or use by U.S. forces or U.S. supported allied forces of a nuclear-capable weapon system which could create the risk of an outbreak of war.
  • Loss or destruction of a nuclear weapon or radiological nuclear weapon component, including jettisoning.
  • An increase in the possibility of, or actual occurrence of, an explosion, a nuclear detonation, or radioactive contamination.
  • Non-nuclear detonation or burning of a nuclear weapon or radiological nuclear weapon component.
  • Public hazard, actual or implied.
  • Any act of God, unfavorable environment, or condition resulting in damage to the weapon, facility, or component.

Nuclear Weapon Incident (flagword BENT SPEAR)

An unexpected event, including intentional, willful acts, involving a nuclear weapon, facility, or component, resulting in any of the following, but not constituting a nuclear weapon(s) accident:

  • An increase in the possibility of, or actual occurrence of, an explosion, a nuclear detonation, or radioactive contamination.
  • Errors committed in the assembling, testing, loading, or transportation of equipment and materiel which might lead to an unintentional operation of all or part of the weapon arming or firing sequence or which could lead to a substantial change in yield or increased dud probability.
  • Loss or destruction of a nuclear weapon or radiological nuclear weapon component due to terrorist or enemy action (flagword EMPTY QUIVER, see Nuclear Weapon Theft).
  • Non-nuclear detonation or burning of a nuclear weapon or radiological nuclear weapon component.
  • Loss or destruction of a nuclear weapon or radiological nuclear weapon component, including jettisoning.
  • Public hazard, actual or implied.

Nuclear Weapon Theft (flagword EMPTY QUIVER)

The seizure, theft, or loss of a nuclear weapon. To include:

  • The loss (explained or unexplained) of a nuclear weapon or nuclear component.
  • The forcible, unauthorized seizure or theft of a nuclear weapon or nuclear component.

Nuclear Yield

The energy released in the detonation of a nuclear weapon, usually expressed in terms of the kilotons or megatons of TNT, required to produce an equivalent energy release.


The area beyond the boundaries of a DoD installation or DOE facility, including the area beyond the boundary of an NDA or NSA, that has been or may become affected by a nuclear weapon accident or incident.

On-Scene Coordinator (OSC)

See Federal On-Scene Coordinator.

Operational Period

The time scheduled for executing a given set of operation actions, as specified in the Incident Action Plan. Operational periods can be of various lengths, although usually not over 24 hours.


Report will be used to report the seizure, theft, or loss of a nuclear weapon. Includes:

  • The loss (explained or unexplained) of a nuclear weapon or nuclear component.
  • The forcible, unauthorized seizure or theft of a nuclear weapon or nuclear component

Operational Report (OPREP)-3 BENT SPEAR

Report will be used to report an unexpected event involving a nuclear weapon, or component resulting in any of the following, but not constituting a nuclear weapon accident.

  • An increase in the possibility of explosion or radioactive contamination.
  • Errors committed in assembling, testing, loading, or transporting equipment or the malfunctioning of equipment and material which might lead to an unintentional operation of all or part of the weapon arming or firing sequence which, in turn, might lead to a substantial change in yield, or increased dud probability.
  • Any act of God, unfavorable environment, or condition resulting in damage to the weapon, facility, or component.


Report used to report a U.S. nuclear weapon accident that does not create risk of nuclear war. Included are the following:

  • Nuclear detonation of a U.S. nuclear weapon.
  • Non-nuclear detonation or burning of a nuclear weapon.
  • Radioactive contamination from a U.S. nuclear weapon or component.
  • Seizure, theft, loss, or destruction of a nuclear weapon or radiological nuclear weapon component, including jettisoning.
  • Public hazard, actual or implied, from a U.S. nuclear weapon or component.

Operations Section

The section responsible for all tactical incident and accident response operations. In ICS, it normally includes subordinate branches, divisions, and/or groups.


Oak Ridge alloy. Uranium enriched in the 235 isotope. Oy-xx is the notation used to designate the level of enrichment, where “xx” is the weight percent of U-235. Also known as enriched uranium.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Clothing and other protective equipment worn by response and recovery personnel that provides protection from radiological contamination and protection from other hazards. Clothing may consist of coveralls, shoe covers, cotton or latex gloves, and hood or hair cap. While personal protective clothing protects the user from alpha-beta radiation, it is primarily a contamination control device to prevent the spread of contamination. A respirator may also be worn as a part of personal protective equipment, which protects against the inhalation of contaminants.

Personnel Accountability

The ability to account for the location and welfare of incident and accident response personnel. It is accomplished when supervisors ensure that ICS principles and processes are functional and that personnel are working within established incident and accident management guidelines.

Personnel Reliability Program (PRP)

A program implemented for all DoD personnel who control, handle, have access to, or control access to nuclear weapon systems and components, SNM, and Nuclear Command and Control (NC2) materials. The program covers selection, screening, and continuous evaluation of the personnel assigned to various nuclear duties. The program seeks to ensure that personnel coming under its purview are mentally and emotionally stable and reliable.

Physical Security

Elements of security concerned with physical measures designed to safeguard personnel and classified information; to prevent unauthorized access to nuclear weapons, SNM, and NC2 materials, equipment, facilities, and documents; and to safeguard them against espionage, sabotage, damage, and theft.

Planning Meeting

A meeting held as needed prior to and throughout the duration of incident and accident response operations to select specific strategies and tactics for incident and accident control operations and for service and support planning. For larger incidents and accidents, the planning meeting is a major element in the development of the Incident Action Plan.

Planning Section

Responsible for the collection, evaluation, and dissemination of operational information related to the incident or accident, and for the preparation and documentation of the IAP. This section also maintains information on the current and forecasted situation and on the status of resources assigned to the incident or accident response operation.

Plutonium (Pu)

An artificially produced fissile material. The Pu-239 isotope is the isotope of Plutonium primarily used in nuclear weapons.

Pollutant or Contaminant

As defined in the NCP, includes, but is not limited to, any element, substance, compound, or mixture, including disease-causing agents, which after release into the environment and upon exposure, ingestion, inhalation, or assimilation into any organism, either directly from the environment or indirectly by ingestion through food chains, will or may reasonably be anticipated to cause death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutation, physiological malfunctions, or physical deformations in such organisms or their offspring.


The range of deliberate, critical tasks and activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the operational capability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents. Preparedness is a continuous process. Preparedness involves efforts at all levels of government and between government and private-sector and nongovernmental organizations to identify threats, determine vulnerabilities, and identify required resources. Within the NIMS, preparedness is operationally focused on establishing guidelines, protocols, and standards for planning, training and exercises, personnel qualification and certification, equipment certification, and publication management.


Actions taken to avoid an incident or accident or to intervene to stop an incident or accident from occurring. Prevention involves actions taken to protect lives and property. It involves applying intelligence and other information to a range of activities that may include such countermeasures as: deterrence operations; heightened inspections; improved surveillance and security operations; investigations to determine the full nature and source of the threat; public health and agricultural surveillance and testing processes; immunizations, isolation, or quarantine; and, as appropriate, specific law enforcement operations aimed at deterring, preempting, interdicting, or disrupting illegal activity and apprehending potential perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

Principal Federal Official (PFO)

The Federal official designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security to act as his/her representative locally to oversee, coordinate, and execute the Secretary’s incident and accident management responsibilities under HSPD-5 for nuclear weapon accidents or incidents.

Private Sector

Organizations and entities that are not part of any governmental structure. It includes for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, formal and informal structures, commerce and industry, and private voluntary organizations (PVO).


Systems of operations that incorporate standardized procedures, methodologies, and functions necessary to provide resources effectively and efficiently. These include resource typing, resource ordering and tracking, and coordination.

Protection Factors (PFs)

The assigned level of protection that a properly functioning respirator provides to a population of properly trained and fitted workers.

Protective Action Guide (PAG)

A radiation exposure level or range (or level of other hazard) established by appropriate Federal or State agencies beyond which protective action should be considered.

Protective Action Recommendation (PAR)

Advice to State, local, and tribal authorities on emergency measures it should consider in deciding action for the public to take to avoid or reduce exposure to radiation or other hazard.

Public Health

Protection, safety, improvement, and interconnections of health and disease prevention among people, domestic animals, and wildlife.

Public Information Officer (PIO)

A member of the Command Staff responsible for interfacing with the public and media or with other agencies with incident- or accident-related information requirements.

Public Works

Work, construction, physical facilities, and services provided by governments for the benefit and use of the public.

Qualification and Certification

This subsystem provides recommended qualification and certification standards for emergency responders and incident and accident management personnel. It also allows the development of minimum standards for resources expected to have an interstate application. Standards typically include training, currency, experience, and physical and medical fitness.

Radiation Absorbed Dose (rad)

Traditional unit of absorbed dose of radiation in any material. The International System unit of absorbed dose is the Gray. One centiGray = 1 rad.

Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS)

A DOE/NNSA asset that provides 24-hour direct or consulting assistance to medical and health physics practitioners dealing with radiation-related health problems or injuries from local, national, or international radiation incidents.

Radioactivity Detection, Indication, and Computation (RADIAC)

A term designating various types of radiological measuring instruments or equipment.


The spontaneous emission of radiation, most commonly alpha or beta particles or gamma ray photons, from the nuclei of atoms of an unstable isotope.

Radiological Accident

A loss of control over radiation or radioactive material that presents a hazard or potential hazard to life, health, property, or the environment, or that may result in any member of the general population exceeding limits for exposure to ionizing radiation.

Radiological Advisory Medical Team (RAMT)

A U.S. Army national asset DoD rapid response team specifically designed to provide timely expert guidance and services to the Combatant Commander, the IC, and/or local medical authorities and to provide limited medical support to response teams in controlled areas. In peacetime or war, the RAMT is capable of responding to a wide variety of events involving limited or mass nuclear casualties, radiologically contaminated patients, or exposed populations from events such as BROKEN ARROWs, reactor accidents, radiological terrorism, or nuclear war. The RAMT may deploy within 4 hours of notification and may operate in a NSA, NDA, and CNWDI access areas.

Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) Team

A regionally based DOE/NNSA emergency asset that provides, on request, radiological assistance to: DOE program elements; other Federal Agencies; State, local, and tribal governments; private groups; and individuals. RAP teams provide personnel and equipment to evaluate, assess, advise, and help lessen actual or perceived radiation hazards and risks to workers, the public, and the environment.

Radiological Assistance

That assistance provided after an incident or accident involving radioactive materials to:

  • Evaluate the radiological hazard.
  • Accomplish emergency rescue and first aid.
  • Reduce safety hazards to the public.
  • Reduce exposure of personnel to radiation or radioactive materials.
  • Reduce the spread of radioactive contamination.
  • Reduce damaging effects on property.
  • Issue technical information and medical advice to appropriate authorities.

Radiological Control Area (RCA)

The control area including all known, or suspected, radiological contamination at the site of a radiological incident or accident. Also called the Exclusion Zone.

Radiological Survey

The directed effort to determine the distribution of radiological material and exposure rates in an area.

Reception Area

This refers to a location separate from staging areas, where resources report for in-processing and out-processing. Reception Areas provide accountability, security, situational awareness briefings, safety awareness, distribution of IAPs, supplies and equipment, feeding, and bed down.


Involves myriad technical disciplines and supporting infrastructure to effectively reduce hazards to the public and the environment. Weapon recovery begins once any existing fires have been extinguished, weapons have been cooled, exposed personnel have been removed or stabilized, and initial reconnaissance of the area has been conducted by EOD personnel to locate weapon(s) and debris, as well as to prioritize future actions. The basic steps of weapon recovery operations are 1.) Initial Entry, 2.) Locating Weapons and Weapon Components, 3.) Development and Approval of the Recovery Plan, 4.) Performing Render Safe Procedures, and 5.) Temporary Storage, Packaging, Transport, and Disposal of the Weapon and Components. .

Re-entry Recommendations (RERs)

Advice provided to the State on guidance that may be issued to members of the public on returning to an area affected by a radiological emergency, either permanently or for short-term emergency actions.

Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC)

Location established by the FEMA Regional Administrator to coordinate initial regional and field activities amongst State, local, and tribal agencies. The RRCC also will be the site of Federal coordination until a JFO is established by DHS.

Regional Response Teams (RRTs)

As regional counterparts to the National Response Team, the RRTs comprise regional representatives of the Federal agencies on the NRT and representatives of each State within the region. The RRTs serve as planning and preparedness bodies before a response, and provide coordination and advice to the Federal OSC during response actions.

Render Safe Procedures (RSPs)

See EOD Procedures.


Personnel and major items of equipment, supplies, and facilities available or potentially available for assignment to accident operations and for which status is maintained. Resources are described by kind and type and may be used in operational support or supervisory capacities at an accident or at an EOC.

Resource Management

Efficient accident management requires a system for identifying available resources at all jurisdictional levels to enable timely and unimpeded access to resources needed to prepare for, respond to, or recover from an incident or accident. Resource management under the NIMS includes mutual-aid agreements; the use of special Federal, State, local, and tribal teams; and resource mobilization protocols.

Resources Unit

Functional unit within the Planning Section responsible for recording the status of resources committed to the incident or accident. This unit also evaluates resources currently committed to the incident or accident, the effects additional responding resources will have on the incident or accident, and anticipated resource needs.


Activities that address the short-term, direct effects of an incident or accident. Response includes immediate actions to save lives, protect property, and meet basic human needs. Response also includes the execution of emergency operations plans and of mitigation activities designed to limit the loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and other unfavorable outcomes. As indicated by the situation, response activities include the following: applying intelligence and other information to lessen the effects or consequences of an incident or accident; increased security operations; continuing investigations into the nature and source of the threat; ongoing public health and agricultural surveillance and testing processes; immunizations, isolation, or quarantine; and specific law enforcement operations aimed at preempting, interdicting, or disrupting illegal activity, and apprehending actual perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

Response Task Force (RTF)

A DoD response force appropriately staffed, trained, and equipped to coordinate all actions necessary to control and recover from a nuclear weapon accident. The specific purpose of the RTF is to recover weapons and provide radiological accident assistance. Combatant Commanders will be given operational control of RTFs by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, via the NMCC, at an appropriate time in the response.

Restricted Data (RD)

All data (information) concerning the following:

  • The design, manufacture, or use of atomic weapons;
  • The production of Special Nuclear Material (SNM); or
  • The use of SNM in the production of energy, but not including data declassified or removed from the restricted data category under Section 142 of the AEA.

Roentgen (R)

A unit of exposure of gamma (or X-ray) radiation.

Roentgen Equivalent Man/Mammal (rem)

The traditional unit of dose equivalent. A derived unit equal to the absorbed dose in humans, multiplied by a quality factor, which accounts for the average effectiveness of a particular type of radiation in producing biological effects in humans. The International System unit of dose equivalent is the Sievert. One rem = 0.01 Sievert.

Safety Officer

A member of the Command Staff responsible for monitoring and assessing safety hazards or unsafe situations and for developing measures for ensuring personnel safety.


As applied to weapons and ammunition, the changing from a state of readiness for initiation to a condition where initiation is not likely.

Second-Order Closure Integrated Puff (SCIPUFF)

SCIPUFF is the transport model used within the HPAC model to predict the expected dispersion on nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) materials and associated uncertainties. SCIPUFF takes the release scenarios (what, where, when, and the boundaries of the specific environmental data), predicts where the NBC material may move through the atmosphere, and computes the deposition of the HAZMAT at geographic locations.


The organizational level having responsibility for a major functional area of incident or accident management, e.g., Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance/Administration, and Intelligence (if established). The section is organizationally situated between the branch and the Incident Command.

Security Area

The area surrounding the incident or accident site in a foreign country where a two-person security policy is established to prevent unauthorized access to classified defense information, equipment, or material. The cooperation by local authorities and host nation consent should be obtained through prior host nation agreements. In some countries, this area may be designated as the “Weapon Restricted Area,” or RA, in accordance with bilateral or Combatant Commander plans.

Senior Energy Official (SEO)

The Official who provides C2 and coordination of all DOE/NNSA emergency response assets that may be called to lessen the consequences of the nuclear weapon accident. The SEO is the focal point for interfacing with the Department of Defense and other agencies and represents the DOE/NNSA at the accident site for all Departmental response operations, including serving as the senior spokesperson for the DOE/NNSA.

Senior Official (SO)

An individual representing a Federal department or agency with primary statutory responsibility for incident or accident management. SOs utilize existing authorities, expertise, and capabilities to aid in management of the incident or accident working in coordination with other members of the JFO Coordination Group. The SO for the DoD is the DSO, and the SO for the DOE is the SEO.

Shared Resources (SHARES) High Frequency Radio Program

SHARES provides a single, interagency emergency message handling system by bringing together existing HF radio resources of Federal, State, and industry organizations when normal communications are destroyed or unavailable for the transmission of NS/EP information.

Sievert (Sv)

International System unit of any of the quantities expressed as dose equivalent. The dose equivalent in Svs is equal to the absorbed dose in Gys multiplied by the quality factor (1 Sv = 100 rem).

Site Remediation (SR)

The process of removing contaminants from a site that were the result of an incident or accident and restoring the site to conditions agreed on by the stakeholders.

Site Remediation Working Group (SRWG)

An organization formed at the accident scene whose sole purpose is to focus on SR issues. The SRWG draws on the expertise of the various elements who respond to the incident or accident to form a coordinated SR team.

Situation Assessment

The evaluation and interpretation of information gathered from a variety of sources (including weather information and forecasts, computerized models, GIS data mapping, remote sensing sources, ground surveys, etc.) that, when communicated to emergency managers and decision makers, can provide a basis for incident or accident management decision-making.

Span of Control

The number of individuals a supervisor is responsible for, usually expressed as the ratio of supervisors to individuals. Under the NIMS, an appropriate span of control is between 1:3 and 1:7.

Spill of National Significance (SONS)

The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan defines a Spill of National Significance (SONS) as: “a spill that, due to its severity, size, location, actual or potential impact on the public health and welfare or the environment, or the necessary response effort, is so complex that it requires extraordinary coordination of Federal, State, local, and responsible party resources to contain and clean up the discharge.”

Special Nuclear Material (SNM)

Plutonium and uranium enriched in the 239 or 235 isotope, respectively, and any other material that the DOE, under the provisions the AEA (reference (v)), determines to be SNM. Does not include source material.

Staging Area

Location established where resources can be placed while awaiting a tactical assignment. The Operations Section manages Staging Areas.


Any State of the United States , the District of Columbia , the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam , American Samoa , the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any possession of the United States (As defined in reference (w)).

State Status

Used to denote National Guard forces working under the command of the Governor in either Title 32 or State Active Duty status. National Guard personnel can be placed in Title 10 Status, placing them under the command of the Commander-in-Chief, can be placed in Title 32 status where they are funded by the Federal government but command authority remains with the state Governor, or they can be in State Active Duty status where they are funded and commanded by the state.


Strategic elements of incident and accident management which are characterized by continuous, long-term, high-level planning by organizations headed by elected or other senior officials. These elements involve the adoption of long-range goals and objectives, the setting of priorities, the establishment of budgets and other fiscal decisions, policy development, and the application of measures of performance or effectiveness.

Strategic Plan

A plan that addresses long-term issues such as impact of weather forecasts, time-phased resource requirements, and problems such as permanent housing for displaced disaster victims, environmental pollution, and infrastructure restoration.


The general direction selected to accomplish incident objectives set by the IC.

Strike Team

A set number of resources of the same kind and type that have an established minimum number of personnel.

Subject-Matter Expert (SME)

An individual who is a technical expert in a specific area or in performing a specialized job, task, or skill.

Task Force

Any combination of resources assembled to support a specific mission or operational need. All resource elements within a Task Force must have common communications and a designated leader.

Technical Assistance

Support provided to State, local, and tribal jurisdictions when they have the resources but lack the complete knowledge and skills needed to perform a required activity (such as mobile-home park design and hazardous material assessments).


The transmission, emission, or reception of voice and/or data through any medium by wire, radio, other electrical electromagnetic, or optical means. Telecommunications includes all aspects of transmitting information.

Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) Program

The NS/EP TSP Program is the regulatory, administrative, and operational program authorizing and providing for priority treatment (i.e., provisioning and restoration) of NS/EP telecommunications services. As such, it establishes the framework for NS/EP telecommunications service vendors to provide, restore, or otherwise act on a priority basis to ensure effective NS/EP telecommunications services.


Under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, terrorism is defined as any activity that (A) involves an act that (i) is dangerous to human life or potentially destructive of critical infrastructure or key resources; and (ii) is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State or other subdivision of the United States; and (B) appears to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce the civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping (see reference (x)).


An indication of possible violence, harm, or danger.


Those instruments and capabilities that allow for the professional performance of tasks, such as information systems, agreements, doctrine, capabilities, and legislative authorities.

Transportation Management

Transportation prioritizing, ordering, sourcing, and acquisition; timephasing plans; fleet management; and movement coordination and tracking.


The process for sorting injured people into groups based on their need for, or likely benefit from, immediate medical treatment. More generally, a process in which things are ranked in terms of importance or priority.


Any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaskan Native Village as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act (reference (y)), that is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Tritiated Water (HTO)

A water molecule in which a tritium (T or H-3) atom replaces a hydrogen atom.

Tritium (T or H-3)

Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen having one proton and two neutrons in the nucleus. Tritium is a low-energy beta emitter that, when in water vapor form (HTO), poses a radiation hazard from inhalation and absorption through the skin because of its physical and biological similarities to water.


A term of British origin for uranium metal containing no more than natural (0.7%) isotopic content of U-235. This term is sometimes used to indicate either natural or depleted uranium.

Two-Person Concept

A system designed to prohibit access by one individual to nuclear weapons and certain designated components by requiring the presence at all times of at least two authorized persons capable of detecting incorrect or unauthorized procedures with respect to the task to be performed. Also referred to as the two-person rule or policy. Replaced the two-man rule.

Two-Person Control

The close surveillance and control of materials at all times by at least two authorized persons, each capable of detecting incorrect or unauthorized procedures with respect to the task to be performed and each familiar with established security requirements.


A classification of resources in ICS that refers to capability. Type 1 is generally considered to be more capable than Types 2, 3, or 4, respectively, because of size; power; capacity; or, in the case of incident management teams, experience and qualifications.

Unified Area Command

A Unified Area Command is established when incidents or accidents under an Area Command are multijurisdictional (see Area Command).

Unified Command (UC)

In ICS, the Unified Command is a unified team effort which allows all agencies with responsibility for the incident or accident, either geographic or functional, to manage an accident working together, by establishing a common set of incident or accident objectives and strategies. This is accomplished without losing agency authority, responsibility, or accountability.


The organizational element having functional responsibility for a specific accident planning, logistics, or finance/administration activity.

United States ( U.S. )

The term “United States,” when used in a geographic sense, means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, any possession of the United States, and any waters within the jurisdiction of the United States (as defined in reference (z)).

Unity of Command (UC)

The concept by which each person within an organization reports to one and only one designated person. The purpose of unity of command is to ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander for every objective.

Uranium (U)

Uranium is a heavy, silvery white, radioactive metal. In air, the metal becomes coated with a layer of oxide that makes it appear from a golden-yellow color to almost black. Uranium is an alpha emitter. Decay (progeny) products emit an array of other radiations. Uranium presents chemical and radiation hazards and exposure may occur during mining, ore processing, or uranium metal production. Uranium and its compounds have both toxic chemical and radiation effects, depending on dose and exposure time, as well as type of exposure, such as inhalation or skin contact.

Urban Search and Rescue (US&R)

Operational activities that include locating, extricating, and providing on-site medical treatment to victims trapped in collapsed structures.


Any individual accepted to perform services by an agency that has authority to accept volunteer services when the individual performs services without promise, expectation, or receipt of compensation for services performed (see reference (aa)).


That part of a missile, projectile, torpedo, rocket, or other munitions that contains the nuclear or thermonuclear system, HE system, chemical or biological agents, or inert materials intended to inflict damage.

Weapon Debris (Nuclear)

The residue of a nuclear weapon after it has undergone a conventional explosion, burned, or been severely damaged; that is, the materials used for the casing and other components of the weapon, plus unexpended plutonium, uranium, and other components, together with fission products, if any.

Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD)

As defined in reference (ab), weapon of mass destruction means 1.) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas, bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than 4 ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, mine, or similar device; 2.) any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors; 3.) any weapon involving a biological agent, toxin, or vector; or 4.) any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life.

Weapons Recovery

See Recovery.

Wireless Priority Service (WPS)

WPS allows authorized NS/EP personnel to gain priority access to the next available wireless radio channel to initiate calls during an emergency when carrier channels may be congested.