DHS Office of Emergency Communications
Department of Homeland Security
Developed by: CISA Cyber+Infrastructure
“AUXCOMM” is an umbrella term and acronym for “auxiliary communications.” It was developed by CISA in 2009 with the assistance of amateur radio subject matter experts. The concept behind the acronym was to educate as many amateur radio entities to work and train with public safety personnel, understand the value of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) concept and the role of the communications unit leader (COML). AUXCOMM, although not an official national ICS position as of yet, is most often identified as a Technical Specialist (THSP) in the Communications Unit of the NIMS ICS structure. A few states have endorsed AUXCOMM as an official position within their state NIMS/ICS structure. The process on how this can be accomplished is described in the FEMA NIMS: Guidelines for the Credentialing of Personnel, August 2011 and FEMAs Type 3 All-Hazard Incident Management System Qualification Guide, dated September 2010.
CISA subsequently developed the AUXCOMM technical assistance workshop and produced the Auxiliary Field Operators Guide. This guide and other CISA products are available at https://www.cisa.gov/publication/fog-documents. The TRG-AUXCOMM (again, another Federal acronym for the course designator) is designed to educate amateurs and state officials involved with volunteer groups they could expect in an emergency operations center environment. The AUXFOG is a reference guide for the amateur radio emergency communications community. To date, the CISA AUXCOMM course has been taught 105 times with over 1,300 amateur radio operators trained.
Note: Some of the details in this article have been adopted from the ARRL E-Letter, found at http://www.arrl.org/news-features.
Further reading: More information about amateur radio support to public safety can be found in the following articles:
• ARRL E-Letter, 15 June 2016, “Before Deployment: Personal, Family Safety First”
• ARRL E-Letter, 9 June 2016, “Colorado Creates Auxiliary Emergency Communications Unit”
• AUXCOMM – Intense Training for Serious Disasters, QST Article dated May 2016
• QST Article, ARES in the Classroom: DHS Auxiliary Emergency Communications Course, dated July 2013, page 79