Deputies and Assistants in ICS

Key positions on the Incident Management Team (IMT), including all Command and General Staff positions, as well as Unit Leaders, may have Deputies, Assistants, or other forms of support personnel.

Deputies and Assistants are not interchangeable. A Deputy must have the same qualifications as the position they are subordinate to, as they must be ready to take over that position at any time, while an Assistant is assigned to aid in managing the workload. Assistants may bring a particular functional or technical expertise to augment the position they are supporting (e.g., Assistant Safety Officer, Aviation).

Deputies and Assistants are commonly used in an incident to:

  • Assist with span-of-control
  • Support the primary position during periods of high operational tempo
  • Perform specific tasks that require their particular knowledge or expertise
  • Provide relief to the primary position holder
  • Assist with transition


Primary Position Title Support Position Title Examples
Incident Command Commander Deputy Deputy IC
Command Staff Officer, Advisor Assistant, Advisor[1] Public Information, Liaison, Legal
General Staff Chief Deputy, Assistant[2] Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance/Admin
Branch Director Deputy Air Operations, LE,
Division / Group Supervisor N/A Div: Div A, Div C
Groups: SAR, LE, Wildlife
Strike Team / Task Force Leader N/A ST #5, TF #10
Single Resource Unique Identifier N/A LE Car 54, Helo 6568,
Ambulance #2
Unit Leader Assistant, Manager, Coordinator Environmental, Cost, Time, Resources, Food, Facilities, Situation
Facility Location or Functional Area Manager Assistant Staging, Security, JIC, Camp

[1] The 2017 edition of the U.S. National Incident Management System (NIMS) formally allows for Command Staff to consist of Officers and Advisors.

[2] The 2017 NIMS formally allows for General Staff positions to be supported by Assistants, in addition to Deputies.

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