On February 28, 2003, President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD–5), “Management of Domestic Incidents,” which directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop and administer a National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS provides a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life and property and harm to the environment.
Building on existing structures, such as the Incident Command System (ICS) NIMS creates a proactive system to assist those responding to incidents of planned events. To unite the practice of emergency management and incident response nationwide, NIMS focuses on five key areas or components. The components of NIMS were not designed to stand alone, but work together in a flexible, systematic manner. These components are as follows:
NIMSCAST is designed as a web-based self-assessment instrument for all levels of government to evaluate and report their jurisdiction’s progress and achievement of NIMS implementation activities. Each federal fiscal year, the compliance objectives for NIMS are updated. These updated objectives are the matrix to compare jurisdictions compliance against. Compliance is mandatory for any organization receiving Homeland Security Grant Program funding. Compliance is also mandated within the State of Louisiana, through R.S. 29:722, C, which states, “It is further declared to be the purpose of this Chapter and the policy of the State of Louisiana that all homeland security and emergency preparedness functions of the State shall follow the principles outlined in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) or its successor.”