JIC Performance Standards–a little help please

April 7, 2008

I commented not long ago on the depressing performance of a JIC (Joint Information Center–part of Incident Command System and National Incident Management System) involving a large government crisis exercise. But it led to the question–is there a standard out there for JIC performance? Do PIOs (public information officers) have any resource they can go that says–here is what your JIC should be able to do, by when, and these are the standards by which you will be measured?

If anyone knows of such a standard, please let me know–because it will save me a ton of work. There being none as far as I know, I am setting about creating one. I’m convinced that perhaps the biggest problem of public information management today–both on the part of public and private communicators–is not understanding how the demands have escalated. The media, stakeholders and impacted publics have much greater expectations and demands than even 5 years ago. That means the bar keeps moving. What might have been a successful JIC ten years ago would be an abysmal failure today. But how do you show people who care about these things what is expected? I believe a JIC evaluation method which reflects current expectations of those impacted by an event is the best tool.

If I am right, the best thinking should be consolidated by some government consulting firm, then distilled into a JIC Evaluation Form and distributed to every jurisdiction in the country. After all, if DHS can mandate use of the JIC as part of NIMS, it ought to be able to publish standards of performance that the JICs it helps fund can use to determine if they are operating properly.

So, if you know of any JIC performance standards document somewhere in the bowels of bureaucracy, please let me know. If not, please contribute your thoughts about how JICs should be evaluated and what the performance criteria ought to be. And now, excuse me, I’ve got a lot of work to do.


One Response to “JIC Performance Standards–a little help please”

  1. Kelly Says:

    Gerald – good luck in this noble pursuit – and please keep us PIOs posted. My first “real” JIC experience was during a national exercise late last year, and it was a sobering one. In that environment, the JIC was way to unwieldy, confusing bureaucratic and slow to be of any use. The main thing agency PIOs like me learned is that we’ll have to go around the JIC to get the word out, or people will rarely hear what we need to say – and if they do, it will be several hours too old.

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