2021 Incident Support Team Solicitation 

This General Memorandum (GM) is issued to announce the National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Response System (the System) 2021 recruitment process for Incident Support Team (IST) positions.  The 2021 IST recruitment process will be conducted online from March 22, 2021 through May 03, 2021.

ISTs coordinate, support, and expedite the System’s mission by providing Federal, State and local officials with functional expertise in the acquisition and utilization of US&R resources.  This is accomplished through subject matter expertise, incident command assistance, management, and coordination of System resources during a response.  An individual who is rostered on an IST agrees to a significant commitment individually and on behalf of their task force, Sponsoring Agency, and/or Participating Agency.  Rostered IST members are required to be on call four times a year (for a minimum of one month at a time), with the possibility of additional requests during responses that occur outside their on-call month.

To increase the number of qualified individuals in IST positions, applications for only listed IST positions will be accepted.  Successful applicants will be placed either on one of the three standing IST rosters (Red, White, or Blue), or on the IST Alternate List.  The Alternate List is used by the US&R Branch to fill any openings on an IST roster during both the monthly on-call and response rostering processes.

With an appointment to an IST position, the member understands that this assignment takes precedence over other task force and emergency assignments outside normal agency duties unless an incident occurs in the IST member’s jurisdiction.  By signing the Letter of Support, the Task Force Representative (TFR) and Sponsoring Agency Chief and/or Participating Agency Chief agree to allow the IST member to respond to an activation and to follow the reimbursement procedures established in 44 CFR 208.  Additionally, the Sponsoring Agency agrees to fund through its Readiness Cooperative Agreement (as funding permits) its members’ attendance at IST training and annual exercises.  For more information on IST Member requirements and rostering, refer to US&R Program Directive 2012-015 – Incident Support Team Administration.

The following quantity/positions are open for solicitation:


  • Aviation Branch Director (ABD)

  • Field Observer (FOB)

  • Demobilization Unit (DOCL)

  • Medical Officer (MOFR)

  • Information Officer (PIO)

  • Medical Unit (MUL)

  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (VET)

  • Resource Unit (RESL)

  • Documentation Unit (DOCL)

  • Situation Unit (SITL)

  • Facilities Unit (FACL)

  • Supply Unit (SUPL)

  • Logistics Section Chief (LSC)

  • Planning Section Chief (PSC)

  • Communication Unit Leader (COML)

  • Demobilization Unit Leader (DMOB)

  • Structural Specialist (SS)


System members may submit for up to a maximum of three IST positions.  Currently rostered and alternate IST members who desire to apply for a different position must submit a complete application.  Incomplete/improper applications will not be considered.  In accordance with PD 2012-015 IST Administration, System members interested in applying for one or more of the IST positions will submit the following information as part of their online application packet:

  • An IST Recruitment application package to include:

    • An IST Member Application:

      • With supporting documentation verifying qualifications and US&R General Requirements as listed within this GM’s attachments.

      • Signed by the applicant’s Program Manager and/or Task Force Rep.

    • A Letter of Support signed by the member’s TFR, Sponsoring Agency Chief, and Participating Agency Chief (if applicable).  In the case of an Affiliated member, a Letter of Support is also required from their employer (unless self-employed).

Each applicant must submit a separate completed application package for each position applied for no later than 1700 EDT, May 3, 2021, using the following online process:

When the application has been received, both the applicant and their Task Force Representative will receive a confirmation email at the email address provided in the submission form.

Selection and appointment will be based on validation that the applicant met the requirements of the position as outlined in the current IST Position Descriptions and the prescribed scoring criteria applied to the candidate’s knowledge, skills, and abilities as verified in their application package.  In addition, follow up interviews with SACs, PMs, and other task force and/or SA members may occur to validate the information provided as well as the character of the individual applying.  Although the selection committee may recommend an applicant, appointment to the IST is at the sole discretion of the US&R Branch Chief.

Applicants will be notified of the results of the application review no later than May 28, 2021. Successful applicants will be eligible to attend the next scheduled IST Continuing Education.

Any questions or concerns related to this IST recruitment should be directed to Dean Scott at dean.scott@fema.dhs.gov; Mike Boyle at hazmtr@gmail.com; or Doug Nakama at douglas.nakama@fema.dhs.gov.  Any application submission or technical issues should be directed to: Keith Bevan at kbevan@unifiedfire.org.