The following terminologies are commonly referenced within the Emergency Management, Threat Assessment and Security communities. We hope this brief glossary will be informational and helpful to you.
- Adaptive Decision Making
The concept of adaptive decision making is best understood as the mental process of effectively reacting to situational change. In simple terms, it refers to problem-solving, with three major factors involved. First, the essence of the concept is a behavior change. Obstinately continuing a course of action despite significant changes in the circumstances is not adaptive, even if it is effective. Second, whatever responses are employed must be effective. It makes no sense if they make things more difficult. Lastly, any response must be in reaction to a change of circumstances. Change for its own sake is not adaptive.
- Behavior Decision Theory
A systematic approach for describing how individual decision makers’ values and beliefs are incorporated into their decisions. It also prescribes courses of action that reflect closely the values and beliefs of decision makers. Explicit in the theoretical approach is the view that decision makers are able to express preferences when given alternatives, where such preferences are able to be systematically evaluated with consideration of subjective expected utilities.
- Bounded rationality
The idea that in decision-making, rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds and the finite amount of time they have to make a decision.
- Business War Gaming
Business war gaming or business wargaming is an adaptation of the art of simulating moves and counter-moves in a commercial setting. Unlike military war games, or fantasy war games which can be set hundreds of years in the past, business war games are usually set in the present and are a relatively recent development, but they are growing rapidly.
The rationale for running a business war game is that it is a tool of particular value when the competitive environment is undergoing a process of change, as it allows decision makers to consider proactively how different players can react to the change, and to each other.
- Competitive Intelligence
The action of defining, gathering, analyzing and distributing intelligence about products, customers, competitors and any aspect of the environment needed to support executives and managers making strategic decisions for an organization.
- Complex Adaptive System
A “complex macroscopic collection” of relatively “similar and partially connected micro-structures” formed in order to adapt to the changing environment and increase its survivability as a macro-structure.
- Complexity Theory
Complex behavior emerges from a few simple rules, and that all complex systems are networks of many interdependent parts which interact according to those rules.
- Continuity of Operations
The degree or state of being continuous in the conduct of functions, tasks or duties necessary to accomplish a military action or mission in carrying out the national military strategy. It includes the functions and duties of the commander, as well as the supporting functions and duties performed by the staff and others acting under the authority and direction of the commander. Also called COOP, it is now being adopted by civilian governments, FEMA and businesses. Basically, it’s what we need to do to continue operations during a disaster or state of emergency.
- Course of Action
A plan or method for achieving a specific goal. The U.S. military often uses the acronym “COA.”
- Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)
A documented process or set of procedures to recover and protect a business in the event of a disaster. Such a plan, ordinarily documented in written form, specifies procedures an organization is to follow in the event of a disaster.
- Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
The physical location at which the coordination of information and resources to support domestic incident management activities normally takes place. An EOC may be a temporary facility or may be located in a more central or permanently established facility, perhaps at a higher level of organization within a jurisdiction. EOCs may be organized by major functional disciplines (e.g., fire, law enforcement and medical services), by jurisdiction (e.g., Federal, State, regional, county, city, tribal) or some combination thereof.
- Emergency Operations Plan
- Assigns responsibility to organizations and individuals for carrying out specific actions at projected times and places in an emergency – responsibilities that exceed the capability or routine responsibility of any one agency (e.g., the fire department).
- Sets forth lines of authority and organizational relationships, and shows how all actions will be coordinated.
- Describes how people and property will be protected in emergencies and disasters.
- Identifies personnel, equipment, facilities, supplies and other resources available – within the jurisdiction or by agreement with other jurisdictions – for use during response and recovery operations.
- Identifies steps to address mitigation concerns during response and recovery activities.
- Incident Action Plan (IAP)
An oral or written plan containing general objectives reflecting the overall strategy for managing an incident. It may include the identification of operational resources and assignments. It may also include attachments that provide direction and important information for management of the incident during one or more operational periods.
- Incident Command Post (ICP)
The field location at which the primary tactical-level, on-scene incident command functions are performed.
- Incident Command System (ICS)
A standardized on-scene emergency management construct specifically designed to provide for the adoption of an integrated organizational structure that reflects the complexity and demands of single or multiple incidents. Unhindered by jurisdictional boundaries, ICS is the combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure, designed to aid in the management of resources during incidents. It is used for all kinds of emergencies and is applicable to small as well as large and complex incidents. ICS is used by various jurisdictions and functional agencies, both public and private, to organize field-level incident management operations.
- Incident Commander (IC)
The individual responsible for all incident activities, including the development of strategies and tactics and the ordering and the release of resources. The IC has overall authority and responsibility for conducting incident operations and is responsible for the management of all incident operations at the incident site.
- Major Disaster
As defined under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122), a major disaster is any natural catastrophe (including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm or drought) or, regardless of cause, any fire, flood or explosion, in any part of the United States, which in the determination of the President causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance under this Act to supplement the efforts and available resources of States, tribes, local governments and disaster relief organizations in alleviating the damage, loss, hardship or suffering caused thereby.
- Management by Objective
A management approach that involves a four-step process for achieving the incident goal. The Management by Objectives approach includes the following: establishing overarching objectives; developing and issuing assignments, plans, procedures and protocols; establishing specific, measurable objectives for various incident management functional activities and directing efforts to fulfill them, in support of defined strategic objectives; and documenting results to measure performance and facilitate corrective action.
- National Incident Management System (NIMS)
A system mandated by HSPD-5 that provides a consistent nationwide approach for Federal, State, local and tribal governments; the private sector; and nongovernmental organizations to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, respond to and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size or complexity. To provide for interoperability and compatibility among Federal, State, local and tribal capabilities, the NIMS includes a core set of concepts, principles and terminology. HSPD-5 identifies these as the ICS; multiagency coordination systems; training; identification and management of resources (including systems for classifying types of resources); qualification and certification; and the collection, tracking and reporting of incident information and incident resources.
- Prospect Theory
A theory about how people make choices between different options or prospects, is designed to better describe, explain and predict the choices that the typical person makes, especially in a world of uncertainty.
- Recognition Primed Decision Making
A model that describes how experts make decisions under stressful situations that are time critical and rapidly changing.
- Red Team
An inside group that explicitly challenges a company’s strategy, products and preconceived notions. It frames a problem from the perspective of an adversary or sceptic, to find gaps in plans, and to avoid blunders.
Activities that address the short-term, direct effects of an incident. Response includes immediate actions to save lives, protect property and meet basic human needs. Response also includes the execution of emergency operations plans and of mitigation activities designed to limit the loss of life, personal injury, property damage and other unfavorable outcomes. As indicated by the situation, response activities include applying intelligence and other information to lessen the effects or consequences of an incident; increased security operations; continuing investigations into nature and source of the threat; ongoing public health and agricultural surveillance and testing processes; immunizations, isolation or quarantine; and specific law enforcement operations aimed at preempting, interdicting or disrupting illegal activity and apprehending actual perpetrators and bringing them to justice.
A working representation of reality, it is used in training to represent devices and processes and may be low or high in terms of physical or functional fidelity.
- Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
Complete reference document or an operations manual that provides the purpose, authorities, duration and details for the preferred method of performing a single function or a number of interrelated functions in a uniform manner.
- Synthetic Learning Environments
A learning environment characterized in terms of a particular technology, subject matter, learner characteristics and pedagogical principles. It is a synthetic experience, as opposed to a real-world interaction with an actual device or process, and is created for the learner through a simulation, game or other technology.
- Unified Area Command
A Unified Area Command is established when incidents under an Area Command are multijurisdictional. (See Area Command and Unified Command.)
- Unified Command
An application of ICS that is used when there is more than one agency with incident jurisdiction or when incidents cross political jurisdictions. Agencies work together through the designated members of the Unified Command, often the senior person from agencies and/or disciplines participating in the Unified Command, to establish a common set of objectives and strategies and a single Incident Action Plan.
A wargame (also war game) is a strategy game that deals with military operations of various types, real or fictional. Wargaming is the hobby dedicated to the play of such games, which can also be called conflict simulations, or consims for short. When used professionally by the military to study warfare, “war game” may refer to a simple theoretical study or a full-scale military exercise. Hobby wargamers have traditionally used “wargame”, while the military has generally used “war game”; this is not a hard and fast rule. Although there may be disagreements as to whether a particular game qualifies as a wargame or not, a general consensus exists that all such games must explore and represent some feature or aspect of human behaviour directly bearing on the conduct of war, even if the game subject itself does not concern organized violent conflict or warfare. The business wargames exists too, but in general they are only role playing games based on market situations.
Wargames are generally categorized as historical, hypothetical, fantasy, or science fiction. Historical games by far form the largest group. These games are based upon real events and attempt to represent a reasonable approximation of the actual forces, terrain, and other material factors faced by the actual participants. Hypothetical games are games grounded in historical fact but concern battles or conflicts that did not (or have yet to) actually happen. Fantasy and science fiction wargames either draw their inspiration from works of fiction or provide their own imaginary setting. Highly stylized conflict games such as chess are not generally considered wargames, although they are recognized as being related. Games involving conflict in other arenas than the battlefield, such as business, sports or natural environment are similarly usually excluded.
The modern wargaming hobby has its origins at the beginning of the 19th century, with von Reiswitz’s Kriegsspiel rules. Later, H.G. Wells’ book Little Wars ushered in the age of miniatures games in which two or more players simulated a battle as a pastime. During the 1950s the first large-scale, mass-produced board games depicting military conflicts were published. These games were at the height of their popularity during the 1970s, and became quite complex and technical in that time.
Wargaming has changed dramatically over the years, from its roots in miniatures and board wargaming, to contemporary computer and computer-assisted wargames. Both miniature and board wargames, however, maintain a healthy if small hobby market, with lighter games being popular with many ‘non-wargamers.’