Adopted March 12, 2010

1. Name

This organization shall be called the InterAgency Board (IAB).

2. Purpose

The IAB is a voluntary collaborative panel of emergency preparedness and response practitioners from a wide array of professional disciplines that represent all levels of government and the voluntary sector. The IAB provides a structured forum for the exchange of ideas among operational, technical, and support organizations to improve national preparedness and promote interoperability and compatibility among local, state, tribal and federal response communities. Based on direct field experience, IAB members advocate for and assist the development and implementation of performance criteria, standards, test protocols, and technical, operating, and training requirements for all-hazards incident response equipment with a special emphasis on Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) issues. The IAB also reviews and comments on broader emergency preparedness and response policy, doctrine, and practices.

3. Mission

The mission of the InterAgency Board is to strengthen the nation’s ability to prepare for and respond safely and effectively to emergencies, disasters, and CBRNE incidents.

4. Origin

The IAB has worked to improve standardization and interoperability since October, 1998 when it was sanctioned by the Attorney General of the United States and co-founded by the Department of Defense's Consequence Management Program Integration Office and the Department of Justice's Federal Bureau of Investigation Weapons of Mass Destruction Countermeasures. The IAB was originally designated The InterAgency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability to emphasize its particular attention to equipment requirements. In recent years, the Board’s name was simplified to The InterAgency Board to emphasize its interdisciplinary nature and the breath of interoperability issues it addresses.

The IAB was conceived out of a concern that responders struggled to make sound equipment decisions because performance characteristics were not well understood, standards to specify equipment requirements were lacking, and equipment interoperability and compatibility were weak. These conditions undermined the capability of the response community, and endangered its ability to respond to terrorists attacks, particularly events involving weapons of mass destruction. The IAB’s early vision was prescient: Less than three years later the supreme importance and profound challenges of interoperability were underscored by the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001. These challenges persist to this day.

5. Stakeholders

The IAB’s goal is to improve the safety and welfare of responders and citizens by enabling an effective, integrated response system. The IAB serves a broad range of constituents, including response practitioners and other decision-makers at all levels of government; across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors; in all disciplines and professions; and in all regions of the country. Two sets of stakeholders are particularly central to the IAB’s efforts, responders and federal agency partners. The IAB is first and foremost a responder organization. The IAB serves the local, state, tribal and federal emergency response community at large. The federal partners participate in the IAB’s work, and some of them provide the financial sponsorship that allows the IAB to function.

6. Vision and Criteria for Success

The IAB seeks to be the source for emergency responder insight about any policy, doctrine, practice, standard, research and development program, or training and exercise program that affects interoperability, compatibility, capability, and standardization. The IAB is a trusted, authoritative, representative, and valid repository of field perspectives, operational knowledge, and technical expertise.

The IAB purposely comprises a very diverse body of emergency preparedness and response experts, but is unified by a set of criteria that frame its goals, shape its decisions, and guide its actions. These criteria are:

  • The IAB emphasizes, interoperability, compatibility, capability, and standardization.
  • The IAB fosters a multidisciplinary perspective.
  • The IAB facilitates effective intergovernmental partnerships.
  • The IAB is a credible voice of the responder community.
  • The IAB is proactive.
  • The IAB shares field operational experiences and practices.

7. Scope of Activities

The IAB will accomplish its mission and fulfill its vision by:

  • Serving as a conduit for direct feedback from responders currently practicing in the field on the front lines of emergency response at all levels of government. The IAB offers an honest, unfiltered, unvarnished view of what responders do, what they need, and how federal programs and policies affect them now and will affect them in the future.
  • Serving as an honest broker that aggregates the diverse views of responders. The Board as a whole is unencumbered by particular professional or agency agendas. The IAB’s goals and objectives are set by consensus of its membership, which is representative of the federal, state, and local emergency response communities. It is therefore broad in scope, and able to voice the perspectives, views, and concerns of responders nationwide without undue influence from the particular interests of any one discipline, organization, or professional association.
  • Convening established experts knowledgeable about emergency preparedness and response issues, particularly related to equipment, including requirements, standards, performance, operability, interoperability, and compatibility. This expertise assists, guides, and informs agencies, associations, and manufacturers seeking to design, develop, test, evaluate, and deploy existing and new equipment and capabilities. It helps organizations that sponsor research and development programs formulate grant guidance and evaluate program effectiveness. It helps response agencies make decisions about equipment by providing insight about performance and operational, training, and maintenance requirements.
  • Representing a broad array of professional response disciplines, sectors, and levels of government, explicitly shunning parochialism in favor of a true multidisciplinary perspective. The IAB is also wide-ranging in the size, type, and geographic location of organizations it represents. This enables the diverse array of public safety professionals to come together as a unified and integrated emergency preparedness and response system.
  • Creating a forum that brings diverse agencies and perspectives together. This enhances cooperation, reduces redundancy, resolves conflicts, and thus improves the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of programs. The IAB is a nexus of disciplines and agencies that allows people to talk to each other and work together to solve problems. This culture of professional openness allows the group to develop viable solutions to equipment standardization and training challenges because all relevant players interact freely, honestly, and without fear of retribution.
  • Being proactive. The IAB identifies local, national, and global trends that affect the response community, in order to understand the implications of policy and operational choices. This allows the IAB to help the field adapt early to emerging trends, address looming threats, and take advantage of promising opportunities.

8. Organization Structure

The IAB is comprised of members that may include federal officials or elected officers of State, local, and tribal governments (or their designated employees with authority to act on their behalf), acting in their official capacities. Each IAB member participates as an affiliate of their home organization and their involvement must be formally sanctioned by that organization. At the same time, members also bring their expertise in their respective fields to bear on the work of the IAB, and members therefore also offer perspective and expert insight from their disciplines and specialties. Members are appointed and serve as described in the IAB’s By-Laws. Members must be willing and able to actively participate and contribute regularly to the work products of the IAB. Members are expected to respond to requests for information and assistance from the IAB leadership. Members must maintain current field and disciplinary knowledge and expertise.

The IAB is led by a Chairperson (Chair), who is elected from among the IAB membership and serves as described in the IAB’s By-Laws. The Chair is an actively serving member of the state and local response community. To reduce the burden on the Chair and assure the IAB has the leadership capacity it needs, there are two Deputy Chairs. The Deputy Chairs are also elected from among the IAB membership and serve as described in the IAB’s By-Laws. The Deputy Chairs are actively serving members of the state and local response community. The Chair and Deputy Chairs together share responsibility for fulfilling four major administrative functions that allow the IAB to operate effectively: agenda setting, strategic planning, external relations, and communications. To help accomplish these functions, the Chair may delegate responsibility for these functions. The Chair may also decide to form ad hoc committees and work groups drawn from the membership.

The IAB operates through SubGroups. Each SubGroup has a Chair from a state or local government who is assisted by a Co-Chair from a federal department or agency. The SubGroup Chair and Co-Chair are elected and serve as described in the IAB’s By-Laws. The SubGroups develop their own internal organization as they see fit to accomplish their work. This may include the formation of teams or working groups within or across the SubGroups. SubGroups will vary in size according to their work plans and the particular expertise they require, but should be no less than 15 and no larger than 25 voting members. The IAB’s SubGroups are: Equipment; Health, Medical and Responder Safety; Information Management and Communications; Science and Technology; Standards Coordination; Strategic Planning; and Training and Exercises. SubGroups may be formed or dissolved as necessary to accomplish the IAB’s goals and objectives.

Leadership of the IAB is guided by the Federal Agency Coordinating Committee (FACC), which is a coordination committee that provides the interface between the IAB and sponsoring federal government agencies. The FACC consists of the federal officials from agencies and departments that contribute funding to support the IAB. The IAB Chair and Deputy Chairs interact directly with and are ex officio members of the FACC.

To assure that the Board functions coherently and to coordinate its work, the Chair, Deputy Chairs, SubGroup Chairs and Co-Chairs, and FACC Chair form an Executive Committee.

9. Business Processes

The IAB shall conduct its mission in accordance with an IAB work management plan developed annually by the Executive Committee, as described in the IAB’s By-Laws.

IAB work is conducted during three formal board meetings annually, SubGroup/Committee meetings, and additional meetings of specially designated working groups as needed. Formal IAB meetings shall be held exclusively between Federal officials and elected officers of State, local, and tribal governments (or their designated employees with authority to act on their behalf) acting in their official capacities. Meetings are solely for the purposes of exchanging views, information, or advice relating to the management or implementation of Federal programs established pursuant to public law that explicitly or inherently share intergovernmental responsibilities or administration per Pub. L. 104-4, Sec 204 (b) (2) as implemented by OMB memorandum M-95- 20, as amended.

10. Funding and Resources

Financial support for the IAB is provided through sponsorship by federal agencies. The FACC is responsible for soliciting and coordinating these financial contributions. In part, these resources fund a program office, operated under a contract with one of the IAB’s federal partners, that provides administrative support for the IAB.

11. Process for Amendments

This Charter may be altered, amended, or abrogated at an announced meeting of the InterAgency Board or at a meeting specifically called for that purpose, upon majority vote by the Members of the Board. In the event of a tied vote, or an impasse to a decision, the Chair will convene the Executive Committee, which will vote on the proposal. If resolution due to a tied voted or impasse continues, then the existing Charter will remain in effect.