Corporate Incident Command Systems
The Manila Times
THE Department of Education’s recent pronouncement to make Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory has sparked varying opinions across different sectors. Nonetheless, the revival of ROTC should be viewed as a broader government mandate for a whole-of-nation approach toward a resilient and productive citizenry. When executed with care and relevance, the role of citizen armed forces can be highly valuable. In addition, military training provides a wealth of knowledge that can be utilized not only during war or natural disasters for ordinary individuals but also in the realm of business enterprise. It is common knowledge that numerous organizations have incorporated military tactics into their business models, and several of these strategies have emerged as fundamental readings in leading schools across the globe. As with any institution, the tactics employed by the military are continually evolving in response to the demands of the present era. Similarly, businesses will benefit if it adopts better strategies to improve their operations. Being an active reservist in the Philippine Marine Corps, I’ve witnessed how the different branches of the Armed Forces utilize a commandand-control structure to carry out their missions. In a recent conversation with LtCol. Clifford Nickanor Basco PN(M)(GSC), the commanding officer of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-11, he shared his experience as the action officer for the National Incident Command and Emergency Operations Center of the NTF against Covid-19 from 2020 to 2022. During the early days of the pandemic, Lieutenant Colonel Basco recounted how his team managed an unprecedented event without a “playbook” for such a crisis. The team effectively handled the situation by relying on their knowledge and the information they received on the ground and processing it through an Incident Command System (ICS) framework commonly used by the military, disaster response and law enforcement agencies. There have been many instances when the military has been called upon to handle outbreaks. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Covid-19 epidemic in China are notable examples of where the military was enlisted to manage and contain the situation. Like in combat operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the military utilizes the ICS framework patterned from a key concept also referred to by them as “battle rhythm” to guide their actions and synchronize operations through strategic decision-making. The ICS framework was initially introduced in the Philippines in 2003 through the Asean-US Cooperation on Disaster Management program, it serves as the model for on-scene disaster response and management systems. It establishes a focal point for a coordinated response that manages multiagency involvement and enhances interoperability, clarifies roles, aligns terminology and reporting systems, and communicates the objectives of the incident action plan. While organizations often focus on crafting business continuity plans, they must consider integrating Corporate ICS into their business model. Due to the nature of emergencies and disasters being unpredictable, it is impossible to anticipate every scenario and the corresponding response actions beforehand. However, a well-established ICS protocol can facilitate critical activities for the business to handle resources effectively and adjust to evolving circumstances as the disaster occurs, not when it has concluded. Corporate crises can quickly escalate without a proper response. Examples of corporate crises that are being faced these days are cyberattacks, conflicts with stakeholders, sabotage and employee misconduct which all have long-term and damaging effects on a company’s reputation and overall operations. A corporate ICS offers a structured approach to managing responses in the context of business operations. The framework follows a management protocol that ensures unified command, control and communication when dealing with adverse events. With its internal flexibility, plans can be quickly activated and resources can be deployed in the right places at the right time in a more scalable manner to prevent conflict and stress and mitigate risks. This approach also helps reduce recovery and restoration time and allows for maneuverability. Businesses are encouraged to explore ICS as a reliable crisis management solution. This can instill greater confidence in stakeholders and prove invaluable when making critical decisions and leading through challenging situations that can impact success versus failure. As we confront increasingly complex challenges, military strategies can provide valuable insights to help business leaders navigate obstacles and foster collaborative work environments. The lessons we gain from these experiences are more essential than ever in today’s business landscape. Abram Eustaquio is a strong education advocate and a reservist in the Philippine Marine Corps with the rank of Master Sergeant. He is pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration at De La Salle University. Feel free to reach him via his email email@example.com.