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The original Statement of Need and vision for Disaster Management (DM) emerged from the InterAgency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability (IAB) in 1999. The IAB Interoperable Communication and Information Systems (ICIS) sub-committee expressed responder's summary needs:

  • Software systems supporting incident response must be able to share data to support coordination among response disciplines and supporting organizations
  • Disasters are local; automated systems supporting response must be used by local jurisdictions; many local jurisdictions cannot afford such specialized automated systems
  • Information must flow across organizational, environmental, geographic, and technical boundaries to coordinate incident response effectively
  • Information must flow horizontally among peers to support coordination of mutual aid among peers
  • Information must flow vertically through levels of government and command to support incident escalation within the Incident Command System (ICS) process

The Gilmore Commission supported Congressional action to address these responder needs, which resulted in the start of the DM initiative.  The initiative was originally termed “Consequence Management Interoperability Services (CMIS)” and had a mission to develop:

  • A nationally-scalable interoperability infrastructure enabling data sharing among different automated systems supporting incident response and recovery
  • A basic set of software tools to be provided to government organizations at no cost.

With Congressional "set aside" funding, a small team began work under program management by the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command. The team was tasked to "build a national interoperability backbone for responder information sharing" and "basic automated tools" for communities without the means to acquire responder software tools.

Initially, the team traveled throughout the country observing and interviewing responders to understand their functional requirements. Careful analysis of the requirements led to an architectural concept and identification of various candidate software tools.

The events of 9/11/01 marked a turning point in CMIS priorities. On that afternoon, the CMIS Program Manager asked the team to get a basic set of tools out to responders as soon possible. The FAST TRACK tool suite was distributed to responders in September of 2002.

In August of that year, as beta testing indicated that FAST TRACK would be successful, the Marine Corps and the FEMA agreed that a technology transfer from DoD to a civilian agency would be appropriate. As CMIS was brought into the Disaster Management E-Gov initiative, "Consequence" was replaced with "Disaster" in its name, reflecting an all-hazards approach. Several DMIS Tools releases have been made since the transition.

DM has published a series of interoperability interface specifications. DM is now compliant with the Common Alerting Protocol 1.1 international standard. Commercial software vendors have engaged in developing interfaces to the DM interoperability infrastructure now named Open Platform for Emergency Networks (OPEN).