National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Committee Roles and Membership Information

Committee Roles | Committee Member Responsibilities | Membership Management | Meeting Standards  |  Course Steering Committee Guidance & Templates


NWCG accomplishes its mission using a system of committees and subgroups organized around the primary functional areas of wildland fire management. Committee/subgroup members represent their respective agencies/entities and provide the subject matter expertise critical to the NWCG effort. They perform the vital function of participating, engaging, collaborating, and cooperating with other members to develop the interagency standards that are core to the NWCG mission.   See criteria for becoming an NWCG committee.

Committee Roles


An NWCG committee or subgroup assigned to manage a key component of the system to include: NWCG standards, incident position standards, training courses, and other performance support materials. Primary responsibilities are:

  • Ensure connectivity between the related standards as outlined in the Incident Position Performance Cycle.
  • Communicate with associated stewards.
  • Engage all key stakeholders in decisions; seek consensus but make decisions as necessary.

Parent Committee

The NWCG Committee with overarching responsibility for an NWCG standard, position, or associated training course. The parent committee has final decision authority for standards or training stewardship.

Key Stakeholder

A committee or subgroup that has a critical stake in a key component of the system that is stewarded by another entity. For example, the National Coordination System Committee stewards Aircraft Dispatcher (ACDP), but the National Interagency Aviation Committee has a key stake in the position.

Committee Member Responsibilities

The NWCG Executive Board members are collectively committed to the success of each individual committee member and have established the following common responsibilities:

  • Actively attend and participate in all committee meetings, conferences calls, and other assigned NWCG duties.
  • Focus on accomplishing your committee’s objectives, but do so with the larger NWCG mission in mind.
  • Effectively and efficiently accomplish the committee/subgroup mission and associated tasks assigned by the Executive Board and/or the parent committee.
  • Communicate with your agency’s NWCG Executive Board member and/or your agency’s parent committee representative as necessary.  Brief them regarding issues of a complex or controversial nature, and actively seek their input, perspective, and guidance.
  • Ensure that proposed NWCG standards developed by your committee are reviewed by the appropriate personnel in your agency prior to completion.
  • Provide a consolidated position for your agency during your committee’s NWCG standards development processes.

Membership Management

Each member agency determines its committee/subgroup membership needs. Members are appointed through agency specific command channels with full understanding of the collateral duty nature of NWCG work and potential workload impacts. All membership is subject to Executive Board oversight. (NWCG Master Committee Charter).

Member agencies usually have no more than one primary member per committee/group. Exceptions occur based on geographic representation, subject matter, or skill needs. When an agency has multiple members on a single committee/subgroup, the members will have a single voice in decision-making discussions.

Membership by all agencies on every committee/subgroup is not required. Agency coordination may enable a single committee/subgroup member to represent multiple agencies.

Advisor and liaison participation are at the discretion of the committee/subgroup chair.

Individual membership to NWCG committees and subgroups is based upon a number of factors, including qualifications, experience, location, and position.  If you are interested in representing your agency on a committee or subgroup, contact the committee or subgroup chair or your agency representative on the NWCG Executive Board.

NWCG Membership Types and Responsibilities

Primary Member

Participates in decision-making. Consensus must be reached by primary members for a decision to carry. Primary members are typically employees or representatives of NWCG member agencies. The Executive Board may confer primary membership to non-member individuals with expertise, interests, or resources critical to a group’s decision-making. May not be a contractor or non-governmental organization representative.

Associate Member

Participates in discussions but not engaged in consensus decisions. The Executive Board and committees/subgroups may confer associate membership to non-NWCG member individuals with expertise, interests, or resources critical to a committee’s/subgroup’s mission.

Alternate Member

Performs the primary member or associate member duties in absence of the assigned member. Alternate members may not perform the chair duties. Primary member alternates may not be a contractor or non-governmental organization representative.

Support Staff

Provides administrative and technical support to a committee/subgroup.


Participates in topic-specific discussions but not engaged in consensus decisions. Provides subject matter expertise, often from a separate functional area or multidisciplinary perspective. May or may not be an employee or representative of an NWCG member agency.


Participates in discussions but not engaged in consensus decisions. Facilitates a close working relationship and coordinates information exchange between two or more NWCG committees/subgroups or other stakeholders.

NWCG Coordinator

Assigned to each committee and its subgroups. Helps facilitate coordination among and between the NWCG organization. Serves in a support role and participates in discussions, but not engaged in consensus decisions.

NAFRI Training Liaison

Works with NWCG course steering committee chair on course design and delivery, Wildland Fire Learning Portal management, and course coordinating tasks leading up to and through delivery. Manages NAFRI funding for the course and determines supplemental funding needs.  Participates in discussions and consensus decisions.

The following roles are designated only to primary members or individuals assigned from an NWCG member agency to perform a specific facilitation role:


Responsible for accomplishing the committee/subgroup mission. Manages the activities of the committee/subgroup. Distributes workload within the committee/subgroup. Committee chairs are approved by the Executive Board. Subgroup chairs are approved by their parent committee/subgroup.

Vice Chair

Primary assistant to the chair. Serves as the chair during the chair’s absence.


Serves simultaneously with another co-chair. Co-chairs jointly perform the duties and share the responsibilities of the chair.

Meeting Standards

Meeting Purpose

The primary purpose of any NWCG meeting is to enable the entity that is conducting the meeting to make decisions and direct actions that help accomplish the NWCG mission.


Primary members should attend all meetings. Those unable to attend should ensure that their organization (or business area) is represented with an alternate participant who is fully briefed and has decision-making authority on behalf of the absentee member.

Decision Making

Decision making by NWCG committees and subgroups is by consensus of the primary members. All members should contribute to the consensus seeking effort. Consensus decision making does not require unanimous or unqualified agreement. However, to achieve consensus, all decision-making members must be willing to support the decision.  Even when consensus is achieved, a member with a dissenting position may have his or her position documented for the record.

When consensus cannot be achieved, the issue may be tabled for future consideration, assigned to a smaller subgroup of members for further work, or moved up the command chain (parent subgroup, parent committee, Executive Board) for resolution.


A minimum of two-thirds of the NWCG primary members constitutes a quorum. A quorum is required to make decisions and/or direct actions. While NWCG operates on a consensus decision making model, where all primary members have to agree, the quorum ensures enough members are present for the consensus vote to apply. Hence the importance of sending an alternate when a primary member cannot make a meeting.

Cost Effectiveness

Committee leaders must ensure that meetings are purpose driven, sensible, justifiable, efficient, and effective.


Meeting frequency will be determined based on purpose and need.  A means to participate remotely should be provided for members unable to attend in person.


The selection of meeting locations should be based on the following criteria:

  • Participation: Achieving maximum membership participation
  • Convenience: Easy access to airports, hotels, meeting rooms, etc.
  • Cost: Most reasonable based on total travel costs.
  • Purpose: Considerations such as distributing host agency workload, conducting site visits pertinent to the meeting, and coordination with other stakeholder entities may influence location decisions; this must be done with discretion and good judgment, keeping cost considerations in mind.

Minutes, Notes, Records

Meeting leaders should ensure that notes/minutes are taken during each meeting.  Minutes must include:

  1. Date, time, and location
  2. Names of attendees
  3. Main topics of discussion
  4. Decisions made
  5. Action items assigned.

Meeting minutes, agendas and attached documentation are considered records.  NWCG records management procedures must be followed for appropriate creation, maintenance, and disposition of electronic and hardcopy meeting records.

Additionally, completed minutes must be emailed to the respective Coordinator for posting to the NWCG website.

For 508 accessible Excel and Word templates, go to Meeting Agenda and Notes Templates on the Communications Templates page.

Course Steering Committee Guidance and Templates

In addition to the above Meeting Standards, specific Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) have been developed for Course Steering Committees (CSC). The SOGs and the Agenda and Notes Template are meant to serve as tools to assist the CSCs, and are provided in Word format to allow for adjustments specific to each CSC.


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