NWCG Systems Improvement

Improvement of NWCG systems, processes, and products is an ongoing effort intended to support the core mission - providing national leadership to enable interoperable wildland fire operations among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners.  Information about current system improvement efforts is provided below.

Your input is always valued; please provide constructive comments using our contact us page at:  https://www.nwcg.gov/contact

photo of 2 firefighters climbing a hill NWCG Web Presence

  • Committee information and resources.
  • User capabilities and experience.
  • Visibility of and access to NWCG materials
  • Site link accuracy.
  • Publication to web portal conversions.
  • Web portal improvements.
  • Consolidate information and reduce redundancy and discrepancy across website . 



  • Established a comprehensive catalog of publications and portals.
  • Processes for tracking, revising, developing, editing, and managing NWCG's PMS and non-PMS publications.
  • Accelerated revision cycles.
  • Ability to identify and simultaneously revise interrelated materials.
  • Publications template and style guide.
  • Conversion of publications to improve revision cycles and viability, including hard copy to e-copy and hard copy or e-copy to web portal.
  • Consolidation and/or elimination of publications.

Firefighters walking up a hill with tools. Decorative.Position Management

  • Wildland firefighters and support personnel are mobilized by position to work under the NIMS-ICS Concept of Operations. Improved NWCG position management reduces system redundancy, duplication, and discrepancy; enables system efficiency and sustainability; and supports position performance. 
  • Established a position catalog including individual position pages.
  • Collected and consolidated sources of NWCG position-specific information.
  • Initiated effort to develop comprehensive picture of position knowledge, skill, and ability needs, including those that may not be included in established standards documents but are commonly practiced.
  • Initiated Positions Pages portal effort.

    Position Pages

    • Enable individual and system-wide effectiveness and efficiency.
    • Provide individual red-card holders rapid access to comprehensive position-related information and resources from a single location.
    • Enable managers and stakeholders at all levels to better manage many interrelated components of an extensive and complex system.
    • Reduce redundancy and conflict from multiple overlapping documents in multiple locations.
    • Provide a single authoritative source for:

      • Incident position descriptions (under development).
      • Position-specific reference materials (standards documents, job aids, manuals, charts, forms, other reference materials).
      • Training materials (required courses, recommended courses, task books).
      • Position qualification flowchart.
      • Position qualification requirements.
      • Position-specific administratively determined pay plan information.

    Incident Position Description (IPD)

    • Housed on position page.
    • Single authoritative statement of the essential activities, duties, roles and responsibilities for each NWCG position.
    • Derived from primary source materials and standards-bearing documents that contain this information (for example, the Interagency Helicopter Operations Guide).
    • Evolves as these primary source materials evolve.

    IPD Management

    • As with the primary source materials they are derived from, IPD management and maintenance is the responsibility of the NWCG committees.  Although multiple committees may have an interest in a single position, each position is assigned to one committee. That committee is responsible for collaborating with other stakeholder committees.
    • System-wide standardization of concepts and nomenclature across all IPDs is a collective responsibility with oversight from:

      • Operations and Training Committee
      • NWCG Publications Manager
      • NWCG Training Development Program

    photo of firefighter at night with burning fireline General Principles for Building IPDs

    • Determine, define and clarify the appropriate authoritative document(s) for position duties and responsibilities.
    • Ensure position duties and responsibilities are clearly defined and are not unnecessarily duplicated across multiple documents. If duplication is necessary, ensure consistency.
    • Establish clear connection between position responsibilities, competencies, behaviors, tasks.
    • Identify and reduce redundancy and conflict.
    • Identify or establish authority hierarchy of source documents to settle conflict as necessary.
    • Identify or create the best possible (accurate, concise, plain language) way to state something. Use the same terminology consistently throughout the document (and later, across documents).
    • Categorize duties within a single position and across the system.
    • Build a chronology into the duties to the extent possible.
    • Build consistency (organization, nomenclature, terminology) internal to each IPD, and across the inventory.

    Training Design Process

    • The training design process will systematically identify performance-based training needs for each incident position. It will also identify areas across multiple positions where knowledge, skills, and abilities overlap. The training design process will result in a position-specific training plan. The plan will recommend position-specific performance support needs (training type and amount, required vs. recommended, initial vs. continuing, job aids and other support materials). A systematic training design process based on accurate incident position descriptions will enable:

      • Rapid training development and revision.
      • Real-time consistency between position performance standards and associated performance support materials.
      • Improved accuracy, viability, and accessibility of all position-related materials.

    Learning Management System Project

    • The current approach to wildland fire training management and training delivery is fractionated. This fractionated approach is costly, creates inefficiencies and causes confusion for field personnel. Minimal training evaluation and effectiveness data hampers the ability to determine the return on investment of scarce training resource funding.
    • The NWCG LMS project is intended to implement newer enterprise focused LMS technologies that will significantly improve wildland fire community’s education and training capabilities.
    • Collaborating with stakeholders, the project will potentially identify and implement a single LMS application to consolidate training nomination, registration, hosting of online content, training evaluation assessments and reporting metrics.
    • Compared to the current state, this implementation will reduce inefficiencies, decrease costs and enhance availability of key training analytics. Initial cost savings projections and funding requirements will be estimated during the Idea Phase.

    Position Task Book (PTB) Improvements

    • Initiated Position Task Book improvement project. Intent is to:

      • Remove unnecessary redundancy.
      • Address competency/behavior/task overlap.
      • Improve connectivity between guiding documents and the PTB.
      • Accelerate revision cycles to respond to changes in position duties.
      • Eliminate unnecessary roadblocks to qualification.
      • Combine PTBs where possible.
      • Ensure that PTBs are learning/evaluation tools and are closely associated with established position standards and guidance.
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