National Predictive Services Oversight Group

PSOG header graphic. Decorative.

 

The National Predictive Services Oversight Group (PSOG) provides management oversight and direction to National Predictive Services Program. The group coordinates, directs and oversees the development and implementation of national program products and services, ensures the integrity and cohesiveness of program operations, arbitrates differences, and provides a venue for dialogue and deliberation in support of a sustainable and effective program.

 

Key Documents

 

Membership

MemberRoleOrganizationEmail
Dan O'BrienChairBLMd1obrien@blm.gov
Beth LundFMB LiaisonUSFSelund@fs.fed.us
Shane McDonaldNMAC RepresentativeFWSshane_mcdonald@fws.gov
Kelly CastilloCGAC RepresentativeBLMkcastill@blm.gov
Jarrod SimontacchiNICC ManagerUSFSjsimonta@blm.gov
Nancy EllsworthGACC ManagerUSFSdnellsworth@fs.fed.us
Nate BensonFire ManagerNPSnate_benson@nps.gov
Brian AchzigerFire ManagerBLMbachziger@blm.gov
Billy GardunioFire AnalystUSFSbgardunio@fs.fed.us
GaBriella BransonIntellStategabriella.branson@alaska.gov
Heidi StraderMeteorologistBLMheidi_strader@nps.gov

What is Predictive Services?

Predictive Services is the blended function of intelligence, fire management analysis, and meteorological components working cohesively for the purpose of incident management decision support.  As a functional program, Predictive Services consists of eleven individual units located at each of the Geographic Area Coordination Centers and the National Interagency Coordination Center. 

Do each of the Predictive Services Units have intelligence, fire management analyst and meteorologist components?

Yes, or at least that’s the intent.  From unit to unit, current staffing varies.  The staffing template for a Predictive Services Unit includes a Fire Management Analyst, an Intelligence Coordinator and Assistant, and two Meteorologists.  The template provides each unit with the capacity to fulfill the “blended function” of the three Predictive Services components as well as the ability to provide for unit leadership and 7-day staff coverage.

Who supervises the Predictive Services Units?  How do they fit in the larger fire program?

A Unit Manager provides the necessary unit leadership to ensure staffing, accountability and unit cohesiveness.  Each Predictive Services Unit is integrated as National/Geographic Area Coordination Center staff under the supervision of the Coordination Center Manager.

How do Predictive Services Units function as Coordination Center staff?

The Geographic Area Coordination Centers (GACCs) coordinate with agency fire managers and local dispatch centers to determine needs, coordinate priorities and facilitate timely and cost-effective mobilization of resources within their geographic area of responsibility.  The National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) functions in the same fashion at the national level, coordinating among the different GACCs.  As Coordination Center Staff, Predictive Services provides the intelligence that frames management decisions in the short and long term.

Does the NICC Predictive Services Unit function as the “National Predictive Services Program”?

No, though it does serve a crucial role.  “National Predictive Services” takes both form and function from the combined effort of all Predictive Services Units collaborating as one national program and serving a coordinated suite of products and services.  The “7-Day Significant Fire Potential Forecast Product” is one example of a national product collaboratively served by all Predictive Services Units.  Situated at a national level, the NICC Predictive Services Unit serves in a leadership role as it coordinates with all the Geographic Area Predictive Services Units, facilitating the flow of unit information that feeds national products and compiling relevant data into meaningful intelligence that frames national decision-making.

So Geographic Area Predictive Services Units only provide for national products?

Not at all.  This assumes that national and geographic area intelligence needs are mutually exclusive.  While there may be esoteric data sets feeding specific Geographic Area needs, the factors which frame risk-based decisions affecting incident management and resource mobilization—safety, values at risk, resource availability/effectiveness, and social/political considerations—are common to all Geographic Areas.  Management, at all levels, is well-served by a program that seeks to collaborate and align its relevant parts so that the organization as a whole remains informed and in step.

So how does management ensure that this happens?

By engaging as an active player in the Predictive Services program.  This is why the Fire Management Board appointed the Predictive Services Phase 1 Program Review in September of 2016.  The task group’s purpose was to conduct an interagency program review to measure the effectiveness of the existing Predictive Services program in meeting the changing needs of wildland fire management.

And what did the Phase 1 Review find?

Briefly, the review concluded that while Predictive Services had a firm customer base, useful products and had demonstrated clear value in what it provided to fire managers, program function and capability indicated there was room for improvement.  This was the reason the Fire Management Board implemented Phase 2 of the program review.

What was Phase 2’s purpose?

Phase 2’s objective was to prioritize, evaluate and recommend alternative courses of action in order to resolve the significant issues identified in Phase 1.  The Phase 2 Task Group worked to resolve a number of management issues; national program status, governance and program guidance and management were the task groups top three priorities.

And what did the Phase 2 Program Review conclude?

Initially, they delivered the operating principles that guided the Task Group’s deliberations as well as constructing a detailed mission statement for the National Predictive Services program.  These can be found in the FMB Memorandum 18-001dated March 21, 2018.

With these tools in hand, the Task Group assembled four action alternatives that presented a range of management solutions to Predictive Services’ governance, guidance, management and other issues.  Two of these alternatives were recommended as “preferred” actions for FMB deliberation.

Most importantly, the Task Group developed a multi-disciplinary group—the Predictive Services Oversight Group or PSOG—to provide management oversight and guidance to the National Predictive Services Program.  The PSOG Charter provides details of the group's purpose and composition.

What can we expect next?

At this point, the Phase 2 Task Group has completed its task.  In July, FMB will make the final decision for a preferred management alternative and begin standing up the Predictive Services Oversight Group.  Once PSOG is in place, they will begin the work of implementing management solutions identified in the Predictive Services Phase 2 Program Review.

 

 

Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
2020-07-10