National Wildfire Coordinating Group

S-420, Command and General Staff, 2020

S-420 Decorative banner: Three photos of wildland fire incident command. A large group of firefighters gather to listen to morning briefing from command personnel. A group of incident command gather to hear a briefing on an incident. Four firefighters stand around a table reviewing maps.

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This course is designed to prepare students to function effectively as members of the Command and General Staff (C&G) on a Type 2 Incident Management Team (IMT). Students will participate in facilitated discussions, classroom exercises, and a simulated incident. Students will be evaluated by assigned coaches using an assessment and feedback rubric.


At the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the responsibilities and duties of each C&G position.
  • Demonstrate skills to establish and maintain a positive team climate.
  • Utilize various communication strategies to develop a common operating picture.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking, decision making, and risk management skills. 
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of the Incident Management Operational and Strategic Planning Processes.
  • Given a simulated event, demonstrate the ability to perform as a C&G member on a Type 2 Incident Management Team.

Target Group

Personnel desiring to be qualified in a Command or General Staff position on a Type 2 Incident Management Team.

NOTE:  Be sure to check agency-specific guidelines; some agencies may have different requirements.

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training

  • L-480, Organizational Leadership in the Wildland Fire Service.


  • L-380, Fireline Leadership, OR L-381, Incident Leadership.


  • L-180, Human Factors in the Wildland Fire Service, plus completion of 40 hours in any supervision or leadership training course(s).


  • Completion of pre-course work assignment.

Session Offerings

Nationally advertised course sessions can now be found on the NWCG Wildland Fire Learning Portal (WFLP),  Log on as a guest to search for session offerings of this course and to view other public content.  To search for a specific course, use the "Find Learning" menu item at the top of the page, then select "Upcoming Courses.”  To view Geographic Area training schedules, select the specific "Geographic Area" information using the drop-down menu at the top of the page.  Contact your local training officer for more information about local course sessions.


S-420 is available as instructor-led (classroom) training.

Course Components and Hours to Complete

Component Hours:  Instructor-Led
Pre-course work 4-6
Pre-selection assessment N/A
Online Training N/A
Instructor-led training 38
Total Hours 42-44

Minimum Instructor Qualifications

  • Lead and unit instructors must be qualified as Command or General Staff Type 2.

See NWCG Standards for Course Delivery, PMS 901-1, Instructor Standards for more information.

Certification Date:


Previous Certificate date




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Functional Area: 
CGS Command
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