On the morning of September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. Minutes before, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 had crashed into the World Trade Center towers. First responders in both cases were quick to respond. Best practices were implemented in both cases, relying on mitigation and preparedness training. A Unified Command Center was set up at each site.
In New York City (NYC), the New York Fire Department (NYFD) set up a command center at the base of the twin towers, and the New York Police Department (NYPD) used the NYPD headquarters as a command center from a few blocks away. In Washington, DC, the Arlington County Fire Department set up a command center and implemented a MACS and a unified command structure. In NYC, communication between the NYPD and the NYFD failed because of radio programming. Communication about the tenth floor failed because of cellular repeater tower failure, and when the buildings collapsed, they destroyed the NYFD incident command post.
- Using the Argosy University online library resources, reliable news outlets, and the FEMA Incident Command System(ICS) (https://www.fema.gov/incident-command-system-resources), the ICS Organization Chart (https://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/icsresource/assets/icsorganization.pdf), the Appendix B: ICS (https://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nims/NIMS_AppendixB.pdf), investigate the command center structures that were established in NYC and Washington, DC.
- Prepare a 3–4-page paper that provides a comparative analysis of the command structures in each location. What aspects of incident responsibility and accountability were similar, and which were different between Washington, DC and NYC?
- Explain the types of communication failures on September 11. Explore one or more alternative means of communication that can or could have been used as a contingency in the situation.