Auxcomm ... Explained

RRRA Members who were not able to attend the Jan TRG-AUXCOMM workshop hosted by the club in January 2016, might like to view the Auxcomm … Explained HamRadioNow episode (HRN 330, EmComm Extra #13, June 21 2017) for an introduction to AUXCOMM and read the AUXCOMM—Intense Training for Serious Disasters QST article for a review of an OEC TRG-AUXCOMM course conducted in Orlando, Florida, during February 2016.


AUXCOMM is an umbrella term and acronym for auxiliary communications. It was developed by OEC in 2009 with the assistance of amateur radio subject matter experts. The concept behind the acronym was to educate as many amateur radio entities to work and train with public safety personnel, understand the value of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) concept and the role of the communications unit leader (COML). AUXCOMM, although not an official national ICS position as of yet, is most often identified as a Technical Specialist (THSP) in the Communications Unit of the NIMS ICS structure. A few states have endorsed AUXCOMM as an official position within their state NIMS/ICS structure. The process on how this can be accomplished is described in the FEMA NIMS: Guidelines for the Credentialing of Personnel, August 2011 and FEMAs Type 3 All-Hazard Incident Management System Qualification Guide, dated September 2010.

OEC subsequently developed the AUXCOMM technical assistance workshop and produced the Auxiliary Field Operators Guide. This guide and other OEC products are available at The TRG-AUXCOMM (again, another Federal acronym for the course designator) is designed to educate amateurs and state officials involved with volunteer groups they could expect in an emergency operations center environment. The AUXFOG is a reference guide for the amateur radio emergency communications community. [As of July 2016] the OEC AUXCOMM course [had] been taught 105 times with over 1,300 amateur radio operators trained. 1

Why use the term “AUXCOMM” when radio amateurs are historically familiar with the traditional groups/programs such as ARES®, RACES, SATERN, REACT, etc? … While participating amateurs are trained by their home groups, such as ARES, when activated under the ICS, they check their titles and any internal group rivalries at the door. Under ICS, they all become technical specialists/auxiliary communicators, Thus avoiding confusion on who they report to, and the protocols to follow. AUXCOMM is not an organization or program and does not compete with any Amateur Radio program or organization that provides public service, disaster, or emergency communications. 2

  1. “Auxiliary Emergency Communications: Recognition of It’s Support to Public Safety”, Homeland Security SAFECOM Blog, Retrieved January 15 2018, [return]
  2. “AUXCOMM—Intense Training for Serious Disasters”, QST Magazine May 2016, Retrieved January 15 2018, [return]