The Challenge

Building high-functioning teams to manage large-scale complexity and chaos.

The Course

A high-intensity, hands-on program, Intent into Action: Advanced Leadership for the Command and General Staff cultivates proficiency beyond the technical requirements of doctrinal systems, such as the Incident Command System (ICS) or the Australian Inter-service Incident Management System (AIIMS).

The program offers command staff and Incident Management Team members (North American Type 2 and Type 1 or Australian Level 2 and Level 3) the practical skills and tools to build cohesion, adaptiveness, and resilience during complex incident planning and operations. At this level, the ambiguous, undefined, and dynamic nature of incidents requires a degree of teamwork and integration beyond what is needed for smaller incidents. IMT members need to function as an integrated unit in order to build a common operating picture, plan strategically, and conduct effective operations. Salient themes – leadership, teamwork, intent, communication, and operational culture – extend beyond the confines of the incident organization to have a significant effect on cooperators, jurisdictional owners, and political-public spheres.

This program picks up where fundamental IMT process courses, leave off. It concentrates on integrating leadership and incident management acumen to achieve strategic results in large-scale incidents.

The course focuses on guiding the staff as a highly functional and integrated team that can leverage incident management practices to its best effect:

  • Developing ethos and team culture as a professional staff
  • Establishing an effective command climate aligned with a Mission-Driven Culture
  • Developing and maintaining a common operating picture
  • Providing functional integration and resilience
  • Thinking critically and strategically
  • Leading at the team, section, and stakeholder level
  • Influencing the political, social, infrastructure, information, and economic elements of the operational environment
  • Developing and communicating intent at an incident level

This five-day program provides practical experience using ICS or AIIMS structure in the context of a large incident response. Students work in iterative simulations to review, practice, and improve the application of doctrinal tools along with leadership skills as appropriate for the staff. They graduate with a portfolio of feedback upon which to base future development activities.

The hands-on character of Intent into Action makes it valuable for both trainees and veteran IMT members to deepen understanding and strengthen effective command behaviors. In addition, its flexible structure allows the accommodation of both individuals and standing teams.

Who Should Attend?

Candidates preparing for assignment on Type 2 or Type 1 IMTs (AIIMS Level 2 or Level 3) or serving as staff members in local, regional, state, or national agencies or IMTs in the following disciplines:

• Fire Services • Law Enforcement • Emergency Management •
• Emergency Medical Services • Hazardous Materials • Public Health •
• Health Care • Public Safety • Communications • Public Works •


Sufficient familiarity with ICS or AIIMS to perform basic duties of assigned functional areas


MCS is the sole provider of L-481 Advanced Leadership for the Command & General Staff, which is listed in FEMA’s State and Federal Sponsored Course Catalog as CA-057-RESP.

The Department of Homeland Security has approved this MCS program for use with SHSP and UASI grant funds.

Upon successful completion, participants will have met the criteria for the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) L-481 Advanced Leadership for the Command & General Staff course. Many agencies have replaced their use of the older S-420 Command & General Staff Course with L-481.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers about schedule, facilities requirements, certifications, student qualifications, and more.

Intent into Action: Program FAQS

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