Task ID: P-2006


You are a new member on a mission, and are assigned as an assistant to the mission staff.


  1. Understand the job of the Mission Staff Assistant (MSA) and how to accomplish it.
  2. Have the ability to support the mission by accomplishing various support functions such as recording resources and updating status charts.
  3. Assist in controlling mission base confusion by escorting visitors to the correct staff member.


Training Outline

  1. The Mission Staff Assistant serves a much needed function at the mission base by providing support to the staff members. Although considered an entry-level position where many new members get their first experience on a mission, it is a position of importance to the successful completion of the mission.
    1. The MSA needs to understand the basic functions of the staff positions and organization of the mission staff. This is accomplished through training in Incident Command System (ICS) ICS-100 and ICS-200 courses.
    2. The MSA needs to understand the common responsibilities as outlined in ICS 200.
    3. When a MSA is assigned a position they have not had experience in before, they must feel free to ask for guidance from their supervisor.
  2. The MSA may be assigned to any of number of mission tasks, they may be an assistant to a staff member, they may be assigned to collect sign in information, prepare reports, post status information or keep other mission data posted or updated. These are all important tasks even though a new MSA may not immediately see the relevance of them. The MSA must insure that all personnel and resources get signed into the mission and that the information is legible. Reimbursement and insurance depends on this information.
    1. Sign In. There are two methods of signing personnel and resources into a mission, manual and computerized. For the computerized method, the MSA will need instruction from someone who is familiar with the particular system being used. However, the MSA must be competent in the manual methods in the event the computerized system is not available. There are a number of CAP and ICS Forms with which the MSA needs to be familiar.
      1. ICS Form 211. Check membership and CAPF 101 qualifications.
      2. ICS Form 214 is used to register aircraft and vehicles.
    2. Status Boards. There are several status boards at a mission base that the MSA may be task to keep updated. These boards are used to track the status aircraft, ground teams, or other activities. These boards must be kept accurate and current. These boards are used to determine if an activity are overdue. An organization chart, ICS Form 209s and/or news releases may be posted and need periodic updating.
    3. Other Data. The MSA may be assigned to assist in other functions that require the collection or dissemination of important information.
      1. Financial data. The MSA may be ask to compute the amount of money expended on a training mission or to be accounted to different task numbers on a disaster mission. On a training mission a certain amount of funds are assigned for that mission. Aircraft flight times, communications expenses, and fuel for aircraft and vehicles must be tracked so the allocated amount is not exceeded. On disaster missions, there may be more than one task number that different mission events need to be tracked against. This information can be obtained from the Finance Section Chief or the Plans Section Chief.
      2. Reports. Depending on the type of mission, there are various reports required. As the MSA you may be ask to collect some of this data and assist in developing the reports. Be sure to coordinate the information with the Plans Section before providing it to anyone else.
  3. One of the important positions the new MSA may be assigned to is the escorting of visitors to the mission base. This may be an assigned function, or mat come about as a result of being handling the sign in duties where people first arrive at the mission base. Some of these visitors will require special attention, and since the MSA might be the first person to meet them, he/she needs to understand what to do in each case. There are three types of visitors who the MSA might be the first to meet: the casual visitor, the relative(s) of the person or persons in distress, and the news media.
    1. Casual visitors. If you determine that someone just wants to see what the CAP is doing and are not relatives or news media, lead them to the Information Officer. Determine if the IO wants you to remain to further escort the visitor.
    2. Relatives. Be on the lookout for relatives of those in distress, special care must be taken with these individuals. If this is a search mission they will want to be helpful and participate. They will want to be around the mission base to observe what is going on. It is an unfortunate event when they overhear a discussion between members of the search team who may be speculating on the outcome of the mission. Whenever you identify a relative, take them immediately to the Information Officer or the Chaplain if one is available. Do not let yourself be drawn into a discussion about the mission.
    3. News media. The News Media can be a help or a problem for the mission. Getting certain information out to the public will often assist in accomplishment of the mission objectives. However, some information is best kept within the mission staff. You may be asked to assist the IO in setting up a tour of the mission base for the media. You may, as the sign in person be the first to meet media who have arrived at the base unannounced. Always take the media to the IO without answering any of their questions. They may try to get information from you or other members on the mission. Be polite, but do not allow this. ONLY the IO or Incident Commander will release information to the media.

Additional Information

More detailed information on this topic is available in the Incident Command System Curriculum and ICS 200 manuals.

Evaluation Preparation


Find a location that is suitable for the student to describe what their responsibilities are as an MSA. Have common tools of MSAs available to allow them to demonstrate as necessary.

Brief Student:

Refer to above text to determine if the student understands their responsibilities accordingly.


Performance measuresResults
Properly describe how to sign in a member and their vehicle in to a mission.Pass | Fail
Properly describe how to post mission information to status boards.Pass | Fail
Properly describe what types of visitors MSAs may be asked to escort, and any special responsibilities when doing so.Pass | Fail
Properly describe what other functions MSAs may be utilized for.Pass | Fail

Student must receive a pass on all performance measures to qualify in this task. If the individual fails any measure, show what was done wrong and how to do it correctly.

Based on CAP SQTR Reference