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Abstract

Although the Incident Command System (ICS) has existed for some forty years, the use of ICS grew significantly in the past decade because the United States learned hard lessons from infamous failures of incident management after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. As such, ICS theory and practice must be understood by legal scholars and practitioners who seek to contribute to the growing fields of climate change adaptation and disaster response. Filling a gap in the legal literature, this article will provide lawyers and legal scholars with an introduction to the Incident Command System, outlining the origin, doctrines, and organizational framework of ICS, along with major early critiques. Additionally, it illustrates the law and application of ICS through transformative events including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Deepwater Horizon, and examines the potential roles for lawyers in ICS, including the emerging ICS position of legal officer.