Stephen Swazee, CAPT USNR (Ret.)


Abstract: Through the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS), the leadership of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FEMA have directed the phased introduction of numerous operational standards designed to promote and facilitate interoperability in the Emergency Services Sector (ESS). With release of FEMA Directive 092-5, “Use of the United States National Grid (USNG)”, in October 2015, the ESS now has a standard for the foremost element of any response – the ability to effectively communicate “where”.

This presentation will address U.S. National Grid (USNG) basics in a simple and practical way so attendees can return to their organizations and help others understand why FEMA, the National Search and Rescue Committee, Department of Defense and several states are aggressively implementing USNG as the “response language of location” for both disaster and everyday operations. Elements of information covered will include:

  1. The Emergency Responder “Where” Problem,
  2. Why USNG is the Answer,
  3. How USNG Works,
  4. How to Leverage USNG, and
  5. Available Resources for Local Training.

Examples of real-world uses of USNG will also be considered.


Bio: Steve is a retired Navy Captain and retired Delta Air Lines pilot who chairs the Emergency Preparedness Committee of the Minnesota Geospatial Advisory Council. Since 2008, he has served as Executive Director of SharedGeo, a Minnesota non-profit dedicated to the development of geospatial technology for the common good. He also serves on the Public X Y Mapping Project Board of Directors and was previously a member of the Minnesota Geospatial Advisory Council, the Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) Board of Directors, and the GITA Federal Liaison Advisory Group (FLAG) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). During Hurricanes Katrina, Ophelia, Rita and Wilma in 2005, he served as the senior Department of Defense (DoD) Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer at the Pentagon. He was subsequently named to the DHS-DoD post-Katrina data work group charged with developing a national Common Operating Picture (COP) that can be used by all levels of responders and decision makers. In September 2010, Steve was awarded a Commendation from Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty for his service to the state. He is a nationally recognized expert on USNG implementation and leading advocate for adoption by the Emergency Services Sector.


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St. Paul, MN 55104-4086

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