Thursday, October 20, 2022

CISA Publishes Initial ICAR 60-day ICR Notice

Today, CISA published a 60-day information collection request (ICR) in the Federal Register (87 FR 63792-63793) for the initial issue of an OMB control number for “Incident Communications Activity Report (ICAR)”. This ICR will support operations of CISA’s Emergency Communications Division (ECD) to fulfill the institutional requirements of paragraphs (9) and (10) of 6 USC 571(c). The information will be provided voluntarily by State, Local, territorial and Tribal public safety communications personnel.

The Information Collection

ECD will provide an electronically submittable PDF form for the report submission (there is no link provided to the form, that typically becomes available when the agency submits the ICR to OMB after the publication of the 30-day notice). The Notice reports that: “Participants will be able to input free form information in addition to a couple drop down type questions which will be asked.” ECD estimates that it will take 5-minutes to fill out the form.

The information collected will be used to help CISA “to identify lessons learned to drive strategy and improve existing or offer new technical assistance within the scope of emergency communications activity for Incidents, Planned Events, or Exercises.”

Burden Estimate

CISA estimates that it will receive 450 reports per year. At 5-minutes per form that comes out to an annual hourly burden of 37.5 hours. There will be no respondent sunk costs and CISA expects the annual operational cost to respondents to be $2,131.15. The annual cost to CISA for supporting this reporting and subsequent analysis will be $25,563.

Public Comments

CISA is soliciting public comments on this ICR. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket # CISA-2022-0012). Comments should be submitted by December 19th, 2022.


Initial ICR submissions are a problem. Generally the submitting agency does not have a strong data background upon which to base their estimates. Especially where the agency is relying on voluntary reporting, the guestimate for the annual number of responses has to be generally accepted as a guess that the agency can update when requesting their first update/renewal for the ICR. All subsequent burden estimates are based upon that number and remain guesses.

The one area that the agency should be held accountable for, however, is the estimate for the amount of time it takes to complete the report. In this case, since we do not have a copy of the submittable form, it is hard to determine how accurate the agency estimate is of the time to complete the form. Having said that, I find it hard to believe that any form that is relying mainly on ‘free form information’ inputs to provide information that will lead the agency to “identify lessons learned to drive strategy and improve existing or offer new technical assistance” will be able to be completed in 5-minutes. 

Furthermore, if an agency is going to be providing post-incident analysis designed to inform such agency actions, the reporting personnel are going to have to do some sort of post-incident analysis of what when right and what went wrong. This ICR should include that analysis in the burden estimate along with a more realistic time frame for filling out the form.

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