I am writing a Michael Crichton-style sci-fi novel, and at one point, a government operation is convened to fix a problem - consider a national emergency (let say a virus/bioweapon got loose from a national lab) and they need to get a bunch of scientists and engineers to fix the problem.

However, I am having trouble even naming this sort of thing, so it’s hard to research what the proper protocol would be.

I was imagining something like this: the president calls an emergency task force to deal with the issue. There are incident commanders (?), who then name sub-commanders, and they break the problem into sub tasks (e.g. how to treat those who have it, how to prevent the spread, developing a vaccine, deploying the vaccine, etc.) and get experts from each field to help. This is how things work in incident response, which I'm familiar with, but no idea how it works in government.

What do you call this kind of operation? I want to read more about how it works, but I don't even know the terms involved or what to even call it.

  • You can call it what you like. Who is going to contradict you?
    – Chenmunka
    Mar 19, 2022 at 18:08
  • @Chenmunka - anyone with enough familiarity with government processes to recognize when the novel is getting things wrong. schlockmercenary.com/2012-04-01 Mar 19, 2022 at 19:15
  • @Chenmunka It's important for me that my story is as realistic as possible. Mar 19, 2022 at 19:17
  • 2
    Have you tried asking your government about their emergency plans, or looking for them? For many conceivable disasters they should have plans/protocols ready that they call pull out and act on. I expect it will be very, very boring, though. Here is a random example I found by googling government emergency protocol biohazard
    – user54131
    Mar 19, 2022 at 19:44
  • @towr Wow, this was incredibly helpful. I googled government emergency protocol for my issue in my story, and while they don't have one for it exactly, I found a LOT of other information, even an entire govt agency dedicated to it (CISA) that I didn't even know about! These are great resources and I have so much to pour through, which is exactly what I needed. Thank you so much for your comment! Mar 20, 2022 at 1:20


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