State Operations Center (SOC)

What is the SOC?

The California State Operations Center (SOC) is a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency management and disaster management at a statewide strategic level during an emergency, and ensuring California’s continuity of operations.

During an emergency, the SOC plays a primary role in assisting the Governor in carrying out State emergency responsibilities. The SOC is responsible for support leaders’ strategic direction and operational decisions and does not normally directly control field assets, instead leaving tactical decisions to lower commands.

The SOC assists the California Governor in fulfilling State emergency responsibilities. The SOC manages incident information for the governor and coordinates the acquisition of scarce resources requested by a Regional Emergency Operations Center (REOC). A REOC supports the local area Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The SOC is staffed by Cal OES personnel and representatives from federal, state, regional, local, tribal, and non-governmental organizations.

A resource is any item needed to support an incident or disaster. Resources are filled at the lowest emergency operations center level through a process called the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS). SEMS unifies all elements of California’s emergency management community into a single integrated system and standardizes key elements.

For more detailed information on SEMS, please see Planning & Preparedness Standardized Emergency Management System (

Situation Awareness and Collaboration Tool (SCOUT)


Activation Levels

The SOC may be activated at the direction of the Cal OES Director/Chief Deputy Director or under specific emergency conditions. The SOC has three activation levels in addition to steady state. The table below identifies conditions that determine activation level.




Level 1 – Red


disaster requiring comprehensive state-level response and/or assistance  all

functions staffed

Level 2 – Orange

Large-scale disaster

requiring high amount of state involvement most functions staffed

Level 3 – Yellow

Small to moderate disaster

or pre-planned event some functions staffed

Steady State Normal
Operations/Monitoring – Green

Duty Officer status

Steady-state operation

California State Warning Center maintains situational awareness

Who is represented in the SOC?

The SOC is organized around the five primary SEMS functions of:

  • Management
  • Operations
  • Planning/Intelligence
  • Logistics
  • Finance/Administration

Staffing is comprised of Cal OES personnel as well as representatives from other federal, state, regional, local, tribal and non-governmental organizations.

How does the SOC coordinate during a disaster?

Other state agencies having an emergency response role must also operate under SEMS. Several of these agencies maintain separate operations centers at the headquarters level, which are used during periods of emergency response. Under SEMS, these would be classified as Department Operating Centers (DOCs).

A DOC is an emergency operations center used by a distinct discipline, and may be used at all SEMS levels above the field response level.

Headquarters Response

Response Documentation Division (RDD)

The RDD assists in the development and maintenance of Cal OES disaster operations materials that guide Cal OES Response Operations at the Field, Regional, and Headquarters level. RDD works closely with Response Support Operations to develop and maintain State Operations Center information.

Response Support Operations (RSO)

The RSO coordinates and supports critical State emergency response activities, the activation of the State Operations Center (SOC), coordinating resource requests utilizing mission tasking and supporting the Regional Emergency Operations Centers and local government partners. RSO has primary responsibilities for the Executive Duty Officer (EDO) Program, the Operational Readiness Program, and the Emergency Management Assistant Compact (EMAC) Program.

RSO is further accountable for the management of three, 18 – person Incident Support Teams (IST); Red, White and Blue Operational Readiness Teams with 600 members total. RSO members are assigned to all three IST’s in the Management Section as Response Liaison Officers. RSO additionally is charged with completing sensitive Response Directorate projects and assignments, is engaged with the operational integration of CA Emergency Support Functions (CA- ESF) and external partners into California’s emergency management system.

Response Systems Integration (RSI)

The RSI manages and supports aspects of training and system development for the SOC, including the Situation Awareness and Collaboration Tool (SCOUT) program, SOC response information systems, and the Cal EOC program.

Situation Cell (SitCell)

The Situation Cell (Sit Cell) is a team of highly trained Senior Emergency Services Coordinators and Program Managers specializing in identification of emerging and near-term threats and trends, analysis of potential impacts, and development of situation analysis reports for key stakeholders. The unit’s mission is to gather timely, clear, concise intelligence through all-source analysis, to gain a decision-making advantage for Cal OES and our partners.

Reports developed by the Sit Cell include the Director’s Daily Brief, 7 Day Threat Outlook, Incident Threat Analysis (ITA30), and Sit Cell Incident Reports. At the request of the Governor’s Office, incident specific situation reports are produced for the Governor. The Sit Cell is the lead unit for maintaining policy oversight over the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program, engaging and coordinating with the Investor-Owned Utilities (IOU), and the development of high level PSPS analysis reports for Cal OES Executives.

The Sit Cell capability for incident reporting 24/7 is achieved through a rotating Duty Officer Program. The Sit Cell gives a “warm start” to a State Operations Center (SOC) activation by providing the Planning Section with initial situational awareness. This capability, called Enhanced Watch, gives Cal OES more flexibility when responding and supporting to an incident.

The Sit Cell is pioneering a firm foundation for collaborative networks of emergency management intelligence.