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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Role of Transportation Management Centers in Emergency Operations Guidebook


After Action Report/Implementation Plan (AAR/IP) – The main product of the Evaluation and Improvement Planning process is the AAR/IP. The AAR/IP has two components: an AAR, which captures observations of an exercise and makes recommendations for post-exercise improvements; and an IP, which identifies specific corrective actions, assigns them to responsible parties, and establishes targets for their completion. The lead evaluator and the exercise planning team draft the AAR and submit it to conference participants prior to the After Action Conference. The draft AAR is completed first and distributed to conference participants for review no more than 30 days after exercise conduct. The final AAR/IP is an outcome of the After Action Conference and should be disseminated to participants no more than 60 days after exercise conduct. Even though the AAR and IP are developed through different processes and perform distinct functions, the final AAR and IP should always be printed and distributed jointly as a single AAR/IP following an exercise.

Controller – In an operations-based exercise, controllers plan and manage exercise play, set up and operate the exercise incident site, and possibly take the roles of individuals and agencies not actually participating in the exercise (i.e., in the Simulation Cell [SimCell]). Controllers direct the pace of exercise play and routinely include members from the exercise planning team, provide key data to players, and may prompt or initiate certain player actions and injects to the players as described in the Master Scenario Event List (MSEL) to ensure exercise continuity. The individual controllers issue exercise materials to players as required, monitor the exercise timeline, and monitor the safety of all exercise participants. Controllers are the only participants who should provide information or direction to players. All controllers should be accountable to one senior controller. (Note: If conducting an exercise requires more controllers or evaluators than are available, a controller may serve as an evaluator; however, this typically is discouraged.)

Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101 – A guide designed to assist jurisdictions with developing operations plans. It promotes a common understanding of the fundamentals of planning and decision-making to help emergency planners examine a hazard and produce integrated, coordinated, and synchronized plans.

Continuity of Government – A coordinated effort within the Federal Government’s executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a catastrophic emergency (as defined in National Security Presidential Directive 51/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20).

Continuity of Operations – An effort within individual organizations to ensure that Primary Mission Essential Functions continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies.

Discussion-Based Exercises – Discussion-based exercises are normally used as a starting point in the building-block approach to the cycle, mix, and range of exercises. Discussion-based exercises include seminars, workshops, TTXs, and games. These types of exercises typically highlight existing plans, policies, mutual aid agreements (MAAs), and procedures, and are exceptional tools to familiarize agencies and personnel with current or expected jurisdictional capabilities. Discussion-based exercises typically focus on strategic, policy-oriented issues, whereas operations-based exercises tend to focus more on tactical, response-related issues. Facilitators and/or presenters usually lead the discussion and keep participants on track to meet exercise objectives.

Exercise Evaluation Guide (EEG) – EEGs are HSEEP documents that support the exercise evaluation process by providing evaluators with consistent standards for observation, analysis, and AAR development. Each EEG is linked to a target capability and provides standard activities, performance measures, and tasks to be evaluated based on the exercise objectives. Additionally, an EEG contains a Capability Narrative section, in which evaluators provide a general chronological narrative of exercise events associated with the capability; and an Evaluator Observations section in which evaluators provide specific strengths and areas of improvement linked to the capability.

The consistent guidelines provided in EEGs facilitate creation of AAR/IPs resulting in an actionable IPs that target specific personnel, planning, organization, equipment, and training needs within capabilities.

Emergency – Any incident, whether natural or manmade, that requires responsive action to protect life or property. Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, an emergency means any occasion or instance for which, in the determination of the President, Federal assistance is needed to supplement state and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States.

Emergency Management Assistance Compact – A congressionally ratified organization that provides form and structure to interstate mutual aid. Through EMAC, a disaster-affected state can request and receive assistance from other member states quickly and efficiently, resolving two key issues up front: liability and reimbursement.

Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) – The EMPG program provides resources to assist state and local governments to sustain and enhance all-hazards emergency management capabilities. States have the opportunity to use EMPG funds to further strengthen their ability to support emergency management activities while simultaneously addressing issues of national concern as identified in the National Priorities of the National Preparedness Guidelines. EMPG has a 50 percent Federal and 50 percent state cost-share cash or in-kind match requirement.

Emergency Operations Center (EOC) – The physical location at which the coordination of information and resources to support incident management (on-scene operations) activities normally takes place. An EOC may be a temporary facility or may be located in a more central or permanently established facility, perhaps at a higher level of organization within a jurisdiction. EOCs may be organized by major functional disciplines (e.g., fire, law enforcement, medical services), by jurisdiction (e.g., Federal, state, regional, tribal, city, county), or by some combination thereof.

Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) – An ongoing plan for responding to a wide variety of potential hazards.

Exercise – An exercise is an instrument to train for, assess, practice, and improve performance in prevention, protection, response, and recovery capabilities in a risk-free environment. Exercises can be used for: testing and validating policies, plans, procedures, training, equipment, and interagency agreements; clarifying and training personnel in roles and responsibilities; improving interagency coordination and communications; identifying gaps in resources; improving individual performance; and identifying opportunities for improvement. (Note: an exercises is also an excellent way to demonstrate community resolve to prepare for disastrous events).

Evaluator – Evaluators, selected from participating agencies, are chosen based on their expertise in the functional areas they will observe. Evaluators use EEGs to measure and assess performance, capture unresolved issues, and analyze exercise results. Evaluators passively assess and document participants' performance against established emergency plans and exercise evaluation criteria, in accordance with HSEEP standards. Evaluators have a passive role in the exercise and only note the actions/decisions of players without interfering with exercise flow.

Exercise Plan (ExPlan) – ExPlans are general information documents that help operations-based exercises run smoothly. They are published and distributed prior to the start of exercise and provide a synopsis of the exercise. In addition to addressing exercise objectives and scope, ExPlans assign activities and responsibilities for successful exercise execution. They enable participants to understand their roles and responsibilities in exercise planning, execution, and evaluation. The ExPlan is intended for use by exercise players and observers; therefore, it does not contain detailed scenario information that may reduce the realism of the tasks to be performed. Players and observers should review all elements of the ExPlan prior to exercise participation.

Functional Exercise (FE) – An FE is a single or multi-agency activity designed to evaluate capabilities and multiple functions using a simulated response. An FE is typically used to: evaluate the management of Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), command posts, and headquarters; and assess the adequacy of response plans and resources. Characteristics of an FE include simulated deployment of resources and personnel, rapid problem solving, and a highly stressful environment.

Full-Scale Exercise (FSE) – An FSE is a multi-agency, multijurisdictional activity involving actual deployment of resources in a coordinated response as if a real incident had occurred. An FSE tests many components of one or more capabilities within emergency response and recovery, and is typically used to assess plans and procedures under crisis conditions, and assess coordinated response under crisis conditions. Characteristics of a FSE include mobilized units, personnel, and equipment; stressful, a realistic environment, and scripted exercise scenarios.

Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP) – HSEEP is a capabilities- and performance-based exercise program that provides standardized policy, doctrine, and terminology for the design, development, conduct, and evaluation of homeland security exercises. HSEEP also provides tools and resources to facilitate the management of self-sustaining homeland security exercise programs.

Incident Command System (ICS) – The Incident Command System organizational element responsible for overall management of the incident and consisting of the Incident Commander (either single or unified command structure) and any assigned supporting staff.

Master Scenario Event List – The MSEL is a chronological timeline of expected actions and scripted events to be injected into exercise play by controllers to generate or prompt player activity. It ensures necessary events happen so that all objectives are met. Larger, more complex exercises may also employ a Procedural Flow (ProFlow), which differs from the MSEL in that it only contains expected player actions or events. The MSEL links simulation to action, enhances exercise experience for players, and reflects an incident or activity meant to prompt players to action. Each MSEL record contains a designated scenario time, an event synopsis, the name of the controller responsible for delivering the inject; and, if applicable, special delivery instructions, the task and objective to be demonstrated, the expected action, the intended player, and a note-taking section.

National Incident Management System (NIMS) – A set of principles that provides a systematic, proactive approach guiding government agencies at all levels, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life or property and harm to the environment.

National Response Plan (NRP) – Establishes a comprehensive all-hazards approach to enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents. The plan incorporates best practices and procedures from incident management disciplines – homeland security, emergency management, law enforcement, firefighting, public works, public health, responder and recovery worker health and safety, emergency medical services, and the private sector – and integrates them into a unified structure. It forms the basis of how the Federal government coordinates with state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector during incidents.

National Special Security Events (NSSE) – Events of national significance which by virtue of their political, economic, social, or religious significance may be targets of terrorism or other criminal activity. Events include presidential inaugurations, major international summits held in the United States, major sporting events, and presidential nominating conventions.

Operations-Based Exercise – Operations-based exercises are a category of exercises characterized by actual response, mobilization of apparatus and resources, and commitment of personnel, usually held over an extended period of time. Operations-based exercises can be used to validate plans, policies, agreements, and procedures. They include drills, FEs, and FSEs. They can clarify roles and responsibilities, identify gaps in resources needed to implement plans and procedures, and improve individual and team performance. (Note: These exercises often follow after, and validate, the lessons learned from discussion-based exercises.)

State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) – SHSP supports the implementation of State Homeland Security Strategies to address the identified planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events. SHSP also provides funding to implement initiatives in the State Preparedness Report.

Standard Operating Guidelines – A set of instructions having the force of a directive, covering those features of operations which lend themselves to a definite or standardized procedure without loss of effectiveness.

Standard Operating Procedure – A complete reference document or an operations manual that provides the purpose, authorities, duration, and details for the preferred method of performing a single function or a number of interrelated functions in a uniform manner.

Tabletop Exercise (TTX) – TTXs are intended to stimulate discussion of various issues regarding a hypothetical situation. They can be used to assess plans, policies, and procedures or to assess types of systems needed to guide the prevention of, response to, or recovery from a defined incident. During a TTX, senior staff, elected or appointed officials, or other key personnel meet in an informal setting to discuss simulated situations. TTXs are typically aimed at facilitating understanding of concepts, identifying strengths and shortfalls, and/or achieving a change in attitude. Participants are encouraged to discuss issues in depth and develop decisions through slow-paced problem-solving rather than the rapid, spontaneous decision-making that occurs under actual or simulated emergency conditions. TTXs can be breakout (i.e., groups split into functional areas) or plenary (i.e., one large group).

Unified Command (UC) – An Incident Command System application used when more than one agency has incident jurisdiction or when incidents cross political jurisdictions. Agencies work together through the designated members of the UC, often the senior persons from agencies and/or disciplines participating in the UC, to establish a common set of objectives and strategies and a single Incident Action Plan.