Preparedness Exercises 2.0

Alternative Approaches to Exercise Design That Could Make Them More Useful for Evaluating — and Strengthening — Preparedness

Published in: Homeland Security Affairs, v. 7, no. 9, Apr. 2011, p. 1-19

Posted on RAND.org on April 01, 2011

by Brian A. Jackson, Shawn McKay

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Preparedness exercises play central roles in both the building and assessment of organizational readiness for future incidents. Though processes for designing and evaluating exercises are well established, there are opportunities to improve the value of exercises for strengthening preparedness and as tools for gathering assessment data. This article describes the application of systems analytical approach adapted from engineering that examines response operations as systems with potential failure modes that could hurt performance at future incidents. This methodology, which has been applied previously to preparedness measurement, is explored here as a tool for exercise design to focus it more tightly on key potential problem areas and to make it easier to use exercise data to explore preparedness for incidents that could differ considerably from the specific exercised scenario.

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