Department of Homeland Security/FEMA
Preparedness Exercise and Training Case Study
In response to Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was tasked to establish technology solutions in support of the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). This effort includes a multi-year planning system for scheduling, designing, and evaluating nationwide exercises.
Starting in 2004, Bridgeborn began development of the HSEEP Toolkit, an integrated suite of applications to plan and execute capability-based exercises. In its second decade, the HSEEP Toolkit supports over 28,000 users within the Continental United States. The software is accessible in unclassified mode via common web browsers. The HSEEP Toolkit consists of the following:
- National Exercise Schedule System (NEXS): Coordinating across all levels of government required an online system that allows exercise planners to synchronize exercises and provide visibility into exercises that overlapped domains. Developed and deployed by Bridgeborn, NEXS enabled the linking of exercises at all levels of government. Working closely with DHS and its stakeholders, Bridgeborn incorporated standardized methods, capabilities-based planning, clarified HSEEP terminology and bridged exercise scheduling into the broader exercise planning process.
The NEXS System formalized the exercise scheduling process by providing DHS with a set of intuitive, web-accessible tools. Web delivery increased the user base and usability and advanced reporting features give DHS foresight into upcoming exercises. Pattern recognition capabilities allow DHS to more effectively allocate funds by combining or separating exercises as well as to determine how and where exercise resources are best used to seek efficiencies that save both time and money in the planning process. Additional value was realized by the client because the standardized data format used by Bridgeborn has allowed DHS to take the NEXS from being exclusively intra-agency to inter-agency. This inter-agency use will alleviate redundant data entry and scheduling, which saves both time and money.
Design and Development System (DDS): A project management tool and comprehensive tutorial for the design, development, conduct, and evaluation of exercises. Checklists, document templates, and instructions are included for planning and executing exercises from the initial planning stages to the after action report and improvement planning.
The Corrective Action Program (CAP) Systems: A web-based application that enables users to prioritize, track, and analyze improvement plans developed from exercises and real-world events. Features of the CAP System include Improvement Plan creation and maintenance, corrective action assignment and tracking, and reporting and analysis.
Prior to Bridgeborn’s support of Department of Homeland Security, DHS had little in the way of software solutions or a web site for communication to the exercise community. The applications and services Bridgeborn provided enable DHS to fulfill its mission for conducting exercises consistently across all levels of government; additionally, the tools have facilitated, promoted and improved communication from DHS to its user base and constituents by allowing DHS staff to easily update and deliver critical information to the exercise community in a timely manner. This improved communication allows DHS to effectively coordinate their exercise programs and the ease-of-use of the tools designed by Bridgeborn has increased user acceptance of HSEEP.
Safety and Security Case Study
Since 2006, Bridgeborn has been supporting the Department of Homeland Security with the design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning for multiple interagency, federal, state and local exercises. Bridgeborn has provided program management support for the following areas:
- Bridgeborn has supported multiple National Level Exercises (NLE) including Top Official’s Exercise (TOPOFF) 3 and 4, NLE 2-2008, 2009, and 2010. Bridgeborn staff has served in key roles for the design, develop, conduct and evaluation for multiple NLEs, including serving as the Deputy Program Manager, Lead Exercise Planner, Lead Exercise Controller, Deputy Master Scenario Events List (MSEL) Manger and National Exercise Master Scenario Events List (NxMSEL) support staff.
Since the program’s inception, Bridgeborn’s support team to the Terrorism Prevention Exercise Program (TPEP) has taken a key role in helping prepare our law enforcement and intelligence communities to prevent and deter possible terrorist attacks. The primary mission of TPEP is to enhance overall terrorism prevention capabilities of the Nation through the conduct of prevention-focused exercises and support activities. These activities increase levels of awareness and cooperation and information sharing among homeland security, intelligence and law enforcement officials at all levels of government.
Bridgeborn has supported a broad base of state and regional exercises. These exercises have included assisting multiple universities and a professional sports team to prepare for a terrorism event during special events. Bridgeborn has assisted city and state response units exercise their ability to respond to events such as a train derailment or hazmat spill. Bridgeborn has also assisted states' most risk-sensitive organizations in testing their continuity of operations (COOP) plans. These COOP exercises assess the state’s ability to ensure the performance of essential functions and essential operations during a disaster.
Bridgeborn has played a leading role in supporting federal, state and local entities to develop and refine the overall approach to building realistic exercises. The company has a wealth of expertise on staff, including former national-level counterterrorism analysts, special operation and emergency response officials, all enabling us to develop credible exercises and to drive realistic exercise experiences.