US exercise corrective action process

The FEMA exercise programme contains a formalised Inter-Agency Corrective Action Process to follow up exercise lessons.

This says:
“CAP provides the basis for systematically developing, prioritizing, and tracking corrective actions following exercises, real-world events, and policy discussions
– The Web-based CAP System supports the CAP by enabling assignment and automated tracking of corrective actions
– The CAP methodology provides a disciplined process for Interagency-level corrective action implementation
– Validated corrective actions become lessons learned for a broader audience
– Shared on Lessons Learned Information Sharing (www.LLIS.gov)
– The CAP process applies to exercise issues which:
– Arise from National-Level Exercises; or
– Require Interagency coordination”

It identifies 10 formal steps
1. Event evaluation: Evaluators observe and analyze exercise, and develop preliminary recommendations to address observed issues
2. After Action Conference: Exercise Participants review Draft AAR and develop proposed CAs addressing preliminary recommendations
3. Issue Prioritisation: PTEE PCC prioritizes proposed CAs (with HSC input)
4. Issue Assignment: HSC formally assigns priority CA to appropriate D/A via ExecSec channels
5. D/A Concurrence: Assigned D/A expresses written concurrence (or nonconcurrence) to PTEE PCC, via HSC
6A. Review of non-concurrence: PTEE PCC reviews and discusses D/A’s written
expression of non-concurrence
6. Solution development: Assigned D/A develops implementation plan for assigned CA
7. Solution Review: PTEE PCC reviews implementation plan and provides feedback.
8. Solution implementation: Assigned D/A implements solution, in accordance with proposed timelines and milestones
9. Solution validation: Implemented CA is validated through future exercises

(NB: acronyms are:
After-Action Report (AAR)
Improvement Plan (IP)
Corrective Action (CA)
Department/Agency (D/A)
Homeland Security Council (HSC)
Plans, Training, Exercises and Evaluations Policy Coordination Committee (PTEE PCC)
Executive Secretary (Exec Sec)

I think what is most significant about this is the attempt to get D/As to formally accept responsibility for following up each CA, in other words to prevent the sort of unseemly squabbles that took place after Hurricane Katrina.

Then there is LLIS, which is
” * A constantly growing collection of Lessons Learned, Best Practices, and Good Stories across the full spectrum of disciplines
* Extensive online library of documents, including redacted after-action reports from federally sponsored exercises
* Online forum where emergency responders can discuss incident response, share contact information, and provide feedback
* Directory of local, state, and federal emergency responders
* Up-to-date list of emergency response events and exercises”

Alas, it is only open to “Emergency response providers and homeland security officials from the local, state, and federal levels”, but tis newsletter is accessible (here) and includes summaries, but not the full; text, of some of its findings.

For example:

“Information Sharing: Stovepiping of Information Systems within Agencies and Response Communities (Top Officials 3 Full-Scale Exercise, 2005)
Information systems used in the Top Officials 3 full-scale exercise were largely stovepiped within agencies and/or response communities.”

and

“Information Sharing: Uniform Reporting Guidelines and Establishing Procedures for Validating Information (Top Officials 3 Full-Scale Exercise, 2005)
The vast number of operating centers negatively affected information sharing by increasing the scope and complexity of the problem.”

(NB stovepiping: Wikipedia defines as: “a metaphorical term which recalls a stovepipes function as an isolated vertical conduit, and has been used, in the context of intelligence, to describe several ways in which raw intelligence information may be presented without proper context. The lack of context may be due to the specialized nature, or security requirements, of a particular intelligence collection technology. Alternatively, the lack of context may come from a particular group, in the national policy structure, selectively presenting only that information that supports certain conclusions.”

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