U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Carol Ortiz, 355th Medical Support Squadron medical lab technician, prepares a COVID-19 sample kit at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, March 27, 2020. Medical staff collected samples for COVID-19 testing in protective gear for safety reasons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa)

COVID-19 Recovery CISA Tabletop Exercise Package Helps Prep for Potential Second Wave

CISA developed the COVID-19 Recovery CISA Tabletop Exercise Package (CTEP) to assist private sector stakeholders and critical infrastructure owners and operators in assessing short-term, intermediate, and long-term recovery and business continuity plans related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Approved by the White House Task Force, and with input from the Federal interagency, this CTEP also provides organizations the opportunity to discuss how ongoing recovery efforts would be impacted by concurrent response operations to a potential “second wave” of global pandemic infections.

CISA Tabletop Exercise Packages (CTEP) are designed and developed to provide a customizable virtual exercise for critical infrastructure and private sector partners to review their emergency plans for a multitude of different scenarios.  CTEPs are intended to assist organizations in developing their own tabletop exercises to tailor meet their specific needs, from planning to execution. CISA’s CTEPs allow users to leverage pre-built exercise templates with realistic scenarios, to build tabletop exercises to assess, develop, and update information sharing processes, emergency plans, programs, policies, and procedures.

If you have questions about the Situation Manual or supporting documentation, recommendations for improvement, information on available CTEP products, or are interested in tailored exercises for your specific program please contact CISA.Exercises@cisa.dhs.gov.

Within the CTEP package you will find instructions and templates to help you conduct an exercise within your organization that follows Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) guidance, including:

  • Situation Manual (SITMAN) –The SITMAN includes scope, objectives, core capabilities, exercise agenda, the scenario, and discussion questions.  This document can be tailored by your organization to meet your specific needs and objectives.
  • Welcome Letter – An official letter that describes the purpose of the CTEP, its content, and its available resources.
  • Program Fact Sheet – A fact sheet that provides a detailed list of the scenarios and situation manuals available to stakeholders through the CTEP.
  • Exercise Planner Handbook – A guide for the exercise planner. This document provides step-by-step instructions on how to plan, develop, and execute the tabletop exercise.
  • Facilitator & Evaluator Handbook – A guide for facilitators, evaluators, and data collectors. This document provides instructions for capturing strengths, areas for improvement, and recommendations identified during the exercise for inclusion in the After-Action Report / Improvement Plan (AAR / IP).
  • Invitation Letter Template – A template of an official invitation letter that is sent to exercise participants (players and observers).
  • Exercise Brief Slide Deck Template – A template of a PowerPoint Presentation used in conjunction with the Situation Manual that the exercise facilitator uses to guide players through scenario modules and discussion questions.
  • Participant Feedback Form – A form that is mainly used to gather recommendations and key outcomes from the exercise as well as feedback on the exercise design and conduct from the players.
  • Exercise Planner Feedback Form – A feedback form used by the exercise planners and the facilitator to consolidate players’ feedback on exercise improvement.
  • After-Action Report / Improvement Plan Template – A template to aid exercise planners, evaluators, and data collectors in developing an HSEEP-compliant AAR / IP.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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