A FEMA Mobile Emergency Response (MERS) truck is loaded onto a C17 for the Capstone 2014 National Exercise mobilization to Alaska on March 25, 2014. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez)

FEMA Releases 2020 Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) Doctrine

The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) provides a set of guiding principles for exercise programs, as well as a common approach to exercise program management, design and development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning. Exercises are a key component of national preparedness – they provide senior leaders and stakeholders from across the whole community with the opportunity to shape planning, assess and validate capabilities, and address areas for improvement.

Through the use of HSEEP, exercise program managers can develop, execute, and evaluate exercises that address the preparedness priorities established by senior leaders. These priorities are informed by risk and capability assessments, findings, corrective actions from previous events, and external requirements like regulations and grant guidance. These priorities guide the overall direction of an exercise program, where individual exercises are anchored to a common set of priorities or objectives and build toward an increasing level of complexity over time. Accordingly, these priorities guide the design and development of individual exercises, as planners identify exercise objectives and align them to capabilities for evaluation during the exercise. Exercise evaluation assesses the ability to meet exercise objectives and capabilities by documenting strengths, areas for improvement, capability performance, and corrective actions in an After-Action Report/Improvement Plan (AAR/IP). Through improvement planning, organizations take the corrective actions needed to improve plans, build and sustain capabilities, and maintain readiness.

In this way, the use of HSEEP – in line with the National Preparedness Goal, the National Preparedness System, and stakeholder preparedness priorities – supports efforts across the whole community that improve our nation’s capacity to build, sustain, and deliver capabilities to better respond to a real-world incident.

HSEEP exercise and evaluation doctrine is flexible, scalable, and adaptable, and is for use by stakeholders across the whole community and all mission areas – prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. Using HSEEP supports the National Preparedness System by providing a consistent approach to exercises and measuring progress toward building, sustaining, and delivering capabilities.

HSEEP doctrine incorporates lessons learned and best practices from the exercise community and current policies and plans that support training, technology systems, tools, and technical assistance. Exercise practitioners are encouraged to apply and adapt HSEEP doctrine to meet their specific needs.

More information regarding HSEEP can be found here.

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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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