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.