Earlier today FEMA dropped the latest version of the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) doctrine. Doing a quick comparison between this new version and the previous (2013) version, I’ve identified the following significant changes:
- They replaced the ‘Elected and Appointed Officials’ mentions within the document with ‘Senior Leaders’. This makes sense, since often the elected and appointed officials simply aren’t involved in many of these activities. The previous terminology is also exclusionary of the private sector and NGOs.
- The document specifically references the Preparedness Toolkit as a go-to resource.
- A big emphasis through the document is on the Integrated Preparedness Cycle (see the graphic with this post). The Integrated Preparedness Cycle covers all POETE (Planning, Organizing, Equipping, Training, and Exercising) elements plus Evaluate/Improve. The graphic also eludes to these activities not necessarily happing in a specific order, as well as the consideration of Preparedness Priorities and Threats, Hazards, and Risks. Developing a preparedness plan is something I wrote about back in 2016.
- Going along with the Integrated Preparedness Cycle, they have done away with the Training and Exercise Plan (TEP) and replaced it with the Integrated Preparedness Plan (IPP), which is developed through input obtained during an Integrated Preparedness Planning Workshop (IPPW). I serious HOPE this shift is successful, as I’ve mentioned in the past how often the training aspect of the TEP was ignored or phoned in. This approach also does a lot to integrate planning, organizing, and equipping (but ESPECIALLY planning) into the effort. This is all tied together even more if a jurisdiction has completed a THIRA. The Integrated Preparedness Cycle and IPP are the things I’m happiest about with the updated document.
- The new document provides easier to find and read layouts for information associated with exercise types and each of the planning meetings.
- For years, HSEEP doctrine has suggested (though thankfully not required) an ICS-based organization for exercise planning. I’ve never used this as I found it awkward at best (though I know others often use it and have success in doing so). The update provides a different suggestion (better, in my opinion) of a functionally organized planning team organization. Consider that this is still a suggestion, and that you can use it, or a version of it, or an ICS-based one, or anything else you desire.
- The update provides better delineation between the planning and conduct needs of discussion-based exercises vs those of operations-based exercises. Those of us who have been doing it for a while know, but for those who are new to exercises this should be very helpful.
- Lastly, the document suggests making corrective actions SMART, as these are really objectives.
FEMA is hosting a series of webinars (listed on the HSEEP website) to discuss these changes.
I’m very happy with the changes made to the doctrine. It’s a great continued evolution of HSEEP and preparedness as a whole. For as much as I’m a champion of the Integrated Preparedness Plan, though, having it (thus far) only included in the HSEEP doctrine makes it easy to miss or dismiss by some. I’m hopeful broader promotion of this concept, perhaps even including it as an emergency management performance grant requirement, will help adoption of this concept.
What are your thoughts?
© 2020 Timothy Riecker, CEDP
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