Exercise Control Plan
Purpose and Scope
This plan provides exercise controllers and simulators with guidance concerning procedures
and responsibilities for exercise control, simulation, and support. It explains the exercise
concept as it relates to controllers and simulators, establishes the basis for control and
simulation of the exercise, and establishes and defines the communications, logistics, and
administrative structure needed to support control and simulation during the exercise.
This section provides an overview of the exercise and related exercise activities, a general
description of the scenario, an overview of primary players and their exercise locations,
guidelines for emergency call-off of the exercise, and exercise assumptions, artificialities, and simulations.
[Describe type of exercise, scope of exercise, actual dates of exercise, primary exercise
locations; hours of operations; participating organizations; and description of briefing/narrative
summary that will start the exercise.]
Exercise play will officially begin on [insert time, day of week, date] and end at approximately [insert time, day of week, date] as determined by the exercise director. The exercise will be
played [insert number of hours] per day at all primary exercise locations; however, some
locations [insert if some are out of sequence or limited extents of play]. Provide player hours of operation as determined by each participating organization. On [insert date] the exercise will be initiated by a (describe whether briefing, incident, or video and provide a general description of
the information. Example: The briefing will begin with a description of the situation as it
currently exists. The briefing will describe background actions that have been taken by emergency response organizations as well as a review of the weather situation.). This background briefing will be based on the information in the Scenario Narrative. There will be a
post-exercise meeting at each player location on [insert date]. (May use calendar to illustrate scheduled activities.)
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Figure 1. Exercise Activity Calendar
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
[Time] [Time] [Time] [Time] Player Controller Debriefing Exercise
Orientation Meetings Meetings Critique
[Provide an overview of the scenario, including dates of exercise, type of incident, and
actions/incidents designed to activate portions of the plans and emergency response
organizations to test agreed upon objectives. Provide a visual of the incident scenario (e.g.,
storm track, radioactive plume, dispersion of agent, hazmat spill, building layout when violent
incident occurs, etc.).]
Figure 2. Incident Scenario
Exercise Players and Locations
[Describe participation of Federal, State, and local government, private organizations, and
volunteer agencies. Describe principal locations for exercise activity.]
Figure 3. Primary Exercise Locations
[Show primary exercise locations on map.]
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Pre-Exercise Player Activity
[Describe any play concerning participating organizations that will occur prior to the actual start
of the exercise. Describe any pre-positioning of players and equipment.]
Guidelines For Emergency Call-Off
[Insert title of person(s) with authority for emergency call-off] in conjunction with [insert titles, such as lead evaluator or exercise manager] may unilaterally suspend play or end the exercise
at any time when it appears that a real-world emergency may hamper exercise play or jeopardize the safety of exercise participants. Participating organizations also have the option
of withdrawing any of their players from the exercise at any time to address matters or concerns
directly related to their emergency response missions.
When any event occurs that requires (1) the withdrawal by a participating organization from the
exercise or (2) the application of major resources by a participating agency to a real-world event, the [insert title, such as lead controller] will review the impact of such actions on the
exercise. If determined appropriate, the [insert title such as lead controller] will recommend to the [insert appropriate title such as exercise manager] that the exercise be temporarily
suspended or ended. If appropriate, the [insert title] will announce the decision to suspend or
terminate exercise play and an “EMERGENCY EXERCISE SUSPENSION/TERMINATION”
message will be transmitted to all participating organizations.
Safety and Security
[The following section describes information and areas to be considered when developing safety
and security procedures for your own exercise. These procedures will vary with the type and
complexity of the exercise.]
The incident site should be controlled by designated safety personnel in accordance with the
exercise safety plan or annex. The number of safety personnel will vary with the scope and
complexity of the exercise and the physical layout of the site. If certain activities at the site are
considered dangerous, site safety personnel should have the authority to alter, suspend, or
terminate those activities. An emergency medical team should also be available for injuries that
may occur during the exercise. Observers should be escorted by safety or other staff members and be restricted to designated areas.
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Assumptions, Artificialities, and Simulations
[The following assumptions are fairly generic; you may modify and/or add specifics for your own
The assumptions, artificialities, and simulations applicable during the exercise are provided in
the following paragraphs.
The following assumptions must be made in order to ensure that the exercise is as realistic as
possible. It is intended that exercise events progress in a logical and realistic manner and that all exercise objectives be achieved during exercise play.
? Exercise participants are well versed in their own department and agency response plans
? The term “participants” includes planners, controllers, simulators, evaluators, and players.
? Players and controllers will use real-world data and information support sources.
? Players will respond in accordance with existing plans, policies, and procedures. In the
absence of appropriate written instructions, players will be expected to apply individual
initiative to satisfy response and recovery requirements.
? Implementation of disaster response plans, policies, and procedures during the exercise will
depict actions that would be expected to occur under actual response conditions and,
therefore, will provide a sound basis for evaluation.
? Actions to direct unit, personnel, or resource deployments will result in simulated movement
during the exercise unless live deployment in real time is stipulated to achieve an exercise
? Real-world response actions will take priority over exercise actions.
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It is recognized that the following artificialities and constraints will detract from realism; however,
exercise planners should accept these artificialities as a means of facilitating accomplishment of
[The following section will be based upon your extent of play agreements and include any pre-
exercise player activity or pre-positioning of equipment. Some samples are provided.]
? The exercise will be played in near-real time; however, to meet exercise objectives, some
events may be played by participants before the exercise, and other events may be
accelerated in time to ensure their consideration during play.
? Many alert, notification, initial activation, and emergency response procedures, as well as
some early response actions, will not be a part of the exercise.
? Responses obtained by players from simulations may not be of the quality or detail available
from the real organization or individual.
? During the exercise, actions may occur to direct unit, personnel, or resource deployments,
and subsequent movement of resources may be played; however, these actions may be
simulated with no live movement occurring in the exercise.
? Some personnel and equipment may be prepositioned at exercise locations rather than
moved in real-time during the exercise, and they will enter play at predetermined times from
their prepositioned locations. When this exercise artificiality occurs, it will be referred to in
exercise documentation as exercise prepositioning to differentiate it from the live
deployments that will be evaluated.
Simulation during exercises is required to compensate for nonparticipating individuals or organizations. Although simulations necessarily detract from realism, they provide the means to
facilitate exercise play.
[Describe, in general, any areas that will be simulated. Examples include weather information,
simulation of nonparticipating organizations, media, victims, evacuees, etc.]
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Concept For Management, Control, and Simulation
The exercise management organization structure and the control and simulation organization
structure are discussed in the following paragraphs.
Overall exercise planning, conduct, and evaluation for the exercise is the responsibility of the
[insert title]. [Title] is responsible for coordinating all exercise planning activities between [Insert Federal, State, and local departments and agencies and other participating organizations.
Identify others in charge at each organizational level of government/jurisdiction. Include those
in charge of control and evaluation.]
[For a large exercise, there may be an exercise director with assistants and other functional areas besides evaluation and control and simulation, such as support and coordination. Adapt
the following chart to reflect your exercise management structure.]
Figure 4. Exercise Management Structure
Evaluator Controller Exercise Control Team Structure
[Modify the following sections as necessary to describe the control structure for your exercise.]
The exercise will be managed and controlled by the exercise control team headed by the lead
controller. The primary responsibility of the exercise control team is to monitor, manage, and
control exercise activity to meet established objectives. The exercise control team is composed
of controllers and simulators at each of the primary exercise locations.
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Exercise Control Team Structure (Continued)
Control and simulator activities at each primary exercise location will be headed by a control
team chief. Exercise control team members at each exercise site are responsible to the control
team chief at that site. Each control team chief will manage the control and simulation activities
of his/her respective team and, in doing so, will assist the lead controller in the management of
Exercise controllers carry out their responsibilities by monitoring and reporting exercise activities at their respective locations, tracking the accomplishment of events related to exercise
objectives, coordinating resolution of problems concerning control and evaluation, and injecting
voice and written event implementer messages to exercise player elements in accordance with the exercise Master Scenario Events List (MSEL).
Exercise simulators provide the interface between nonparticipating real-world organizations or people and the exercise players. Simulators will carry out their responsibilities by responding to player queries directed to non-playing entities. (Provide an example of a level of government,
organization(s), or departments not participating but whose inputs are necessary for exercise
Figure 5 depicts the control team structure to be established for the exercise and the locations
of control team chiefs who will function under the direction of the lead controller.
[Identify the exercise control team organization. Modify the chart below to reflect your
organization. Specific action sites should be added, such as State and local EOCs. If one
simulation cell is used for all locations; modify the chart accordingly.]
Figure 5. Exercise Control Team
(Action Site)(Action Site)(Action Site)
Control Team ChiefControl Team ChiefControl Team Chief
- Controllers- Controllers- Controllers
- Simulators- Simulators- Simulators
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Exercise Control Team Staffing
[Modify the following description as necessary.]
The team chiefs and personnel selected as exercise control team members must be
knowledgeable of emergency management and response functions. [Insert other qualifications identified by the lead controller.] They need this knowledge to understand ongoing exercise activities and to be able to track them with events in the MSEL. In order to meet this need,
individuals will be recruited as controllers and simulators from nonparticipating emergency
response organizations (identify recruiting requirements to match qualifications identified
Simulators will represent nonplaying entities at the (identify organizations at Federal, State, and
local, private and voluntary organizations) and will answer any player queries directed at these
nonparticipants. (Identify examples at each level that may be simulated.)
Exercise Control Team Training
Controller training sessions will be conducted [insert information specific to controller training
sessions, including dates, times, and locations. Describe class size limitations, different target
audience needs, financial arrangements, and responsibility of controllers/simulators for review
of materials prior to training if necessary.].
[Consider the following information when developing your exercise-specific controller training.]
At a minimum, all personnel should receive an orientation briefing and handout materials that
cover the exercise plan, including scenario, objectives, procedures, and ground rules. Training
may be provided by exercise design team members or by outside sources. For complex
exercises, a tabletop activity could be conducted to help familiarize participants with their roles
and responsibilities, as well as related plans, procedures, and policies.
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Exercise Control Team Training (Continued)
Controllers and simulators should receive additional training, which may include EOC
operations, the Incident Command System, and all exercise control plan elements. Training
should emphasize the roles and responsibilities of both the control and evaluation teams, as well as functional interaction between the two. In general, controllers and simulators should be
thoroughly familiar with the following:
? Purpose and objectives of the exercise.
? Master Scenario Event List and scenario time line.
? Message forms and flow of information.
? Content of exercise messages.
? Accuracy, timeliness, and realism of expected responses.
? Requirements for coordination with evaluators and other personnel.
? Procedures and communications systems for injecting messages.
? Procedures for monitoring the sequence of events and message flow.
? Procedures for controlling spontaneous exercise inputs and for responding to unplanned or
? Procedures for recording and reporting exercise information.
? Procedures for post-exercise debriefings and evaluation.
Exercise Control Team Staff Responsibilities
[Modify the following sections to be specific for your exercise.]
This section identifies the responsibilities of the lead controller as well as those of the control team chiefs, individual controllers, and individual simulators.
Prior to the exercise, all exercise control and simulation personnel should be familiar with this
control plan, the exercise plan, and the exercise scenario. They also must be familiar with the exercise MSEL events, especially those to be injected into play from their assigned location.
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The lead controller is responsible for managing and directing all control and simulation functions
during the conduct of the exercise. He/she may be assisted in this function by one or more
individuals. Specifically his/her responsibilities include the following:
? Participate in the exercise design team.
? Analyze and assess the exercise plan to determine an appropriate control strategy (location
of control sites and simulation cells, number of personnel required, roles and responsibilities,
? Develop and disseminate the exercise control plan.
? Establish controller/simulator communications systems and information support
? Design and develop the control organization and chain of command.
? Define the role and responsibilities of the exercise control team, including control team
chiefs, controllers, and simulators.
? Develop policies, guidelines, and procedures for implementing the exercise control plan.
? Develop the administrative and logistic systems needed for reporting, problem resolution,
and safety and site preparation for participant organizations and controller/simulator
? Determine the qualifications and experience level of controllers/simulators needed and
identify avenues for obtaining them.
? Design and set up a simulation cell.
? Design and develop training for exercise controllers and simulators.
? Develop procedures for debriefing players and the exercise control team.
? During the exercise, manage and coordinate activities of the exercise control team to ensure
that exercise play achieves exercise objectives.
? Direct corrective actions to exercise play, if required.
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