SummitET Offering Training and Simulation Support at I/ITSEC

SummitET Offering Training and Simulation Support at I/ITSEC

SummitET® is excited to participate in and present training and simulation capabilities at this year’s Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Florida from November 28 to December 2.

The 2022 Conference theme “Accelerate Change by Transforming Training – It’s Time to ACTT!!” resonates with the SummitET commitment to proactively adopt new approaches in the ever-changing world of natural and human-caused disasters.

“Our company culture empowers our team members to share ideas, techniques, and processes, as well as promotes cross-organizational coordination,” said John Duda, SummitET CEO. “This one-team approach provides customers access to the collective knowledge of our entire organization allowing us to deliver world-class results in simulation training and exercises.”

Our experts conduct training and provide technical consulting support for modeling and simulations that help to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from both man-made and natural hazards.

The training and simulation support we offer:

CBRN Preparedness
  • Our preparedness capabilities include conducting threat assessments, developing response plans for potential threats, building training designed to mitigate the threats, and providing a suite of tailored workshops and exercises to test the readiness as well as providing the operational support an organization may require.
Strategic Communications Training
Social Media Simulation
  • Our training replicates real-world simulations conducted on closed native digital platforms to provide real-time, hands-on familiarity with social media tools and practices.
Technical Consulting
  • Our diverse range of expertise can support CBRNE effects modeling and simulation for realistic scenarios.

SummitET holds government contract vehicles that allow us to provide technical, programmatic, and engineering support services to the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA). Additionally, we are a subcontract team member for DTRA’s Assessment, Exercises, Modeling, and Simulation Support (AEMSS) multiple award contract

Exercise and Training Simulation Support

Learn more about our experience and capabilites within exercise and training simulation support. 

About the Conference: 

The annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) showcases simulation, education, modeling, and training technology for the exchange of information among industry, the military, and the educational communities. I/ITSEC is organized and sponsored by NTSA (National Training and Simulation Association).

 

Visit SummitET at Booth #2236.

Request a Meeting at IITSEC

Leave your information below and we will reach out to you to set a time to discuss how we can help you meet your training and exercise needs. 

SummitET News

Build Organizational Resiliency Within Strategic Communications

Build Organizational Resiliency Within Strategic Communications

SummitET® assists organizations in addressing resiliency by employing proven scientific methods, educationally grounded research, and best industry practices for Strategic Communications. Our goal is threefold:

  1. Improve organizational resiliency through communication.
  2. Move organizations efficiently and cost-effectively toward preparedness, mitigation, response, recovery, and reentry.
  3. Maintain continuity of operations.

Utilizing industry experts in crisis and emergency management and leveraging our scientific and technical expertise, SummitET’s communication team can build a comprehensive solution to address any organization’s current or emerging threats. By highlighting an organization’s competency through training and exercises, our team can build upon this foundation to minimize any vulnerabilities discovered through this process.

COVID-19 has changed the threat paradigm organizations face which is why critical thinking and preparation for any possible threat that can disrupt continuity of operations, must be considered. Our Team has developed the APSTERTM process which addresses six critical tenants to comprehensively prepare organizations for these unforeseen events:

  1. Assessment
  2. Planning
  3. Solutions development
  4. Training
  5. Exercise
  6. Reassessment
SummitET APSTER Process
Figure 1.1, APSTERTM Process

Assessment

Our assessment process methodically identifies the highest potential risk an organization may face and aggregates evaluated outcomes from those potential threats. The APSTERTM process uses a 3X3 innovation risk matrix to visualize the probabilities of such risks occurring and the severity of consequences should they impact the organization.

This 3X3 Innovation Risk Matrix:

  1. Assists assessors in determining likely organizational impacts
  2. Prioritizes risk based on severity
  3. Aids in planning an execution of emergency plans and procedures
  4. Provides insight into resources needs for response activities
Risk Assessment Matrix from David Ball
Figure 1.2 Risk Assessment Matrix
David Ball, Risk Management, The Future of Risk Assessment, April 2012

Planning

Our planning approach not only effectively aligns itself with the organization’s strategic goals and objectives, but also the less tangible corporate culture and environment. These planning considerations help capitalize on the existing talents and strengths an organization possesses while exposing the less obvious vulnerabilities and organization may overlook.

Figure 1.3 symbolizes one of the many planning methodologies models which can be integrated into the APSTERTM process.

Strategic Planning Process Model from Key Associates, Inc.
Figure 1.3 Strategic Planning Process Model
Key Associates, Inc. Helping Leaders and Organizations Grow, May 2015

Solutions development

Our approach to developing impactful and resilient solutions focused on our client’s ideation from our Assessment and Planning processes produces alternative solutions, selects best solutions, and informs plans for implementation and integration into existing business practices.

Solutions Development

Training

Initiating and incorporating these solutions into the corporate culture starts with effective and impactful training. Training benefits organizations through maintaining, enhancing, and increasing:

  1. Knowledge, skills, and abilities
  2. Correct deficiencies
  3. Enhance organizational performance
  4. Meet organizational goals, objectives, and missions

The strategic communications APSTERTM process utilizes the educationally proven ADDIE methodology to assist organizations with identifying training deficiencies. The ADDIE method is a fivefold process: (1) Analysis, (2) Design, (3) Development, (4) Implementation, and (5) Evaluation. Figure 1.4 defines each ADDIE component.

ADDIE Process from Genesis International
Figure 1.4, ADDIE Process
Genesis International, 2020

Exercises

In parallel with current government and industry practices, SummitET’s Strategic Communications Program phases an effect exercise program to stress the organization’s strengths and vulnerabilities. Evaluating and capturing critical data points, our approach reinforces the strengths of the organization and capitalizes on the weakness and failures these exercises present. To fail or expose organizational weaknesses presents an opportunity to grow and is a very important part of the APSTERTM process. The outcome from these exercises leads the organization into the importance of the “Reassessment” tenant, which incorporates a continuous improvement process that methodically reduces the probability and the consequences of those risks, while promoting preparedness through awareness and continuously enhancing the state of resilience.

SummitET’s Strategic Communications Program conducts three types of exercises, (1) drills, (2) Tabletops (TTX), and (3) Full-scale exercises (FSE).  Exercises reinforce issues such as response preparedness, adequacy of plans and procedures, and validation of personnel and equipment.  Exercises are SummitET’s premier, most highly sought-after client service. Integrating the APSTERTM process ensures SummitET’s methodology in the design, development, and implementation is well-thought out, deliberate, and focused on organizational needs and requirements. Figure 1.5, Exercise Program Management, serves as an example of the exercise planning process.

Exercise Program Management
Figure 1.5, Exercise Program Management
U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, Role of Transportation Management Centers in Emergency Operations Guidebook, 21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Reassessment

Our reassessment process methodically addresses three key areas: (1) gap-analysis, (2) lessons learned, and (3) best practices.

  1. Gap Analysis: Findings from gap analysis are used to assess needed improvements, provide improvement recommendations, and develop solutions to ensure organizational requirements are met.
  2. Lessons Learned: We document experiences to provide insight into organizational effectiveness and efficiencies, successes and system breakdowns, and improvement recommendations.
  3. Best Practices: We capture and document best practices that produce results that are noteworthy. Best practices can evolve into an industry standard while elevating in areas such as regulatory compliance, tactical or operational response(s), or inventing a new process contributing to organizational resiliency.
Risk Management Process from pmis
Figure 1.6, Risk Management Process
Project Management Informed Solutions (PMIS)

Conclusion

By design, the APSTERTM process employs an innovative academic approach by using the industry’s leading experts, cutting edge industry practices, proven scientific and technical methodologies, making our process not only unique, but the most effective solution on the market to make your organization prepared and resilient against current or emerging threats.

As emergency management and preparedness continues to evolve, our Strategic Communications team’s APSTERTM process addresses (1) organizational resiliency, (2) continuity of operations, and (3) continuous improvement efforts.

The APSTERTM Process

  1. Overlays existing emergency management processes and procedures
  2. Enhances short-/long-term improvement efforts
  3. Promotes a culture of preparedness
Integrating Preparatory Consequence Management and Law Enforcement Operations During “Left of Boom” Terrorist Threats

Integrating Preparatory Consequence Management and Law Enforcement Operations During “Left of Boom” Terrorist Threats

A new planning approach enabling all levels of government to integrate their operations to maximize their ability to stop the terrorist.

Nuclear Power Plants are going Virtual for Communications Trainings and Exercises

Nuclear Power Plants are going Virtual for Communications Trainings and Exercises

Nuclear power plants and Offsite Response Organizations virtual strategic communication to meet training and exercise requirements.

Steve Sugarman of SummitET Communicating for Health Physicists

Quick Thoughts on Messaging and Communicating for Health Physicists

Original Post HPS News Steve Sugarman*, MS, CHP, SummitET Vice President and Corporate Health Physicist, SummitET.com Acknowledgements: Mark Basnight, SummitET Vice President of Communications and Marketing; Holly Hardin, SummitET Strategic Communications Program...
The Benefits of Crisis Communications Skills

Benefits of Enhanced Crisis Communication Skills

Enhanced crisis communication skills help organizations meet the growing demands for information related to an emergency event. Learn all the benefits.

SummitET Joins St. Pete Innovation District Maritime and Defense Technology Hub

SummitET Joins St. Pete Innovation District Maritime and Defense Technology Hub

Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET®) joins other prominent St. Pete companies, and state and federal agencies as a tenant of the Maritime and Defense Technology Hub (Hub) a collaborative innovation incubator. The Hub, located in the St. Pete Innovation District, brings together the triple helix of innovation under one roof: industry, government, and academia. Taking advantage of increased funding for maritime and technology solutions by the State and Federal governments, the Hub leverages the unique attributes of the building such as a workspace with port access, rooms designed for secure communications, and wet/chemical laboratories.

“The Innovation District’s mission is to develop St. Petersburg into an environment that fosters job growth, economic development, and learning and inspiration by bringing innovative people and organizations together,” said Alison Barlow, Executive Director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District.

Bringing to the Hub the diverse experience and expertise of associates with backgrounds in threat response operations and risk mitigation, SummitET experts include former employees of the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Intelligence Community, state/local law enforcement, and maritime.

“We are proud to be part of the Innovation District’s historic Hub,” said John Duda, SummitET CEO. “We look forward to collaborating with other Hub tenants in the pursuit of joint funding opportunities and community engagement.” 

SummitET is committed to partnering locally on issues of cybersecurity and maritime security, offering all-hazards preparedness solutions including cybersecurity penetration testing, continuity of operations, development of vessel security plans, processes and procedures for cargo security and mail screening, threat awareness training, facility vulnerability assessments, counterterrorism and CWMD, crisis and risk communications, exercises, and more.

About the Conference: 

The annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) showcases simulation, education, modeling, and training technology for the exchange of information among industry, the military, and the educational communities. I/ITSEC is organized and sponsored by NTSA (National Training and Simulation Association).

 

Visit SummitET at Booth #2236.

Request a Meeting at IITSEC

Leave your information below and we will reach out to you to set a time to discuss how we can help you meet your training and exercise needs. 

SummitET News

SummitET Ranks Third Year in a Row in Inc. Magazine Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

SummitET Ranks Third Year in a Row in Inc. Magazine Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

August 19, 2022 – St. Petersburg, FL.  – Today, Inc. magazine released its annual list of the nation’s 5000 fastest growing companies. Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET®) made the list for the third year in a row with SummitET’s listing occurred as a result of a three-year revenue growth. This prestigious list provides a unique look at the top performing companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses.

“Our team of experts continue to gain momentum in the government, public, and private preparedness space,” said John Duda, SummitET CEO. “We’re extremely honored to be recognized for supporting our nation’s economy though our unique offering of services. Our growth in our customer base is driven by client confidence in supporting their objectives and our quality assurance.”

The Inc. 5000 encompasses nearly every industry and realm of business, proving that incredible growth is possible with solid foundations and tenacity. Complete results including company profiles can be found at 2022’s Inc. 5000, and the interactive database can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria.  

The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring the companies on the list will be held in Phoenix, AZ from October 19-21, 2022. Speakers will include some of the greatest innovators and business leaders of our generation.

 

About SummitET®
Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET) is a veteran-owned small business that offers innovative preparedness solutions. When founded, our team sought to develop a flexible model that could be adapted to serve the needs of any organization, large or small. Drawing from a diverse base of experience in emergency management and response, as well as communications within the government, military, and private sectors, the SummitET team offers a comprehensive approach to the management and mitigation of risk. By combining the latest developments in learning and technology with the application of best practices in organizational behavior, strategy, and planning, SummitET has become an industry leader who serves a broad range of clients.

 

More about Inc. and the Inc. 5000 Methodology

 Companies on the 2022 Inc. 5000 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2018 to 2021. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2018. They must be U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2021. (Since then, some on the list may have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2018 is $100,000; the minimum for 2021 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at http://www.inc.com/inc5000.

 

About Inc. Media
The world’s most trusted business-media brand, Inc. offers entrepreneurs the knowledge, tools, connections, and community to build great companies. Its award-winning multiplatform content reaches more than 50 million people each month across a variety of channels including websites, newsletters, social media, podcasts, and print. Its prestigious Inc. 5000 list, produced every year since 1982, analyzes company data to recognize the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States. The global recognition that comes with inclusion in the 5000 gives the founders of the best businesses an opportunity to engage with an exclusive community of their peers, and the credibility that helps them drive sales and recruit talent. The associated Inc. 5000 Conference is part of a highly acclaimed portfolio of bespoke events produced by Inc. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

About the Conference: 

The annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) showcases simulation, education, modeling, and training technology for the exchange of information among industry, the military, and the educational communities. I/ITSEC is organized and sponsored by NTSA (National Training and Simulation Association).

 

Visit SummitET at Booth #2236.

Request a Meeting at IITSEC

Leave your information below and we will reach out to you to set a time to discuss how we can help you meet your training and exercise needs. 

SummitET News

Integrating Preparatory Consequence Management and Law Enforcement Operations During “Left of Boom” Terrorist Threats

Integrating Preparatory Consequence Management and Law Enforcement Operations During “Left of Boom” Terrorist Threats

Author: Scott Glick

Abstract

National policy now treats consequence management and law enforcement operations as a single integrated function. However, responding to an imminent terrorist threat, particularly one involving a weapon of mass destruction, is more complex than responding to an impending natural disaster. If the government conducts highly visible preparatory consequence management operations, a terrorist could be alerted, which could potentially jeopardize the government’s efforts to stop the terrorist. This article offers a new planning approach enabling all levels of government to integrate cohesively their operations to maximize their ability to stop the terrorist while minimizing the potential consequences if those efforts are unsuccessful.

This article was originally published at https://www.hsaj.org/articles/21159

Integrating Preparatory Consequence Management and Law Enforcement Operations During “Left of Boom” Terrorist Threats

Suggested Citation

Glick, Scott. “Integrating Preparatory Consequence Management and Law Enforcement Operations During “Left of Boom” Terrorist Threats,” Homeland Security Affairs: Pracademic Affairs 2, Article 3, (July 2022). www.hsaj.org/articles/21159. 

Introduction

“Mother Nature” does not care if the nation is prepared for a hurricane. However, if the government is aware of a terrorist threat, but the public is not aware of that threat, and the government conducts highly visible preparatory consequence management operations, then an alerted terrorist could change tactics or attack a different target. To avoid this potential “no-win” scenario, response and prevention mission planners across all levels of government must consider the unique and complicating factors that can adversely affect their mission’s success during credible terrorist threats, particularly those involving a weapon of mass destruction (WMD). This article builds on my previous writing in “Preparatory Consequence Management & Weapons of Mass Destruction”[1] and proposes a new way to bridge a planning gap that currently exists in national planning guidance. If federal, state, local, tribal and territorial (FSLTT) officials adopt this new approach and cohesively integrate preparatory consequence management operations and law enforcement operations across all levels of government for “left of boom” terrorist threats, they will maximize their ability to stop the terrorist while minimizing the potential consequences of the terrorist’s actions.

Background

To ensure the government’s natural disaster response is not “late to need,”[2] dedicated specialists can use analytical tools to issue guidance[3] that can lead to a range of preparatory consequence management actions taken in the days and hours leading up to the event. Consequence management planners design their operations to maximize the government’s ability to protect public health and safety, restore government services, meet basic human needs, and provide emergency relief to those affected by an incident.[4] These operations, which are part of the federal government’s response mission, are led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), acting through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).[5]

By way of contrast, the federal government’s prevention mission operations – which include law enforcement and/or counterterrorism operations and are sometimes referred to as “crisis management”[6] operations – are led by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), acting through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The prevention mission’s focus is different. The primary focus is to avoid, prevent or stop a threatened or actual act of terrorism.[7] However, while “Mother Nature” does not care if the public is warned and prepared before an impending natural disaster, profoundly different considerations are present when the government is confronted with a terrorist threat and the public is not aware of that threat. Unlike nature’s indifference to preparations and warnings, if the government conducts highly visible preparatory consequence management operations, it could alert the terrorist and therefore adversely affect the success of the prevention mission.[8]

The National Response Framework (NRF)[9] and the Response Federal Interagency Operational Plan guide response and prevention planners and direct them to integrate and synchronize their operations. These planning documents emphasize establishing “joint priorities, particularly in areas such as incident site/crime scene access, pre-positioning, operations to resolve threats, public information and warning, and fatalities management.”[10] Since the response mission focuses on saving lives as well as protecting property, critical infrastructure, and/or the environment after an incident,[11] how to achieve unity of effort with the prevention mission before a terrorist incident is not addressed in the NRF or the response FIOP. Indeed, while the goal is to “simultaneously save lives, investigate and resolve threats, and/or prevent follow-on attacks,”[12] these planning documents do not provide specific planning guidance.

The National Prevention Framework (NPF) defines imminent terrorist threats to be when “intelligence or operational information warns of a credible, specific, and impending terrorist threat … that is sufficiently specific and credible to recommend implementation of additional measures to thwart the attack.”[13] It then notes that an imminent terrorist threat may “emerge at any time and become known through one of several different vectors: the U.S. intelligence community, federal, state or local law enforcement, or the American public.”[14] Understanding this point raises the following important question: what if the knowledge of an impending terrorist attack is only within the government? Moreover, how should the federal government and/or its SLTT partners respond to a “left of boom” WMD terrorist threat when the public is unaware of the threat? Terrorists may “select soft targets or other vulnerable environments to maximize casualties.”[15] Because of this, forward-leaning response planners must consider that highly visible response operations may cause terrorists to “strike quickly and move to another location before law enforcement can interdict and disrupt.”[16]

FSLTT officials need a new way to integrate cohesively preparatory consequence management operations and law enforcement operations during “left of boom” terrorist threats when the public is not aware of the threat, particularly those that involve a WMD. This article proposes that response and prevention planners across all levels of government use the new approach discussed below to develop comprehensive and integrated plans that will enable them to maximize their ability to stop the terrorist, while simultaneously minimizing the potential loss of life, damage to property, critical infrastructure, and the environment.

A New Approach

There are three key elements to developing a plan that will cohesively integrate prevention and response mission operations when the public is not aware of a WMD terrorist threat: dividing response options into operational phases, using an OPSEC (operational security) construct to analyze activities during those phases, and attention to critical considerations.

Operational Phases

When the response mission leans forward for impending natural disasters, the instinct is to “go big, go early.”[17] However, if a goal is not to alert the terrorist, this approach presents a potential conflict. In the same way that public disclosure of a spy’s activities could cause the spy’s cover to be “blown,” the more significant the public visibility of the preparatory consequence management operations, the greater the likelihood of alerting threat actors and adversely affecting the success of the prevention mission. Yet, without a robust ability to lean forward, particularly for threats involving a WMD,[18] the response mission’s ability to succeed may be adversely affected.

Under President G.W. Bush’s direction, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5, Management of Domestic Incidents (2003), developed the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and emphasized the importance that all levels of government use shared structures, systems, processes, and vocabulary to guide response personnel.[19] NIMS defines a “staging area” as a “temporary location for available resources in which personnel, supplies, and equipment await operational assignment.”[20] If we were to think about “staging” as one part of an operation and then were to think about the other phases, the following four operational phases emerge:

  • Alert/Activation, in which personnel get notice;
  • Staging, in which personnel and equipment are assembled and loaded in preparation for deployment;
  • Deployment, in which  personnel and/or equipment are moved to or pre-positioned near a potential or actual incident site; and
  • Employment, in which personnel and equipment are operationally used in activities in response to threats or incidents.

Operational Security

Although we divided response operations into four phases, we still need to address the instinct to “go big, go early.” Here we can look to the concept of OPSEC  which the U.S. government has long considered as a critical planning construct for sensitive operations. OPSEC involves the “implementation of procedures and activities to protect sensitive or classified operations.”[21] By following OPSEC principles, the FSLTT government officials can deny a potential adversary information about the government’s intentions. Thus, if we were to view each of the four operational phases listed above through an OPSEC construct, we can think about the public visibility of each phase of each potential preparatory consequence management action and assess how likely that phase of that action would be to alert the terrorist.

Critical Considerations

The success of the response mission is critically important. In this regard, the response FIOP notes the importance of looking at “interdependencies.”[22] An interdependency exists when the execution of one part of an operation depends upon another part being executed. Stated another way, the failure of one part of a response operation could very well affect the success of the entire response operation. Interdependencies, however, can be “pooled, sequential or reciprocal.”[23] For example, let’s assume that medical countermeasures are needed to save lives. However, this effort’s success depends on delivering and administering medical countermeasures by personnel to the affected population.[24] Thus, interdependencies that could affect the success of the response mission’s operations must be considered.

In addition to understanding interdependencies, other considerations, such as time must also be taken into account. For example, the time needed to go from the alert and activation phase to the deployment and employment phase is a critical consideration for response planners, as illustrated by this example noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If someone has symptoms of anthrax infection, the CDC notes that it is critical to get them medical care “as quickly as possible.”[25] Indeed, the CDC points out that certain antibiotics can “prevent anthrax from developing in people who have been exposed but have not developed symptoms.”[26] Thus, as the response FIOP emphasizes, prevention and response  decision-makers “must be in communication during times of an imminent threat so that response assets, to the extent practical and appropriate, may be pre-positioned.”[27] However, while pre-positioning medical countermeasures is a necessary first step, these planners also need to factor in the time it will take to distribute and administer those medical countermeasures to the population.

Planners must also consider the cumulative effect that preparatory consequence management actions could have on the overall public visibility of the response  operations. For example, a few consequence management actions may be unlikely to alert a threat actor when viewed in isolation.  However, if numerous such actions all were to happen in the same place at the same time, their cumulative effect could very well alert a threat actor.

Another critical consideration is the dynamic nature of some terrorist threat scenarios. Concerns about potentially compromising prevention operations could change as the facts and circumstances evolve, including if the public becomes more aware of the threat. As the federal government has emphasized, “suspected or actual involvement of terrorists adds a complicating dimension to incident management.”[28] Thus, whereas a public warning may be inadvisable at a certain point in time, evolving circumstances, including media disclosures, may indicate that such warnings or other publicly visible actions may be advisable.[29]

The Path to Development of a Plan

Guidance from the DHS’s Planning Considerations: Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks (CTTA) states that terrorists may select “soft targets or other vulnerable environments to maximize casualties,” and may move to a new target “before law enforcement can interdict and disrupt.”[30] As the CCTA guidance notes, one of the “major challenges” of responding to terrorist attacks is the integration of “crisis management (e.g., law enforcement, interdiction), consequence management (e.g., emergency management), and investigatory functions (e.g., evidence gathering, forensics, attribution). All must be performed simultaneously and involve entities that may not habitually operate together.”[31]

The CCTA guidance, like the NRF and the response FIOP, focuses on “right of boom.” Nonetheless, and building on FEMA’s multi-step planning process,[32] which is already well known to FSLTT planners, the CCTA guidance provides a roadmap for them to develop a plan to address “left of boom” terrorist threats when the public is not aware of the terrorist threat. The following steps are therefore recommended for response planners to ensure the development of a comprehensive plan that will lead to risk-informed decisions.

  • Assemble a planning team of relevant stakeholders from the response and prevention mission communities (e.g., law enforcement, counterterrorism, first responders, public health officials, private sector).
  • Ensure a common understanding of all the complexities, interdependencies, and other factors and the need for cohesive, integrated planning and operations.
  • Identify each potential preparatory consequence management action that can be taken.
  • Break down each potential preparatory consequence management action into one of the following major phases: alert/activation, staging, deployment, and employment for resources and personnel.
  • Agree on a default public visibility rating in each phase for each potential preparatory action. Using common terminology, assess whether the action is unlikely, likely, or highly likely to alert a threat actor.[33]
  • Develop an integrated and cohesive plan that considers all appropriate factors, including but not limited to the nature of the threat and the threat actor, interdependencies that exist, the effect that cumulative preparatory consequence management actions can have on the overall public visibility of the Response Mission’s operations, and the fact that circumstances can evolve; and
  • After developing the plan, exercise it regularly and revise it as part of a continuous improvement cycle, including based on lessons learned from exercises and responses to real-world events.

Planning Across All Levels of Government

The seven planning steps discussed above need to involve all levels of government to maximize the chances for the success for both prevention and response missions, particularly for terrorist threats involving chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) materials, weapons, and/or dispersal devices. For example, the federal government has a new interagency coordination mechanism for coordinating the federal government’s response to WMD terrorist threats, namely, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Strategy Group (WMDSG).[34] The WMDSG is an FBI-led interagency crisis action team supporting information exchange and the deconfliction of consequence management and law enforcement operations.[35] The federal government co-locates the Consequence Management Coordination Unit (staffed and managed by FEMA) directly in the WMDSG. This allows “real-time” information sharing, strategic advice, and recommended consequence management courses of action that can take into account ongoing law enforcement and counterterrorism operations.[36] SLTT governments should mirror this approach and co-locate and integrate law enforcement and consequence management operations.

Indeed, as the federal government has pointed out, it cannot combat WMD terrorism alone. As a result, the federal government’s response to a terrorist threat may need to be augmented by assets and resources under the control of SLTT governments.[37] These may be tasked with locating the terrorist and the weapon the terrorist intends to use to carry out the attack or to assist in mitigating the potential consequences of the threat. For example, let us assume a terrorist threatens to use a WMD. The National Guard has 57 WMD-civil support teams across the country. These civil support teams can “identify chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents and substances, assess current and projected consequences, advise on response measures, and assist with requests for additional support.”[38]

Similarly, SLTT public health resources may be needed to augment the distribution and administration of medical countermeasures or to otherwise prepare for mass casualty events, as illustrated by the federal government’s delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to “loading docks” that needed states and localities to “take over from there.”[39] An act of terrorism involving CBRN materials that may “overwhelm the capabilities of many local, state and/or tribal governments to respond” may also “seriously challenge existing Federal response capabilities.”[40] As a result, unity of effort will be required, which mandates the seamless integration of law enforcement and consequence management operations. In the same way that unity of effort was improved through the adoption of NIMS, the federal government and its SLTT partners should adopt the new approach discussed above to develop a cohesive plan for integrating preparatory consequence management and law enforcement operations during “left of boom” terrorist threats when the public is not aware of the threat, particularly for those involving the threatened use of a WMD.

Finally, while some preparatory consequence management actions can alert a terrorist and adversely affect the prevention  operations, response planners may nonetheless recommend those actions to decision-makers to minimize the potential negative effect on the mission. While these recommendations may raise difficult discussions and require difficult decisions, senior government officials must also consider the success of the response.

Conclusion

Since 2003, national policy has treated law enforcement crisis management operations and consequence management as a single integrated function.[41] However, responding to terrorist threats can be more complicated than responding to natural disasters. Moreover, when a terrorist is threatening the use of a WMD, effective response can be even more complex because of the unique challenges that exist in responding to threats involving CBRN materials, dispersal devices, and weapons.[42] If the public is not aware of the terrorist threat and the government conducts highly visible preparatory consequence management operations, the terrorist could be alerted, potentially jeopardizing the success of the prevention mission’s efforts. At the same time, it is essential to consider interdependencies and other factors that can affect the success of the response mission’s efforts.

All levels of government must adopt a unified approach that cohesively integrates preparatory consequence management and law enforcement operations during “left of boom” terrorist threats. The successful resolution of imminent terrorist threats will require more than cohesive and integrated planning and operations. Senior government officials may need to make tough decisions involving competing risk and value trade-offs. To best support them, the federal government’s and SLTT government’s approach to “left of boom” terrorist threats and the coordination mechanisms should be similar and integrate seamlessly. This will ensure that decision-makers across all levels of government have the same understanding of the threat and that course of action options are developed with the risk-informed input from stakeholders in all mission areas.

 

About the Author

Scott J. Glick is vice president and general counsel for Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET®), a veteran-owned small business that specializes in providing proven preparedness solutions to systematically address all threats and hazards through a wide range of services, including planning, training, and exercises, as well as operational and policy support, for its government and private sector clients. He has four decades of experience in law enforcement, counterterrorism, critical incident response, exercises, and emergency preparedness. He previously served as the director of preparedness and response and senior counsel in the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where he led DOJ’s national preparedness policy and planning efforts, including in regard to countering weapons of mass destruction. He has investigated and prosecuted international terrorism cases as a federal prosecutor, and organized crime cases as a state prosecutor in New York. Since his retirement from DOJ, he has provided substantial advice and guidance to numerous federal departments and agencies on the cohesive integration of law enforcement, counterterrorism, and consequence management operations in response to terrorist threats. This article contains no classified or confidential government or business information, and the views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any government department or agency, or any private sector company.

 

Scott Glick VP and General Counsel

Scott Glick

Vice President & General Counsel

Notes

[1] Scott J. Glick, Preparatory Consequence Management & Weapons of Mass Destruction, DomPrep Journal (November 2020), https://www.domesticpreparedness.com/preparedness/preparatory-consequence-management-weapons-of-mass-destruction/.

[2] Karen Roganov, FEMA, State, Military, Guard, CAP, Volunteers, Rehearse Whole-of-Government Crisis Response, Joint Task Force Civil Support News (June 18, 2019), https://www.jtfcs.northcom.mil/MEDIA/NEWS-ARTICLES/Article/1879772/fema-state-military-guard-cap-volunteers-rehearse-whole-of-government-crisis-re/.

[3] E.g., “Severe T-Storms Prompt Tornado Watch in Parts of Tri-State Area,” WCBS NewsRadio 880 (August 27, 2020), https://www.audacy.com/wcbs880/articles/news/cuomo-ny-agencies-to-pre-deploy-emergency-response-assets.

[4] FEMA Mission Areas and Core Capabilities, (Last updated July 20, 2020), https://www.fema.gov/emergency-managers/national-preparedness/mission-core-capabilities.

[5] PDD-62, Protection Against Unconventional Threats to the Homeland and Americans Overseas, at 5-6 (May 22, 1998) (“When the Attorney General, acting on the advice of the Director, FBI, and in coordination with the Director, FEMA, determines that the incident or threat of an incident has subsided, lead agency responsibility may be transferred to FEMA.”), https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/16200.

[6] Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 39, U.S. Counterterrorism Policy, 6, (June 21, 1995), (“Within the United States, the Department of Justice, acting through the FBI, shall have lead responsibility for management of terrorist incidents,”   https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/12755.

[7] National Prevention Framework, 1, (2d Ed. 2016), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/National_Prevention_Framework2nd-june2016.pdf.

[8] Scott J. Glick, Preparatory Consequence Management & Weapons of Mass Destruction, DomPrep Journal (November 2020), https://www.domesticpreparedness.com/preparedness/preparatory-consequence-management-weapons-of-mass-destruction/.

[9] National Response Framework, 2, (4th Ed. 2019), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/NRF_FINALApproved_2011028.pdf.

[10] Response FIOP, 5, (2d Ed. 2016), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_response-fiop.pdf .

[11] National Response Framework, 12, (4th Ed. 2019), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/NRF_FINALApproved_2011028.pdf.

[12] Ibid.

[13] National Prevention Framework, 3, (2d Ed. June 2016), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/National_Prevention_Framework2nd-june2016.pdf.

[14] Ibid., 3.

[15] DHS, Planning Considerations: Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks, 2, (July 2018), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/planning-considerations-complex-coordinated-terrorist-attacks.pdf.

[16] Ibid.; See also U.S. Department of State, International Travel, Terrorism (Listing recommendations for travelers to “avoid becoming a target of opportunity”), https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies/terrorism.html.

[17] FEMA, Leaning Forward: Go Big, Go Early, Go Fast, Go Smart, https://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/state_of_fema/state_of_fema.pdf.

[18] Podcast: Spotlight on FEMA’s CBRN Office (November 29, 2019), https://cbrnecentral.com/the-fema-podcast-spotlight-on-femas-cbrn-office/21038/ (FEMA official noting “We’re always trying to lean forward in the CBRN realm as well.”).

[19] National Incident Management System (Third Ed. 2017), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/fema_nims_doctrine-2017.pdf. For a historical chronology of FEMA and the management of the consequences of terrorism from 1972 through 2009, see Baldwin, “FEMA’s Terrorism Consequences Role as Assigned by Section 2-103 of E.O. 12148,” https://fas.org/irp/agency/dhs/fema/chron.pdf.

[20] National Incident Management System, Glossary, 70, (3rd Ed. 2017), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/fema_nims_doctrine-2017.pdf.

[21] National Incident Management System, Glossary, 68, (3rd Ed. 2017), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/fema_nims_doctrine-2017.pdf.

[22] Ibid., 4.

[23] Profit Management Solutions, “How Are You Managing Your Team Interdependence,” (August 3, 2020), https://proffittmanagement.com/how-are-you-managing-your-team-interdependence/.

[24] Richard Sisk, “Shots in Arms Within 24 Hours: Army General’s Complex Vaccine Delivery Task Takes Shape,” Military News (October 26, 2020), https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/10/26/shots-arms-within-24-hours-army-generals-complex-vaccine-delivery-task-takes-shape.html (large scale distribution of vaccines is complex from a “logistical standpoint).

[25] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Treatment of Anthrax Infection (Last reviewed November 20, 2020), https://www.cdc.gov/anthrax/treatment/index.html.

[26] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Antibiotics to Prevent Anthrax After Exposure, (Last reviewed November 20, 2020), https://www.cdc.gov/anthrax/prevention/antibiotics/index.html.

[27] Ibid., 5.

[28] FEMA, Terrorism Incident Law Enforcement and Investigation Annex, 3, (December 2004), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/fema_incident-annex_terrorism-law-enforcement.pdf.

[29] Connor Simpson, “F.B.I. Released the Tsarnavev’s Photos Because of Reddit and the Post,” The Atlantic (April 21, 2013), https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/04/fbi-released-tsarnaev-brothers-photos-because-reddit-and-post/316075/.

[30] DHS, Planning Considerations: Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks, 2, (July 2018), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/planning-considerations-complex-coordinated-terrorist-attacks.pdf.

[31] Ibid.,3.

[32] FEMA, Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans: Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101, 43, (Ver. 3 2021), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_cpg-101-v3-developing-maintaining-eops.pdf.

[33] Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 203 (January 2, 2015) highlights the importance of expressing likelihood or using the same terminology (i.e., not mixing words with percentages). By thinking about each phase of each potential preparatory consequence management action and placing that action in a default category of its likelihood to alert the threat actor, Response and Prevention Mission planners can collectively, using the same terminology, effectively understand the degree to which each potential action could adversely affect the success of the Prevention Mission.

[34] U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Protection Federal Interagency Operational Plan (FIOP), First Edition, C-3-12, (January 2016), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_protection-fiop.pdf; See also U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FIOP Response and Recovery, Oil/Chemical Incident Annex, 4-8, (June 2016), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/fema_incident-annex_oil-chemical.pdf.

[35] Ibid.

[36] FEMA, Protection Federal Interagency Operational Plan, Appendix C to Annex C, C.3-12, (1st ed. January 2016), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_protection-fiop.pdf.

[37] National Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism, 11, (December 1, 2018), https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=819382 (WMD terrorism cannot be “combatted exclusively by Federal authorities” and many others, including first responders, and health care professionals play a key role in protecting the nation against WMD threats).

[38] National Guard, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Civil Support Team (CST) (Current as of December 2017), https://www.nationalguard.mil/Portals/31/Resources/Fact%20Sheets/Weapons%20of%20Mass%20Destruction%20Civil%20Support%20Team%20Fact%20Sheet%20(Dec.%202017).pdf .

[39] Karen Weintraub and Elizabeth Weise, Analysis: What Went Wrong with COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and How It Has Tarnished The ‘Miracle,’” USA Today (January 31, 2021), https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2021/01/31/covid-vaccine-what-went-wrong-distribution-whats-being-changed/4275954001/.

[40] FEMA, Terrorism Incident Law Enforcement and Investigation Annex, 3, (December 2004), https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/fema_incident-annex_terrorism-law-enforcement.pdf.

[41] Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5, para. 3, Management of Domestic Incidents (February 23, 2003).

[42] FEMA, Federal Interagency Operational Plans, (Last updated April 30, 2021), https://www.fema.gov/emergency-managers/national-preparedness/frameworks/federal-interagency-operational-plans.

Copyright

Copyright © 2022 by the author(s).

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