Analysis of the Argonne distance tabletop exercise method.

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The purpose of this report is to summarize and evaluate the Argonne Distance Tabletop Exercise (DISTEX) method. DISTEX is intended to facilitate multi-organization, multi-objective tabletop emergency response exercises that permit players to participate from their own facility's incident command center. This report is based on experience during its first use during the FluNami 2007 exercise, which took place from September 19-October 17, 2007. FluNami 2007 exercised the response of local public health officials and hospitals to a hypothetical pandemic flu outbreak. The underlying purpose of the DISTEX method is to make tabletop exercising more effective and more convenient for playing ... continued below

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Tanzman, E. A.; Nieves, L. A. & Sciences, Decision and Information February 14, 2008.

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Description

The purpose of this report is to summarize and evaluate the Argonne Distance Tabletop Exercise (DISTEX) method. DISTEX is intended to facilitate multi-organization, multi-objective tabletop emergency response exercises that permit players to participate from their own facility's incident command center. This report is based on experience during its first use during the FluNami 2007 exercise, which took place from September 19-October 17, 2007. FluNami 2007 exercised the response of local public health officials and hospitals to a hypothetical pandemic flu outbreak. The underlying purpose of the DISTEX method is to make tabletop exercising more effective and more convenient for playing organizations. It combines elements of traditional tabletop exercising, such as scenario discussions and scenario injects, with distance learning technologies. This distance-learning approach also allows playing organizations to include a broader range of staff in the exercise. An average of 81.25 persons participated in each weekly webcast session from all playing organizations combined. The DISTEX method required development of several components. The exercise objectives were based on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Target Capabilities List. The ten playing organizations included four public health departments and six hospitals in the Chicago area. An extent-of-play agreement identified the objectives applicable to each organization. A scenario was developed to drive the exercise over its five-week life. Weekly problem-solving task sets were designed to address objectives that could not be addressed fully during webcast sessions, as well as to involve additional playing organization staff. Injects were developed to drive play between webcast sessions, and, in some cases, featured mock media stories based in part on player actions as identified from the problem-solving tasks. The weekly 90-minute webcast sessions were discussions among the playing organizations that were moderated by a highly-qualified public health physician, who reviewed key scenario developments and player actions, as well as solicited input from each playing organization. The exercise control structure included trusted agents who oversaw exercise planning, playing organization points of contact to ensure exercise coordination, and exercise controller/evaluators to initiate and oversee exercise play. A password-protected exercise website was designed for FluNami 2007 to serve as a compartmentalized central information source, and for transmitting exercise documents. During the course of FluNami 2007, feedback on its quality was collected from players and controller/evaluators. Player feedback was requested at the conclusion of each webcast, upon completion of each problem-solving task, and on October 17, 2007, after the final webcast session had ended. The overall average score given to FluNami 2008 by the responding players was 3.9 on a five-point scale. In addition, suggestions for improving the process were provided by Argonne controller/evaluators after the exercise concluded. A series of recommendations was developed based on feedback from the players and controller/evaluators. These included improvements to the exercise scope and objectives, the problem-solving tasks, the scenarios, exercise control, the webcast sessions, the exercise website, and the player feedback process.

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  • Report No.: ANL/DIS/RP-60983
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-06CH11357
  • DOI: 10.2172/924390 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 924390
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc899385

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • February 14, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 28, 2016, 5:58 p.m.

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Tanzman, E. A.; Nieves, L. A. & Sciences, Decision and Information. Analysis of the Argonne distance tabletop exercise method., report, February 14, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc899385/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.