The February 2007 DHS Guidelines on the Homeland Security Exercise and Assessment Program recommend the use of XPAs and a variety of exercises for different types of hazards have also been taken up by XPA. Two recent examples are the 2012 Alaska Shield Exercise Series and evergreen Quake Exercise Series in Washington State. Based on a cold scenario that resulted in infrastructure and heating issues, the 2012 Alaska Shield Exercise Series used an XPA form to be signed by any participating jurisdiction or authority, requiring the organization to designate an interlocutor for exercise planning. Participating jurisdictions and agencies were also responsible for the local aspects of monitoring and evaluating the exercises described in the Scope of Play agreement of the Alaska Shield Exercise Series 2012:1. Organizational Objectives – Organized by jurisdiction, CSEPP XPAs describes the requirement for any jurisdiction to demonstrate certain broad functions or objectives. In each function, the XPA contains certain tasks. For example, a jurisdiction may commit to posting public alerts and agree to the following measures: (a) prepare alert messages to be sent to the public, including specific instructions; and (b) immediately activate systems to deliver messages in a timely manner, for example. B radio broadcasts, sirens, text messages. The XPA can be very detailed in demonstrating these tasks – for example, activating broadcast systems at the right time, but only sending a test message. The agreement may also refer to intentional inaction – for example, vehicles sent in the event of a real emergency will warn residents of remote areas orally, but not in the exercise. To succeed in the exercise, it is necessary to find points of convergence between the participating organizations: the extent of the exercise, the degree of participation of each organization, the coordination of training activities and the process of evaluating the lessons learned from the exercise.
A U.S. emergency prevention program has addressed these challenges through the mechanism of a formal written agreement between the parties, called an “extent-of-play agreement” (XPA). The monitoring and evaluation of exercises also requires a stable planning basis. It is a challenge to set up a team of controllers and evaluators adapted to the scope of an exercise in case of uncertainty about the level of play. A lag may mean that some controllers and evaluators are not properly prepared for their tasks, that some activities are not properly covered and/or that some controllers and evaluators are not used optimally. Challenges for planning the CSEPP exercise Due to the scale and inter-multidisciplinary nature of the CSEPP exercises, the commitment of each organization is an important variable. . . .