Exercise Program

California Specialized Training Institute
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CSTI's Exercise Division leads a statewide all-hazards Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) to assist California in preventing, protecting, mitigating, responding to, and recovering from man-made and natural disasters. The objectives of our exercise program are to:

  • Conduct the state-level Capstone California exercise series
  • Support the use of HSEEP Guidance in California
  • Provide exercise expertise and support to preparedness stakeholders
  • Provide exercise expertise and support to other Cal OES divisions/activities
  • Facilitate Cal OES Training & Exercise Planning Workshop process and produce the Cal OES Multiyear Training & Exercise Plan
  • Provide oversight of the HSEEP toolkit for California
  • Remain flexible & adaptable in order to conduct functional initiative exercises to meet the emerging needs of California


Exercise Support Program

CSTI's Exercise Program provides a selection of capability based discussion exercise on a variety of topics that can be delivered at the county, region, and state levels. We also support functional exercises (FE) for Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) and Department Operations Centers (DOC).

All activities are in accordance with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) guidelines to maximize efficiency and minimize work load. Ideally, the process would include one to two planning meetings to tailor the exercise (in person, by phone, or email exchanges), a 2-4 hour exercise, and one After Action Report (AAR) Conference.

Exercise Program Support Capabilities:
Exercise facilitation and planning support

Meet with customer to tailor currently available exercise documents to meet specific needs
Electronic master copies of exercise documentation/materials: Invitations, Minutes, Agendas, Situation Manuals (SitMan), Name Tents, PowerPoint Presentations, Exercise Evaluation Guides, Draft AARs
Track RSVPs

  • Exercise Support Program
  • Exercise Initial Planning Checklist (PDF)
  • Request Controller and Evaluator Training
  • Training and Exercise Planning Workshop Support
  • EMI Virtual Tabletop Exercise Program

Cal OES' State-Level Exercise Program

Implemented in 2004, Cal OES' annual state-level exercise series has become the most comprehensive preparedness exercise program in the country. Capstone California exercises are designed to improve emergency preparedness for catastrophic events at all levels of government.

The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP)

  • Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) Guidance, April 2013
  • Crosswalk of Target Capabilities to Core Capabilities

CSTI uses HSEEP as the doctrinal basis for our exercise program. HSEEP is a capabilities and performance-based exercise program developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It provides a standardized policy, methodology, and terminology for exercise design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning. Adherence to the revised April 2013 HSEEP Guidance ensures that exercise programs conform to the established best practices, and helps provide unity and consistency of effort for exercises at all levels of government.

​HSEEP Exercise Practitioner Training

 Exercise practitioner training is available through the Emergency Management Institute (EMI). For more information about EMI visit their website at: http://training.fema.gov/EMI/.

CSTI’s Exercise Program recommends the following Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) professional development training for exercise practitioners:

Independent Study Courses:
 IS120.a An Introduction to Exercises: The course introduces the basics of emergency management exercises. It also builds a foundation for subsequent exercise courses, which provide the specifics of the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) and the National Standard Exercise Curriculum (NSEC).

IS130 Exercise Evaluation and Improvement Planning: The Course introduces the basics of emergency management exercise evaluation and improvement planning. It also builds a foundation for exercise evaluation concepts as identified in the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).

IS139 Exercise Design: This course will cover the purpose, characteristics, and requirements of three main types of exercises: Tabletop exercise Functional exercise Full-scale exercise In addition this course will cover: Exercise evaluation. Exercise enhancements. Designing a functional exercise.

Distance Learning Course:
K0146 HSEEP Training Course: This course will provide training on the April 2013 release of the revised HSEEP Program Guidance. It is an intermediate course designed to describe the core principles and processes of HSEEP, its standardized methodology, and resources which are designed to assist you in developing an exercise program.

Classroom Training:
E/L0131 Exercise Evaluation and Improvement Planning: This course focuses on a systematic exercise and improve­ment planning program.

Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP) Program: The MEP mission is to improve the capabilities of Emergency Management exercise personnel in exer­cise program management and in every phase of the overall exercise process. For more information visit the MEP Program website at: http://training.fema.gov/MEPP/

​​Available Discussion-Based Topics​

Pandemic Influenza
Continuity of Operations
Food & Agriculture
Public Information & Warning
Mass Care & Shelter
Access and Functional Needs
Volunteer Management
​Emergency Operation Center Management
Executive Level Roles & Responsibilities in a Disaster
Public/Private Partnerships in a Disaster
Management Decision Making in a Cyber Incident
Information Sharing
Interoperable Communications

Available Operations-Based Exercise

Functional Exercise (FE) for Emergency Operations Centers and Department Operations Centers

Customer Responsibilities

Identify the type of exercise needed

Seminar: Provide overview of new or current plans, resources, strategies, concepts or ideas

Workshop: Achieve specific goal or build product (e.g., exercise objectives, standard operating procedures, policies, plans

Tabletop: Validate plans and procedures by utilizing a hypothetical scenario to drive participant discussions
Acquire willing participants utilizing provided invitations
Post exercise to National Exercise Schedule (NEXS)
Venue for the exercise
Participate in at least two planning meetings (could be by phone or in person)
Review and reproduce all exercise materials prepared for distribution
With Exercise Program assistance, finalize and submit After Action Report (AAR) and Improvement Plan (IP)


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