Exercise Program

California Specialized Training Institute

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
  •  Conduct HSEEP training courses, both in person and virtual
  • Provide exercise expertise and support to internal and external stakeholders
  • Facilitate the Cal OES Integrated Preparedness Planning Workshop and the resulting Multi-Year Integrated Preparedness Plan (IPP)
  • Remain flexible & adaptable in order to conduct functional initiative exercises to meet the emerging needs of California

The CSTI Exercise Division is responsible for four major programs; the Exercise Support Program, the Capstone California Exercise Series, the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), and the Cal OES Integrated Preparedness Planning Workshop.

Exercise Support Program

CSTI's Exercise Program has a selection of discussion exercises 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 conducted in accordance with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) methodology to maximize efficiency and minimize workload. Ideally, the process includes planning meetings to tailor the  exercise (in person, virtual, or email exchanges), a 2-4-hour exercise, and one After  Action Report (AAR) Conference.

Capstone California Exercise Series

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.

Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program

CSTI uses the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) as the doctrinal basis for our exercise program. Exercises are a key component of national preparedness; they provide the whole community with the opportunity to shape planning, assess and validate capabilities, and address areas for improvement. HSEEP provides a set of guiding principles for exercise and evaluation programs, as well as a common approach to exercise program management, design and development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning.

Integrated Preparedness Planning Workshops

The Integrated Preparedness Planning Workshop (IPPW) is a periodic meeting that establishes the strategy and structure for an exercise program, in addition to broader preparedness efforts, while setting the foundation for the planning, conduct, and evaluation of individual exercises. The IPPW process produces the Cal OES Multi-Year Integrated Preparedness Plan (IPP).

Training and Exercise Recommendations

CSTI’s Exercise Program recommends the following HSEEP professional development training for exercise practitioners:

  • IS120.C 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).

  • IS130.A How to be an Exercise Evaluator: The Course introduces the basics of emergency management exercise evaluation and improvement planning. It also provides the foundation for exercise evaluation concepts and practices as identified in the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).

  • IS139.A Exercise Design and Development: Through the use of this course, exercise program managers learn to develop, execute, and evaluate exercises that address priorities established by an organization’s leaders.

  • Distance and Classroom Learning Courses:
        • E/L/K 0146 Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP): This is an intermediate course designed to provide a comprehensive overview of exercise program management, design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning along with practical skill development using HSEEP doctrine.                                                                    For more information, email: CAHSEEP@caloes.ca.gov

        • E0131 Exercise Evaluation and Improvement Planning: This course is designed to improve skills, knowledge, and capabilities of individuals and organizations involved in the evaluation of emergency management exercises.                   https://firstrespondertraining.gov/frts/npccatalog?catalog=EMI

        • Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEPP): The MEPP program is a series of two classroom courses focusing on advanced program management, exercise design and evaluation practices in each phase of the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). https://training.fema.gov/mepp/

The California Training and Exercise Plan

The California Integrated Preparedness Plan provides a roadmap to accomplish this goal. New—2020: The Integrated Preparedness Plan (IPP) and Integrated Preparedness Planning Workshop (IPPW) will replace the Training and Exercise Plan Workshop (TEPW) and Training and Exercise Plan (TEP) for the next planning cycle: 2022-2024. Emergency Managers should attend the yearly IPPW to further develop preparedness strategies and coordinate training and exercise activities with neighboring jurisdictions and state training and exercise programs.

CSTI Exercise Program Points of Contact (POCs)


Elaine Viray  (916) 845-8497  Elaine.Viray@caloes.ca.gov

Exercise Support:

Norris Cowles  (916) 845-8509  Norris.Cowles@caloes.ca.gov

Al Lehenbauer  (916) 845-8874  Al.Lehenbauer@caloes.ca.gov

Sandeep Singh  (916) 845-8749  Sandeep.Singh@caloes.ca.gov 

Sima Sheehan  (916) 845-8460  Sima.Sheehan@caloes.ca.gov

Oksana Bychuk  (916) 845-8659  Oksana.bychuk@caloes.ca.gov

For more information or questions about the Exercise Program, contact the CSTI Exercise team at exercise@caloes.ca.gov.


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