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The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is urging federal homeland security officials to scrap plans to simulate a nuclear explosion in Las Vegas next May.
FEMA has been planning its 2010 “national level exercise” since last year. The simulation, which is designed to test the capabilities of first responders to catastrophic events, involves the response to a mock nuclear blast in Clark County.
Against that practical and political backdrop, the Obama administration scratched Vegas as the National Level Exercise host city late last year. That leaves the NLE 2010, which involves 10,000 responders, still on the calendar but without a practice field: DHS has yet to publicly announce the city – or even the scenario – it plans to use in mid-May. (It usually takes upward of a year to plan an NLE exercise.)
But the president's supporters, including those deep inside the nation's emergency preparedness ranks, say the Obama White House may be shifting away from large-scale "open book" tests, practiced during President Bush's tenure, and toward "no-notice," or secretly planned, tests that thrust emergency managers into unexpected, sink-or-swim scenarios.
Key Exercises and Events for 2010:
- National Level Seminar II: April 7, 2010; Recovery from an Improvised Nuclear Device – IND – Attack
- Tier II Support to Exercise Liberty RadEX (EPA): April 26-30, 2010; Recovery from an Radiological Dispersal Device – RDD – in Philadelphia, PA
- Principal Level Exercise 2-10; April 22, 2010; Response to an Improvised Nuclear Device - IND
- Principal Level Exercise 3-10: June 17, 2010; Recovery from an Improvised Nuclear Device-IND- Attack
- National Level Exercise 1-10 and Eagle Horizon 10; May 17-21, 2010: Improvised Nuclear Device-IND and Continuity deployment exercise
During NLE 2010, the Ogilvy PR team will develop and implement simulated media responses to the exercise “disasters” that mimic the intensity of media coverage during disaster situations and stress the abilities of top officials’ and public information officers’ to communicate effectively with the public.
During NLE 2010, the Ogilvy PR team will develop and implement simulated media responses to the exercise “disasters” that mimic the intensity of media coverage during disaster situations and stress the abilities of top officials’ and public information officers’ to communicate effectively with the public. The team will also play a critical role in helping FEMA manage real-world media coverage of NLE 2010 and ensure Federal and State officials, Members of Congress and international observers gain a better understanding of the exercise through a live and in-person observer program.
In order to open a dialogue about Hawaii’s pandemic preparedness and allocation priorities, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is funding an alternate reality game starting in mid-May at CoralCross.org. As part of a larger public engagement initiative that includes community meetings and a live TV panel, the Hawaii State Department of Heath has contracted with the Hawaii Research Center for Future Studies to produce Coral Cross, a “playable scenario” on the island of Oahu. According to Judy Kern at the Communications Office of the Hawaii State Department of Health, the goal of the ARG is to “help encourage public dialogue and elicit input for decision-makers on Hawaii’s pandemic priorities.”
Under the task order, L-3 GS&ES will support the FEMA National Exercise Program and NLE2010 exercise life cycle in the National Capital Region and FEMA Region IX. NLE2010 will involve Federal Departments and Agencies, selected international governments, and selected states in FEMA Regions VIII and IX
National Level Exercise 1-10 and Eagle Horizon 10; May 17-21, 2010: Improvised Nuclear Device-IND and Continuity deployment exercise