National Level Exercise 2012, Exercise #3, began on June 4, and ended on June 7, engaging 12 to 15 participants each day in an exercise cyber attack scenario. During this time, FEMA HQ Office of External Affairs participants worked from the HQ Ready Room, which was set up as an Alternate National Joint Information Center. Participants included Office of External Affairs staff from all six divisions, controllers, division directors and senior leadership.
DHS was the lead agency for this response with multiple agencies joining in a support position. Since the scenario and injects led to a consequence management aspect, including several state requests for Emergency Declarations and the anticipated use of the Presidential prerogative of enacting a Disaster Declaration without a state request, FEMA became a key player in the events as they unfolded. Playing through the scenario as if it were real provided many beneficial results and pointed to areas that we as External Affairs can improve upon as well as reinforcing the positive aspects of close coordination and collaboration both internally and externally. The responses from the participants indicated that they felt this was a very positive experience and that participation in this exercise was a good investment of their time and energy.