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National Exercise Program Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What kind of support is available through the National Exercise Program (NEP)?

Through the NEP, the National Exercise Division’s team of practitioners offers direct exercise support – such as staff time and materials production – for the design, development, conduct, and evaluation of accepted exercises. Support requests can be as simple as requesting a facilitator for a tabletop exercise or complex as delivering a full-scale exercise.

Do exercise sponsors have to pay for NEP support?

Exercise support is available at no cost to sponsors. The National Exercise Division works with sponsors to determine how best our staff’s technical assistance can supplement a sponsor’s existing resources and capabilities.

How far in advance of my exercise should I submit a nomination?

In general, to allow for a sufficient planning timeline we recommend at least 4 months between NEP acceptance and conduct for discussion-based exercises or 9-12 months for operations-based exercises. Any exceptions would be made on a case-by-case basis.

My jurisdiction does not need any exercise support from the National Exercise Division, can I still participate in the NEP?

After action reports (AARs) contain crucial data that, when viewed in the aggregate, provide vital insights into preparedness trends and help shape priorities for the nation’s exercises.  Sponsors interested in sharing AAR results can submit data directly to nep@fema.dhs.gov and do not need to go through the nomination process.

Exercise Nomination Tips

All exercises will be considered. However, support is dependent upon resource availability. The NEP uses the following guidance when reviewing nomination packages for support. Strong nominations will:

  • Align to at least one of the Principals' Strategic Priorities (PSPs)
  • Link the exercise to an existing or draft plan
  • Build upon corrective actions previously identified in exercise or real-world events
  • Attach copies of plans and/or corrective actions that will be examined during the exercise
  • Engage a broad spectrum of participants (whole community)
  • Address capability gaps in the Stakeholder Preparedness Review (SPR), if applicable
  • Provide a clear picture of the support needed by the National Exercise Division to conduct your exercise
Last updated September 10, 2020