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FEMA: Capstone 2014 National Exercise Begins

Release date: 
March 27, 2014
Release Number: 

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and its partners begin the Capstone 2014 national exercise to test, assess and improve the nation’s preparedness and resilience from catastrophic disasters.

The Capstone 2014 exercise examines the core capabilities described in the National Preparedness Goal. This multi-event design recognizes the need for comprehensive all-hazards planning and the complexity to ensure exercise objectives are met.  Capstone 2014 is a complex emergency preparedness exercise comprised of five distinct, but linked, component events. This year’s exercise components include Alaska Shield, Ardent Sentry 14, Nuclear Weapon Accident/Incident Exercise, Eagle Horizon, and Silver Phoenix. 

“In order to be ready for disasters, as a nation, we have to practice how we would respond,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “In Capstone 2014, FEMA joins state, tribal and local government, along with our partners in the non-profit, faith-based and private sectors to test and assess our joint preparedness for a disaster. Preparedness is a team effort, and every family and business can take steps to be ready for disasters by learning your risks, making a plan, and having a kit. Visit to learn easy steps on how to prepare and take action.”

By congressional mandate, these exercises—formerly known as National Level Exercises and the Top Officials exercises— represent the culmination of a two-year cycle and are designed to educate and prepare participants for potential catastrophic events. These exercises are facilitated by FEMA’s National Exercise Division.

The exercise is national in scope with the goal of fostering coordination and building relationships prior to an incident occurring. Each exercise cycle varies from drills to functional assessments, and it challenges participants from all levels of government, non-governmental and private sector organizations and other organizations representing the whole community.

Various aspects of local, state, federal, non-governmental, private sector and other whole community organizations will be tested by the exercise, including the emergency response to mass casualties from the earthquake, resulting infrastructure, communication and coordination challenges and the tangential element of hazardous materials spills.

Among the exercises and participants are the following:

  • Alaska Shield: FEMA and state emergency management agencies, including Alaska, will commemorate the anniversary of the 1964 9.2 magnitude Great Alaskan Earthquake, with an exercise that tests response and mass casualty care.
  • Ardent Sentry 14:  In conjunction with Alaska Shield and other exercises during the period, the Department of Defense will exercise its Defense Support to Civilian Authorities’ mission.
  • Nuclear Weapon Accident/Incident Exercise: The Department of Energy will participate in the exercise with a scenario that tests response and recovery following an accident during secure transport convoy of nuclear weapons.
  • Eagle Horizon 2014: During this exercise, many federal departments and agencies will activate their continuity of operations and reconstitution planning to test their continuity plans and ensure that primary mission essential functions can take place from alternate facilities.
  • Silver Phoenix 2014: This exercise explores challenges associated with examining, prioritizing, and conducting recovery activities involving multiple geographically-dispersed and competing events using the National Disaster Recovery Framework.

For more information on these exercises, visit Learn more about earthquake preparedness at


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FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:07