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National Exercise Program Capstone Exercise 2016

Release date: 
May 5, 2016
Release Number: 

WASHINGTON – This week, federal departments and agencies from across the government began the National Exercise Program Capstone Exercise 2016. This event is a biennial, national-level exercise to test the federal government’s ability to protect the American public by preparing for, preventing, mitigating against, and responding to catastrophic incidents.

Capstone 2016 is based on analysis of past exercises, national preparedness data, and perspectives from partner agencies. This data-driven approach to designing the exercise series showed a need to examine federal capabilities for preventing and protecting against a catastrophic incident, in addition to coordinating an effective response.

Capstone 2016 involves a series of five events. The exercise began with an analysis of threats originating abroad and then will transition into a domestic crisis management and emergency response exercise. This multi-component design recognizes the need for comprehensive government-wide planning and interagency operations. The exercise is national in scope with the goal of fostering coordination and building relationships prior to an incident.

Various capabilities of the federal government will be tested, which will prompt participants to prevent terrorist acts against the homeland, coordinate the response to a catastrophic incident, communicate to the American people, and continue performing essential government functions during a disaster.

Capstone 2016 examines core capabilities described in the National Preparedness Goal and examines the ability of senior federal leaders and key partners to share and act upon information to achieve common and accurate situational awareness, inform crisis action planning, and establish priorities for life-saving and life-sustaining operations in response to a credible threat.

By congressional mandate, the Capstone exercise represents the culmination of the two-year National Exercise Program cycle and is designed to educate and prepare participants for potential catastrophic events. Capstone 2016 serves as the culminating event for the 2015-2016 cycle.  These exercises are facilitated by FEMA’s National Exercise Division.



Preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. Individuals, families, and businesses are encouraged to take steps to be ready for disasters by learning about risks in their areas and making a plan. Visit to learn easy steps on how individuals and families can prepare and take action.

For more information on these exercises, visit



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Last Updated: 
May 5, 2016 - 16:38