SP&D develops exercises and drills using the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).  HSEEP provides a set of guiding principles for exercise programs, as well as a common approach to exercise program management, design and development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning. Exercises are a key component of national preparedness - they provide elected and appointed officials and stakeholders from across the whole community with the opportunity to shape planning, assess and validate capabilities, and address areas for improvement.

Through the use of HSEEP, exercise program managers can develop, execute, and evaluate exercises that address the priorities established by an organization's leaders. These priorities are based on the National Preparedness Goal, strategy documents, threat and hazard identification and risk assessment processes, capability assessments, and the results from previous exercises and real-world events. These priorities guide the overall direction of a progressive exercise program, where individual exercises are anchored to a common set of priorities or objectives and build toward an increasing level of complexity over time. Accordingly, these priorities guide the design and development of individual exercises, as planners identify exercise objectives and align them to core capabilities for evaluation during the exercise. Exercise evaluation assesses the ability to meet exercise objectives and capabilities by documenting strengths, areas for improvement, core capability performance, and corrective actions in an After-Action Report/Improvement Plan (AAR/IP). Through improvement planning, organizations take the corrective actions needed to improve plans, build and sustain capabilities, and maintain readiness.

In this way, the use of HSEEP - in line with the National Preparedness Goal and the National Preparedness System - supports efforts across the whole community that improve our national capacity to build, sustain, and deliver core capabilities.

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