21-09 - Leadership Guide to Externally Evaluated Full Scale Exercises

By Center for Army Lessons LearnedFebruary 2, 2021

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This handbook provides Senior Leaders and Garrison Commanders a guide to the Installation Management Command’s (IMCOM) Full Scale Exercise (FSE) Program. It details the role of leaders in training, the design process, the external evaluation process, and Corrective Action Plan (CAP)/Improvement Plan (IP) process. The purpose of this handbook is to provide Installation leadership a timeline for engagement in the FSE process and strategies for planning, execution success, and improvement.

FSEs are multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional, multi-organizational exercises that validate many facets of preparedness. The FSEs focus on implementing and analyzing the plans, policies, procedures, and cooperative agreements developed in discussion-based exercises and are honed in previous, smaller, operations-based exercises. FSEs present the reality of operations in multiple functional areas, including the complex and realistic problems that require critical thinking, rapid problem solving, and effective response by trained personnel.¹

IMCOM installations struggle to use the FSE planning process to plan the initial planning meeting, mid­ planning meeting, and final planning meeting. The Multi-Year Training and Exercise Program (MTEP) is a plan of action and milestones blueprint for training over a three-year period, and supports core capability development. The MTEP must be included in the planning process. Using MTEP supports the development of specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and timely objectives. MTEP supports choosing which core capabilities should to be validated, and helps with designing rigorous and executable scenarios to build readiness and strengthen resilience. Installations often lack a holistic approach by not including all garrison directorates, tenants, and local partners in the exercise process. Before leaders help inform the overall trained, needs practice, and untrained (T/P/U) assessment, they must first understand, direct, lead, and validate performances in an exercise setting.

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