Working with RCS



Exercises, Training, Evaluation and Corrective Action

The foundation of the RCS philosophy with respect to the functions of training, exercises, evaluation and corrective action is that they are an inextricably linked and inter-dependent in the emergency management program mosaic. These functions do not and cannot stand apart from the fabric of the emergency management program, but are an integral part of the daily cycle of preparedness. Therefore, they should not exist in a stovepipe organizational context, rather they should be in blended, integrated and dynamic interplay with all of the other emergency management and homeland security functions and activities.

It is important to remember that the ultimate objective of training and exercises is to assure that the organization can respond effectively when challenged by an incident of any type, any size and any consequence. Organizations live or die based upon the effectiveness if their response. If the preparedness program loses this focus, then any effort to construct and execute these functions is for naught.

This is a major reason why RCS’s 40 years of operational experience in every type of hazard and incident provides invaluable insight into what works and what does not when it comes to building effective training, realistic exercises and thoughtful corrective actions for continuing improvement. 

All consultants who work on federal, state and local government exercises are conversant with the principles and constraints of HSEEP doctrine. It provides the fundamental building blocks for developing a viable exercise and evaluation program.  However HSEEP doctrine alone does not recognize the unique aspects of an organization, State, Region or City.



Executive Level Consulting and Support Services

RCS supports federal, state and local government organizations, non-governmental organizations and private sector companies engaged in emergency management and homeland security. Our executive level services are designed to recognize the dynamic complexity of the intergovernmental contingency planning and risk management arena, whether top down policy driven or bottom up operationally oriented.  Established in 1999, RCS is experienced in the design and conduct of seminars, summits, salons and policy dialogues to examine high level, strategic and politically sensitive issues related to risk assessment, prevention/mitigation, contingency planning/preparedness and recovery/resilience.

We do not offer “off the shelf” exercise products nor do we use your exercise to train our team.  For each client, for each event, we focus on identifying meaningful needs and objectives, and using those to drive and tailor the entire exercise process, including looking for novel ways to make the events more engaging, cost effective, and practical. Our approach is very different in that we always do a needs assessment to figure out the client needs. For example, if the need is a simple effort in order to be complaint, we don’t give you a major effort.  Instead, we find out what the compliance requirement is, and determine with you whether you want to go beyond that or not.  We are ruthlessly practical.

Our philosophy for supporting exercises, training and evaluation is straight forward: focus on objectives; be technically intense and accurate; provide experts in both content and facilitation to lead the events; pay strict attention to the details; and exercise for specific reasons.



Evolving Technology and Innovation

2014 marks the 12th anniversary of the establishment of HSEEP. In that time, organizations at every level of government engaged in HSEEP-based exercise programs and numerous firms have developed the capacity to design and deliver all types of compliant exercises.  In fact, many firms have gotten to the point that they are able to produce “check the box” exercises that at times seem to focus more on going through the motions as opposed to delivering innovation and value.   The RCS Team believes that such an approach, while may be done inexpensively, will not provide the organization the ability to mount a ” Quantum Response”, our term for meeting the requirements of incidents that are unexpected and beyond the planning templates provided by others.  (Check out Bob’s Quantum Responder blog.)

While HSEEP has remained relatively consistent in this decade, the world has not.  New dynamics and new considerations have surfaced.  New technologies bring both new opportunity and new threats that must be considered.  New budgetary realities drive organizations to continually evaluate priorities in order to address strategic, operational and tactical mission considerations.  It is our understanding of needs associated with functioning in this dynamic, real world environment that provides the real advantage of the RCS Team.  Specifically, the threat environment is changing at an accelerating rate and the frequency of change will continue due to a number of factors such as those identified in FEMA’s Strategic Foresight Initiative:

  • The changing role of the individual in society
  • Technological innovation and dependency
  • Demographic shifts
  • Universal access to and use of information
  • Global Interdependence /Globalization

These interdependencies each present opportunities for human growth and advancement and they likewise present new hazards, threats and opportunities for negative consequences upon human-kind. Things once thought of only in sci-fi novels and movies are now realities.