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National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 11) . Mary Rhedin Individual and Community Preparedness Officer FEMA Region V, Chicago.

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national level exercise 2011 nle 11

National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 11)

Mary Rhedin

Individual and Community Preparedness Officer

FEMA Region V, Chicago

nle the event
NLE 11 simulated the catastrophic nature of a major earthquake in the central U.S. region of the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) and a secondary earthquake along the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone.

The exercise took place from May 16 – 19, 2011.

The purpose of the exercise was to prepare and coordinate a multi-jurisdictional integrated response to a national catastrophic event.

NLE – The Event
whole of community
The all-of-Nation or Whole Community (WC) approach to emergency management represents a shift from a government-centric approach to an approach utilizing the capabilities of Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, private sector, non-government organizations, faith-based and community-based organizations, and the American public.

Primary Areas for Improvement :

Players often did not have a clear, common understanding of the WC concept or how to apply it in the exercise. As a result, players focused on government-centric approaches rather than WC solutions.

Whole of Community
qualifiers limiting play
Qualifiers Limiting Play
  • Real World Events – tornadoes, floods
  • Pre-Scripted MSEL – not everything was exercised
  • Functional Exercise – some Core Capabilities and Courses of Action (COA) are tactical in nature and difficult to evaluate in a functional setting.
cross cutting finding
Cross Cutting Finding


NLE 11 demonstrated that a wide range of WC approaches are already incorporated into State and local emergency plans.


During NLE 11, State, local, and private sector entities employed various atypical, innovative solutions that are emblematic of the WC approach like established agreements, contracts, and memoranda of understanding with private sector, voluntary, and faith-based organizations to provide assets and services during disasters.

critical communications
Critical Communications


FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) successfully connected different Federal, State, and local government and private sector communications systems through a common hub for temporary interoperable communications.


MERS collaborated with commercial vendors to provide WC communications support for State and local emergency operations as well as disaster survivors. FEMA Region V also collaborated with private sector entities to collect communications infrastructure damage assessments.

critical communications1
Critical Communications


National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and private sector personnel collaborated to augment English and non-English language radio stations.


The DOD operators coordinated with the State emergency managers, State broadcast associations,

ESF-15 personnel to determine the messages to be broadcast.

mass care
Mass Care


Strength: Federal, State, and private sector partners demonstrated a WC approach to sheltering on several occasions during NLE 11.


FEMA activated a preexisting contract with Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC), which contacted hotels outside the affected area to maximize the number of sheltering facilities for displaced residents. CLC identified 1.7 million hotel rooms for sheltering by ENDEX.

mass care1
Mass Care


The Pets Multi-Agency Coordination System (Pets MAC) was activated successfully at the Federal level.


Forty representatives from Federal, State, volunteer, and private sector entities coordinated sheltering services and resources for the affected States.

public and private sector services and resources
Public and Private Sector Services and Resources

Area for Improvement: Federal and State governmental organizations need to further integrate private sector resource providers into response planning and operations


Response personnel quickly and effectively accessed various private sector services and resources, typically through established relationships or a representative within the EOC. The Distribution Management Strategic Working Group (DMSWG) coordinated national-level requests and requirements with private sector organizations. However, in some cases, private sector resources were not accepted, even when needed and offered.

public and private sector services and resources1
Public and Private Sector Services and Resources

Strength: The DMSWG successfully procured hydration products from private sector and Federal interagency partners.

Discussion: On E+1 day, the DMSWG revised the shortfall upward to 65 million liters of water and reached out to private sector providers. It procured a total of 21 million liters from Anheuser-Busch, Target, and Wal-Mart. The group also explored other options to fill the remaining gap, including procuring water from Canadian vendors.

The Distribution Management Strategic Working Group (DMSWG)

public and private sector services and resources2
Public and Private Sector Services and Resources

Strength: National and State Business Emergency Operations Centers (BEOCs) coordinated private sector services and resources for response operations.

Discussion: Immediately after the incident, the FEMA Office of External Affairs, Private Sector Division established a virtual National BEOC (NBEOC). NBEOC participants discussed procuring resources from large chain stores; one participant, GE, offered to donate $5 million to procure resources. NBEOC participants also explored non-traditional methods to utilize private sector resources to communicate information to the impacted area, such as pushing information through Garmin global positioning system (GPS) devices and Lodge Net, a hotel video service.

fatality management services
Fatality Management Services

Strength: National and State Business Emergency Operations Centers (BEOCs) coordinated private sector services and resources for response operations.

Discussion: The Missouri Funeral Home Association Disaster Response Team collaborated to recover remains and to establish a portable morgue. The NRCC investigated acquiring the body bags from the private sector and other non-traditional providers after determining that government supplies were inadequate.

stabilize and repair essential infrastructure
Stabilize and Repair Essential Infrastructure

Strength: NLE players sought WC solutions to meet State requests for generators.

Discussion: The exercise incident created an enormous demand for generators throughout the impacted area. States requested generators through Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) and from FEMA. Once these supplies were exhausted, FEMA sought generators from the private sector and non-traditional sources. Unisys, Walgreens, T-Mobile, and other private sector companies offered generators. The State of Missouri and the GSA leased an airport and requested that all requested generators be delivered to that location.