GEMA/HS Dispatch Sept 2018 - Page 21

The August 16 exercise built upon established partnerships between agencies to further consistent and unified cooperation in times of real-world incidents and another exercise developer, and was borne from a discussion- based exercise held at GPA last year. “We built on the partnerships established at last year’s event, where we discussed resources and capabilities, but we also wanted to get this exercise to a level that activated other agencies outside port jurisdiction,” he said. For Hampton, understanding, interdependency and adaptability is key to finding balance between maritime security, homeland secu- rity, and facilitation of international commerce. “Nothing can be done inside a bubble or silo. It’s great to have plans, but if we can’t come to- gether and work collectively within those plans, we won’t be successful,” he said. After last year’s exercise, GPA and the exercise developers approached GEMA/HS for assistance with mov- ing the discussions into a larger ex- ercise with scenarios and injects, causing the participating agencies to make real-time decisions on the scenarios presented. “Those part- nerships that were enhanced from last year’s event helped everyone make sound decisions in this one,” said Morse. For both each of the exercise developers, this year’s exercise suc- cessfully brought everyone togeth- er and moved them into a unified command to handle the incident, demonstrating everyone’s commit- ment to working together to address any threat to Georgia’s maritime system. The lessons learned in this year’s exercise will be brought into the 2019 exercise, which is already in the planning stages, and will move everyone to a deeper understanding of the incident command structure and even further prepare the port for an incident. “GEMA/HS will provide us with an after-action report in the com- ing weeks. We’ll take those lessons learned and use them to strengthen our plans and be even more prepared next time,” Trevathan said. Planning is a critical element in incident management, but exercising plans and training for real-world scenarios is what helps various agencies work together to ensure the protection of life and property in Georgia. ■ _______________________ For more information on planning an exercise, contact the GEMA/HS Training and Exercise Division at 404-624-2264. DISPATCH | 21