Planning for a Functional Exercise is very important, and the more
planning you do ahead of time the better your exercise will be.
Below you will find a list of things you should do that will help in
the preparation of your exercise.
1. Review your Plan
Review and become familiar with the plan you'd like exercised. Share the plan with potential exercise stakeholders.
2. Establish an Exercise Planning Team
The Exercise Planning Team oversees and is ultimately responsible for
exercise foundation, design, development, conduct, and evaluation. The
team determines exercise objectives, tailors the scenario to meet the
exercising entity’s needs, and develops documentation used in
evaluation, control, and simulation. Planning team members also help
with developing and distributing pre-exercise materials and conducting
exercise planning conferences, briefings, and training sessions. Because
planning team members are highly involved in the exercise, they are
ideal selections for the exercise facilitator, controller, and/or
The Exercise Planning Team should be of manageable size yet represent
the full range of participating entities, as well as other relevant
stakeholder organizations. Planning team members should represent each
participating key agency, department, and stakeholder organization
within that jurisdiction. An Exercise Planning Team Leader manages the
3. Create an Exercise Timeline with Milestones
Exercise planning timelines establish target timeframes for attaining
significant, exercise-related milestones such as planning conferences,
training, exercise conduct, after-action reporting, and improvement
Timelines will vary based on exercise scope and complexity. Timelines
also may vary based on the entity’s experience in conducting exercises,
available resources, and Exercise Planning Team size.
4. Schedule Planning Meetings
Develop a draft calendar of planning meeting dates. Vet with the Exercise Planning Team and send out to all relevant staff.
5. Create a Budget
Some tabletops do not require budgets because all of the personnel,
assets, and consumables are already on site. If you want to produce
documents, hire experts, purchase supplies and equipment (audiovisual,
etc.), create signage, serve food, develop name badges and/or table
tents, you may need a budget. If you need a budget, create it and go over it with finance personnel.
This will help to scale back the exercise as needed, or if money allows,
scale it up.
Exercise Budget - Sample