New Info from FEMA on National Level Exercise 11 (New Madrid-like Earthquake)

FEMA has issued the following Fact Sheet about the May 2011 National Level Exercise event:

National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 2011) is scheduled for May 2011. The purpose of the exercise is to prepare and coordinate a multiple-jurisdictional integrated response to a national catastrophic event.NLE 2011 is designated as a Tier I National Level Exercise. Tier I exercises (formerly known as the Top Officials exercise series or TOPOFF) are conducted annually in accordance with the National Exercise Program (NEP), which serves as the nation’s overarching exercise program for planning, organizing, conducting and evaluating national level exercises. The NEP was established to provide the U.S. government, at all levels, exercise opportunities to prepare for catastrophic crises ranging from terrorism to natural disasters.

NLE 2011 is a White House directed Congressionally-mandated exercise that includes the participation of all appropriate federal department and agency senior officials, their deputies and staff; and key operational elements. NLE 2011 will focus on regional catastrophic response and recovery activities between federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector participants


NLE 2011 will simulate the catastrophic nature of a major earthquake in the central United States region of the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ). The year 2011 is the bicentennial anniversary of the 1811 New Madrid earthquake, for which the NMSZ is named. NLE 2011 will be the first NLE to simulate a natural hazard.

NLE 2011 activities will take place at command posts, emergency operation centers and other locations to include federal facilities in the Washington D.C. area and federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector facilities in the eight member states of the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC). The eight member states of CUSEC encompass four different FEMA regions: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee (FEMA Region IV); Illinois and Indiana (FEMA Region V); Arkansas (FEMA Region VI); and Missouri (FEMA Region VII).


The Department of Homeland Security intends to fully incorporate the guidance and participation in NLE 2011 from a diverse range of private sector partners throughout the business, not-for-profit, academic and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) communities including stakeholders from across the critical infrastructure and key resources community.

Private sector participation is coordinated through national, regional, and state Private Sector Working Groups. The Private Sector Working Groups represent and coordinate the interests and activities of the various private sector stakeholders at the national, regional, state, and local levels in order to ensure improved collaboration during the design, planning and execution of a national level exercise intended to test preparedness and resiliency.

The National Private Sector Working Group will include subgroups that align with the other exercise national working groups, and will work to ensure that private sector stakeholders at all levels of participation are linked in order to facilitate the requisite coordination, communication, and collaboration.

During the planning phase, working group members will contribute to the development of both national and private-sector-specific exercise goals, objectives, and scenarios.

Private sector entities also have the opportunity to leverage NLE 2011 to test organizational emergency preparedness and business continuity plans.

The formation of Private Sector Working Groups that include all aspects of the private sector is a significant step in the direction of recognizing the importance of collaboration between government and the private sector during times of national emergency, as well as the planning to test national preparedness and resiliency.


The National Private Sector Working Group is seeking ideas and comments from the private sector. Possibly the extent of interest is to test business continuity plans and procedures. In any case, the National Private Sector Working Group encourages involvement and joining the effort to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement in testing private sector preparedness and resiliency at the national, regional, state and local level.

To participate in the National and/or Regional NLE 2011 Private Sector Working Groups, please contact Please indicate the desired level of participation i.e. the national or region/state level. Also, please include which states are of interest to ensure assignment to the appropriate Working Group.


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