Homeland Defense: U.S. Northern Command Has a Strong Exercise Program, But Involvement of Interagency Partners and States Can Be Improved, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 1MB]

"U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) exercises to test preparedness to perform its homeland defense and civil support missions. GAO was asked to assess the extent to which NORTHCOM is consistent with Department of Defense (DOD) training and exercise requirements, involving interagency partners and states in its exercises, using lessons learned and corrective actions to improve preparedness, and integrating its exercises with the National Exercise Program (NEP). To do this, GAO reviewed NORTHCOM and NEP guidance and postexercise documentation, assessed NORTHCOM compliance, and compared DOD and NEP exercise requirements. GAO is making recommendations to DOD to direct NORTHCOM to consistently involve the states in planning, executing, and assessing exercises and improve oversight of corrective actions. GAO is also recommending that DOD define when NORTHCOM should use NEP planning and documentation requirements. DOD agreed or partially agreed with the recommendations and cited ongoing and future efforts to satisfy the recommendations' intent. DOD did not fully address a recommendation on training to NORTHCOM staff on specific state emergency management structures. GAO believes such training would benefit NORTHCOM personnel in advance of a crisis and for exercise planning."

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