CAPSTONE-14 now underway... Print E-mail

A topic of discussion since 2011, planning for CAPSTONE-14 is underway.   In conjunction with the Kentucky’s Governors Emergency Management Workshop, key participants of this initiative convened in Louisville, Kentucky on December 10-13, 2012. In this meeting, discussions surrounded the regional coordination of various support functions within emergency management operations that are critical to response and recovery in the event of a major earthquake.

One area of focus is receiving special interest from CUSEC Board Member and Kentucky’s Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) Director, Brigadier General John Heltzel.

“Advancing the national dialogue, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “We need to try to solve the problems of situational awareness among emergency management by putting out a good national model,” he added.

CAPSTONE-14, tentatively scheduled for June 16-20, 2014, is considered a full-scale exercise with various levels of play by each participating state. It is in direct support of the Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD8), with key participation from: CUSEC Member States, CUSEC Associate Member States, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regions IV, V, VI and VII, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), various federal agencies’ Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) and the private sector. Players in this five day exercise intend to test the following areas:

    Situational Awareness

    Alert Notification



    Medical Surge and Evacuation

    Mass Care


    Recovery TTX

    Although not called by this name at the time, CAPSTONE-14 planning actually began right after the National Level Exercise of 2011 (also known as NLE-11); and was given its official name by FEMA Administrator, Craig Fugate while in a meeting with the CUSEC Board of Directors. According to CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson, the inspiration behind this event is simple. 

    “CUSEC leadership believes in the planning process,” he said. “As a result of the New Madrid Catastrophic Planning Effort and the follow on NLE-11, —which tested multi-state post-earthquake emergency disaster plans— it was discovered that there were additional planning elements which need to be addressed along with some corrective actions,” he added.

    With this in mind, the CAPSTONE-14 planning effort includes mitigation, preparedness, recovery and response activities. One main goal of CAPSTONE is to support plans to inspect buildings, and to promote code adoption to enhance seismic safety and community resilience. To help advance this goal, exercise participants formed the Building Inspection and Resources Deployment working group. Under the direction of the CUSEC Board of Directors, the CUSEC Member States will address the issue that there is currently no standardized use and deployment of trained individuals in the area of pre/post disaster building inventory and safety inspections following a multi-jurisdictional disaster.

    Even though CAPSTONE-14 primarily focuses on the CUSEC Member States, and CUSEC Associate Member States, other earthquake prone areas across the country will work to increase their capacities in multi-state coordination and support. Right now, nearly 30 events are scheduled prior to the exercise. A list of these working group meetings, workshops and other training opportunities are located at