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The National Standard Exercise Curriculum (NSEC)

The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) is a capabilities-based exercise program that includes a cycle, mix, and range of exercise activities of varying degrees of complexity and interaction. The purpose of HSEEP is to build self-sustaining exercise programs and provide a standardized methodology for designing, developing, conducting, and evaluating all exercises.

The National Standard Exercise Curriculum (NSEC) is a current effort to unify curricula in exercise program management, design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning across the country in support of the HSEEP. The Emergency Management Institutes’ (EMI) Comprehensive Exercise Curriculum (CEC) will be replaced by course either completed or under development under the National Standard Exercise Curriculum (NSEC).For more information relating to HSEEP, click here.

In Fiscal Year 2008, the NSEC replaced FEMA’s older Comprehensive Exercise Curriculum (CEC) to reinforce the national strategy to emphasize the principles, concepts, practices, terminology, and tools in HSEEP.  In FY2009, the NSEC will continue to develop and deploy updated training opportunities to the exercise community.  

The NSEC strategy involves providing guidance to State and local jurisdictions concerning the exercise and training curricula, workshops, and briefings.

The goals of NSEC are to:

  1. ensure consistency across all exercise training curricula in accordance with the National Incident Management System and the National Preparedness Goal
  2. shape future efforts in exercise training and course development, and
  3. provide a clear path for a student to become a beginner, intermediate, and ultimately a master exercise practitioner.

The NSEC Working Group has identified four (4) levels of training as guidance to help organizations determine appropriate courses for selected target audiences.  This recognizes that not all individuals have the need, necessity, or the resources to become expert in every facet of exercise program management or the exercise process.  It also acknowledges that participation in many exercise training programs has come from the need to be able to perform specific tasks, i.e. function as an exercise evaluator or serve as a member of an exercise planning team, etc.

These levels include the following:

Level I:  Awareness/Beginner
  *Independent Study courses currently available through EMI’s
    Independent Study Program (ISP) on the web at

Level II: Intermediate
   *Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP)
     Mobile course consisting of 7 modules
     (For information on the HSEEP mobile course, please visit the website

Level III:  Advanced
                 *Classroom-based courses currently administered by
                   State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs)
      (For more information on State training opportunities, please visit the website
Level IV:  Professional
                  *Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEPP) administered by the
                    Emergency Management Institute for MEPP Candidates Only
                     (For more information on EMI’s MEPP, please visit the website

The specific NSEC target audiences based on exercise roles and responsibilities are identified as the following:

Exercise Planning Team Leader
Exercise Program Manager
Exercise Planning Team Member
Senior Official
 For more detailed information on the National Standard Exercise Curriculum initiative, detailed explanations of the current and proposed courses, and specific functional target audiences, please visit the website

Current Exercise Training Courses

Course Prefixes:
IS - Independent Study - Online Program
G - State offered, Non-Resident
E - Residence at EMI
B - Residence at NTF


IS120 An Orientation to Community Disaster Exercises
IS 130 Exercise Evaluation and Improvement Planning
IS139 Exercise Design (Independent Study) NEW 2003
G130 Exercise Evaluation Course
G135 Exercise Control Simulation Course
G137 Exercise Program Manager/Management Course
G138 Exercise Practicum (*Non-Resident MEPP Candidates Only)
G250.8 Exercise Controller/Simulator Workshop (WEM) - Materials Download
G250.9 Exercise Evaluator Workshop (WEM) - Materials Download

Master Exercise Practitioner Program Resident Only Courses
E132 Discussion-Based Exercise Design and Evaluation (*Participation is restricted to MEP Candidates)
E133 Operations-Based Exercise Design and Evaluation  (*Participation is restricted to MEP Candidates)
E136 Operations-Based Exercise Development Course (*Participation is restricted to MEP Candidates)


Note: If you need more information on the NSEC/MEPP, contact Lowell Ezersky, MEPP Manager, email, phone 1-800-238-3358, extension 1355 or (301) 447-1355. The Emergency Management Institute is an element of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Training Division.

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