A tabletop exercise (TTX) is a guided discussion of a scenario—a time-compressed sequence of events—that facilitates group problem solving. TTXs are particularly advantageous to governmental and nongovernmental organizations, as well as private businesses because they permit participants to practice response to high-consequence/low-frequency problems. Based on results from a TTX, organizations can develop new plans, or enhance existing plans, for how they will meet the challenges of catastrophic events such as floods and fires, disease outbreaks, sabotage of facilities, and others. Public agencies and private sector entities alike have to ensure business and service continuity, as well as protecting the safety and security of employees, during times of duress, and thus all can benefit from testing their preparedness and response plans using TTXs. Given their utility in illuminating anticipated performance, expectations, and assumptions, TTXs can be also useful in many other situations that would benefit from enhancing teamwork and multi-agency collaboration while assessing the content of plans and policies. Following successful completion of this workshop, students will be able to plan, execute, and evaluate a TTX, as well as make appropriate decisions regarding when and where it is an applicable tool for planning and response purposes.

Middlebury Institute, CA