Decide to Exercise

Success is a choice. It's a choice to imagine the operational need. It's a choice to make procedures to address the need. It's a choice to train. A choice to test. A choice to conduct the operation before lives depend on results. Success is a choice to exercise.

Using field expedient communication systems like HF radio and partnering with other agencies, organizations, and individual volunteers are elements of any viable disaster scene communication plan. A weekly test of gear and exchange of callsigns won't prepare operators for the tasks they'll need to do. A weekly test won't prepare your communications unit to support operations and logistics.

Many have heard that the power grid and Internet are designed to withstand nuclear war and assume that large-scale outages simply "don't happen." That assumption is being challenged in research, and is undermined by recent experiences.

  • February 2021: Ice storm downs lines and interrupts power and communication, triggering cascading failures. Texas grid gets to under five minutes from failure.

  • December 2020: VBIED detonates in Nashville near AT&T transmission building impacting communication in TN, KY, IN, AL, GA, IL, and MO. Law enforcement, including FirstNet, communications out of service for a full day. Outages range from inconvenient to catastrophic. Generators keep systems operating after explosion but fuel runs out before they could be serviced.

  • September 2017: Category 4 hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico, interrupting power and communication for months. "Plans also did not [...] anticipate [...] government officials [...] unable to meet their responsibilities to manage operational or resource requirements due to a lack of communications [...]" (FEMA 2017 Hurricane Season AAR)

  • June 2012: Ohio Valley / Mid-Atlantic Derecho kills 22 people, damages infrastructure, interrupts power for five million people, some for a week. Widespread communication disruptions including landlines, cell service, and even 911 facility-some for days.

BLACK SWAN is an opportunity to test plans and operations, and to see where training and planning improvements need to be made. BLACK SWAN 22 will be held in the autumn of 2022.

This is your opportunity to influence which scenarios will be played out and which capabilities will be tested. Register now—whether you are ready to commit or just want to know more.