In March 2020, the Olson Group, Ltd. (OGL) was contracted by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) to write seven regional plans and a state-level plan as part of the Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack (CCTA) grant program, a federal initiative to help states and localities prepare for the threat of terrorist attacks.
Throughout the 14 months of performance, OGL successfully brought together state and local stakeholders throughout Virginia to address and refine CCTA planning efforts.
Mindful of the differences among various VDEM regions and the intricacies of working with rural and urban communities, OGL successfully designed and conducted virtual workshops in each area and guided participants through scenario-based discussions to identify planning needs and gaps strengths relevant to CCTA planning efforts. OGL personnel custom-tailored all workshop scenarios to reflect the specific threats and hazards faced by each VDEM region. All workshops were designed and conducted using the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) guidelines.
Participation in the regional workshops involved nearly 300 representatives from all levels of government as well as personnel from the private and education sectors. More than 100 localities were represented across the Commonwealth.
Following the workshops, OGL helped establish multi-disciplinary workgroups in each region, consisting of representatives from local law enforcement, emergency management, fire and EMS, public health and hospitals, and VDEM regional staff, the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Fusion Center, and others. Leveraging the knowledge and experience of workgroup members, combined with data collected from the regional workshops and gap analyses, OGL drafted CCTA plans for each VDEM region, focusing mainly on operational coordination and intelligence and information sharing.
Along with the seven regional plans, OGL concurrently developed a State CCTA Plan to serve as an annex to the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan (COVEOP). With the planning phase now complete, OGL has been selected by VDEM to carry the program forward and deliver a comprehensive statewide CCTA exercise program, expected to begin in late 2021.