Accomplish a Northern US multi-state Critical Infrastructure exercise with participants from Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska in September of 2010.  The exercise will have three primary goals; 1) better understand the threat and potential impact of terrorism, whether domestic or international, 2) identify gaps and opportunities in information-sharing and emergency response, and 3) identify long-term opportunities to reduce vulnerability, coordinate response, collaborate on preparedness and maximize limited resources. 


The scenario focused on terrorism and the impacts to and protection of critical infrastructure.  Design efforts included a plausible event given the current and ongoing assessment of terrorism threat in the United States.  The event was designed to involve threat factors that are occurring today and to explore likely escalation and high levels of uncertainty without simply creating a catastrophic scenario in which participants would have very few response choices.                                                             


 The expert panelists and audience participants included critical infrastructure, non-governmental organization, academic institutions and government representatives responsible for crisis response preparedness and resilience, key experts in homeland security and critical infrastructure and students in areas of security, government policy, emergency response and other fields.  Format involved the use of news videos to prompt the scenario conditions, followed by a facilitated. 


The Northern States in the scope of this exercise include North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

The state capitals include Bismarck, Pierre, Saint Paul, Des Moines, and Lincoln. Other populous cities include Minneapolis, Fargo, Sioux Falls, and Omaha.
Interstate 29 runs from north to south through eastern North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, and western Iowa. Further east, Interstate 35 runs from north to south through Minnesota and Iowa.

Interstate 94 runs from west to east through North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. A northern cross-country route, Interstate 90, runs from west to east through South Dakota and southern Minnesota. A central cross-country route, Interstate 80, runs from west to east through Nebraska and Iowa.

The exercise was structured similar to a Tabletop Exercise and included educational elements as part of the scenario construct and facilitation. The interactive format included elements of non-scripted dialogue and discussion and was recorded for later web delivery and/or broadcast.  Additionally, polling technology was used to capture and aggregate inputs of exercise participants not on the panel, as this approach begets information that might not otherwise be comfortably shared. Poll responses to injects and queries were captured real-time, electronically, and allowed efficient and measurable participation, as well as additional analysis of the results.