2014 CATEX FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What is the problem that CATEX 2014 is addressing?

    The Problem: Multi-state, multi-sector coordination and information sharing to resolve sector specific operational choke points during disaster response and recovery efforts. During large regional events like Sandy many issues arise: 

  • Multiple inter-dependent sectors have to coordinate with multiple states in order to respond and recover in a coordinated fashion
  • Without understanding the individual sector issues, public/private sectors cannot begin to address the information that needs to go to the correct people to address specific problems when they occur
  • Public and private sector leaders develop a huge appetite for situational awareness and trends. These information requests can place unneeded burdens on responders while they are in response mode
  • The private sector would like to develop regional processes with government that can work during both "blue sky days", "gray sky days" and "catastrophic or black sky days"
  • The public sector needs regional processes that respect individual jurisdictional processes yet allow for improved coordination
  • Many people feel that the same mistakes are made during every major event 
  • There needs to be a regional process of "operational information sharing" that develops over time and can be institutionalized in order to survive the personnel turnover from elections and retirements
  • There is a need to put regional multi-state processes in place to educate public and private stakeholders, legislators, governors, managers and executives on specific sector issues and available solutions to avoid duplication of efforts

This CATEX 2014 Workshop will provide an approach used in the electric sector during the CATEX 2013 exercise that has helped to address specific electric sector operational choke points and developed information sharing solutions that are now being used across the East Coast. This Workshop will also look to identify key information sharing choke points in the fuel and food sectors that recur repeatedly during disasters.
 

  1. What is the purpose of CATEX 2014?

    To expedite the flow of operational information for the purposes of addressing operational issues in the electric, food, and fuel sectors with state and local governments. CATEX 2014 will identify regional, multi-state operational choke points during response and recovery efforts in the food and fuel sector through the convening of Sector Focused Working Groups (SFWG) and a September 2014 regional workshop. Following the workshop, the SFWGs will convene to begin designing information sharing drills and solutions that can be tested across the region. Once these drills have been tested, they will be documented and distributed to participants for use in future drills and exercises in the public and private sector and/or adopted into the sector operations for information sharing purposes.

  2. What is the focus of the CATEX 2014 exercise series?

    The focus of CATEX 2014 will be on the electric, food and fuel sectors and how to expedite information sharing between public and private sectors to resolve private sector operational choke points with states and urban areas across a broad region of states covering the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.

  3. How is an “Sector Operational Chokepoint” defined for CATEX 2014?

    Most private sector Owners and Operators see “Operational Choke Points” as external factors "outside their fence or sphere of control" that are essentially either the responsibility of government or effected by government regulations. There can be several categories of chokepoints that impact both public and private sectors:

    1. Laws and regulations that limit the movement of goods through normal "supply chains" during emergencies.   

      Most companies have built their operations based on "blue sky" days (non-emergency conditions) while adhering to all federal, state and local requirements.    During major regional emergencies or after catastrophic events (accidents, man-made or natural), these legal and regulatory requirements  often hinder, not only key owners and operators, but all of the public sector including the general citizenry that rely on these public & private sector services and industries. The ability to address and/or waive these hindrances to allow for the quicker movement of goods and services allows for the acceleration of any recovery.

    2. Public & private sector’s ability to share critical and sometimes sensitive operational information with each other for the purpose of accelerating response and recovery activities

      Although significant progress has been made in sharing Intel and threat information to the various sectors through a network of State Fusion Centers, there remains a major challenge in sharing critical operational and recovery status information to key life-line sector owners/operators and businesses during major disasters or regional catastrophic events. Government’s ability to improve “near real time” information sharing is essential in accelerating local and regional recovery for both the public and private sector.

For CATEX 2014, the Food & Fuel Sector Working Groups have focused on the regional information sharing chokepoints that have been outline by sector in the graphic below.

ELECTRIC SECTOR:

FUEL SECTOR

FOOD SECTOR

  1. What are some more specific examples of sector operational choke points?

    Based on many discussions with sector representatives in the SFWGs, here are some examples:

  • In the food sector, inbound milk trucks were delayed at regional weigh stations because they were overweight in other states. They were turned around and sent back because weigh station operators needed to open the tanker to inspect the contents; this would break the seal of the tanker and violate other regulations. So the trucks were sent home.
  • In the electric sector, inbound utility fleets came from around the country and Canada to support NJ & NYC areas. These fleets were delayed along the way in multiple states at toll stations and weigh station’s due to normal procedures in those states at that time. The states they were passing through were not aware of the regional situation and there was no process in place to expedite these utility fleets through their state so that they could arrive at the impacted states faster.
  • In the fuel sector, many choke points focused around expediting waivers that impacted fuel transport for gasoline and diesel fuel. Once these waivers were issued, getting that information out and across the region to potential inbound fleets was a challenge. Inbound resources also need the situational awareness on the ground in the impacted state(s) in order to plan their response efforts more effectively.
  1. Is the focus of this workshop on the scenario or on the post landfall choke points?

    The focus of this workshop is not on the scenario.

    The SFWGs have used Sandy as their scenario for discussions. At the workshop they will focus on discussing their preparation plans 24 hours before landfall and regional response efforts & chokepoints 24 hours after landfall.

  1. What scenario is being used for the CATEX 2014 workshop?

    As stated earlier, Super-Storm Sandy has been used as the scenario used for CATEX 2014. The actual storm name will be "Jack".


  1. Will there be a demonstration of expedited information sharing at the CATEX 2014 workshop?

    Yes. The electric sector will demonstrate some information sharing solutions/drills that they developed in CATEX 2013 to expedite the movement of utility fleets across multiple states and the Canadian border.


  1. How are these drills developed?

    Once a sector chokepoint is identified, the SFWGs will work with state and local government operations officials to explore how best to expedite information flow to the right people to improve/resolve these issues. A process is developed and documented using scripted emails, tabletop exercises and/or conference calls designed to bring public and private participants together to understand the issue, meet the stakeholders, agree to the use of the information and conduct the drill.


  1. Why is information sharing the focus of the CATEX 2014 exercise?

    Expediting the flow of information is a simple, achievable objective that the states and private sector have agreed upon within the all hazards Consortium. Not all issues can be solved by information sharing alone, however many issues are expedited And can be resolved by getting the right information to the right people from an operational perspective. Expediting information flow is a key objective for the CATEX annual exercise series.


  1. Is CATEX a full-scale exercise?

    No. CATEX is a light weight series of tabletop exercises focused on identifying ways to expedite information sharing between private and public sectors in order to get business back to business faster following a disaster.


  1. What kind of drills does CATEX Use?

    CATEX drills are typically email based and/or conference call based. Most prefer email. Since information sharing is the main focus for CATEX 2014, both public and private sector operations professionals have agreed to these two formats to conduct CATEX information sharing drills. 


  1. Will participants have to mobilize equipment, people, and assets to participate in CATEX 2014?

    No. CATEX 2014 is only focus on information sharing to expedite Restoration efforts on operational matters in the private and public sectors.


  1. Does CATEX follow HSEEP (Homeland security exercise and evaluation program) exercise guidelines?

    Partially.

    The overall exercise process used is a hybrid of the HSEEP process used by state/federal government agencies and their contractors. Based on CATEX 2013, to sustain the private sector’s operational leadership involvement, the HSEEP process required a simpler and “operations” focused approach.

    The participating states agreed to utilize an “HSEEP-Lite” process that contained the major elements of the HSEEP process but be adapted to quickly identify gaps, discuss solutions, and test these solutions during planning meetings or tabletop exercise. The outcomes from the new process produce an overall findings report along with validated sector chokepoints, essential elements of information to the shred, a listing of the current processes and organization involved, and operational drills and solutions that can be immediately tested and in some cases operationalized within 3 to 6 months.


  1. Why is the private sector interested in CATEX?

    CATEX helps to expedite their operational response and recovery efforts. In the electric sector example, this can help restore power faster to communities, states, cities and businesses. This also reduces wasted time and money. If a large storm costs $1 to $2million/hour, saving 10 hours can have a direct finical impact on cost of response efforts as well.


  1. Will “drills” be conducted at CATEX 2014 meeting in September?

    No. No drills will be conducted at the workshop. Drills will be conducted later in the year. The workshop will be used as a way to identify information needed to design the drills.


  1. What are the work products of CATEX 2014?

    The workshop will produce a summary report that will outline the participants and information discussed along with recommendations. It will also outline the objectives of the workshop along with outcomes that were achieved based on those objectives. Additionally the workshop will produce validated operational choke points for the electric, food and fuel sectors along with essential elements of information needed to address these choke points and the current or recommended processes in which to distribute this information on a multistate regional basis to the appropriate operations personnel/organizations involved.


  1. Who are the participants in CATEX 2014?

    This workshop will attract participants from both public and private sectors including state and local government, federal government, and private-sector operations professional from the food, fuel, and electric sectors. Other agencies and companies are also welcome to attend the workshop. Expected attendees will be less than 100. A listing of participating agencies will be made available prior to the workshop.

  • The RCPT NY-NJ-CT-PA Team
  • The National Capital Regional (NCR) RCPT Team
  • The All Hazards Consortium (AHC)
  • The Multi-State Fleet Response Working Group
  • Private Sector:
    • Bank of America, AEP, ARCOS, PHI Holdings Inc., Verizon Operations, Southeastern Electric Exchange/Mutual Aid Group, Georgia Power/Southern Company, Florida Power & Light, Wakefern Foods, PBF Energy, ConEd, First Energy, PECO, PSE&G, JCP&L, North Atlantic Mutual Aid Group, Edison Electric Exchange, NJ Food Council, C&S Foods, American Bakers Association, Wakefern Foods, NJ Food Council, Five Guys, WAWA, SYSCO Foods, Texas Oil and Gas Association, WV Oil Marketers & Grocers Asso., British Petroleum, Sunoco, Buckeye, American Petroleum Institute
  • Public Sector
    • State Emergency Mgmt., Police & Transportation Agencies in NJ, PA, NYC, DC, WV,VA, NC
    • Regional UASIs NJ, NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, National Capital Region
    • DHS-Infrastructure Protection, DHS Science & Technology, FEMA, US-DOE, US-DOT, the White House

  1. What are sector focused working groups being used for CATEX 2014?

    The Sector Focused Working Groups (SFWG) are a small group of private sector operations people in a specific sector who come together virtually from around the region/country to identity sector operational issues/chokepoints that can be addressed with better information sharing processes. States serve as advisors to these SFWGs. More information is provided on the CATEX webpage.


  1. What will happen after the CATEX 2014 workshop?

    Following the workshop, the SFWGs will reconvene via conference calls to begin designing the drills that will be used in the future. These drills will be information sharing based, and identify the essential elements of information and the operational participants that need to be involved in the drills in order to expedite power, fuel, and food supply chain issues identified by sector representatives.

    Once the drills are designed, they will be exercised and tested. Upon completion of a successful test, these drills will be documented and made available to public or private organizations.

Where can I go to learn more about CATEX 2014?

Online resources have been produced to help educate stakeholders to CATEX 2014

Video: Origin of the CATEX Annual Exercise Series for Expedited Power / Supply Chain Restoration

Webpage: The CATEX 2014 Information Webpage 

Registration Link to September 4, 2014 Workshop:

http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=zbu8kubab&oeidk=a07e9jjhv5t3e597b1d