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Organized activities designed to test the ability to execute business continuity plans and evaluate individual or organization performance against approved standards or objectives. Exercises can be announced or unannounced and are performed for the purpose of training and conditioning team members and validating continuity plans. Exercise results identify plan gaps and limitations and are used to improve and revise the continuity plans. Types include table top exercises, simulations, operational exercises, mock disasters, desktop exercises, and full rehearsals.

An exercise is a scripted, scenario-based instrument to assess, evaluate and improve performance in prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery capabilities in a risk-free environment. Exercises can be used for testing and validating policies, plans, procedures, training, equipment, and interagency agreements; clarifying and training personnel in roles and responsibilities; improving interagency coordination and communications; improving individual performance; identifying gaps in resources; and identifying opportunities for improvement. An exercise can be discussion-based (examples include seminars, workshops, tabletop exercise, and games), or operations-based.

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