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Cablegate: Lessons Learned - Manama Crisis Management Exercise

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS MANAMA 000386

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DIR FSINFATC, FSI/LMS/CMT, S/ES-O/CMS, NEA/EX,
DS/IP/NEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR AFSI ASEC BA CASC KESS OTRA
SUBJECT: LESSONS LEARNED - MANAMA CRISIS MANAGEMENT EXERCISE

REF: FSINFATC 00912

1. Post benefited from the Crisis Management Exercise (CME)
by applying the skills and experience of the Emergency Action
Committee (EAC) and participants (LES and non-EAC members)
with the Emergency Action Plan and Emergency Planning
Handbook to manage the scenario. Ruth Abramson and Lawrence
Petroni presented a valuable training evolution for Embassy
Manama. The following responses are keyed to reftel.

A. Format of the CME: Post recommends changing the CME from
the no-fault format to assigning a mission capable or
not-mission capable rating. Embassy employees live and work
in a dangerous world beset by terrorism, civil unrest and
crime. At the end of a CME the facilitators should determine
that a standard of knowledge and competence has been
demonstrated by the post. This may require a technical person
be added to the two-person team to inspect equipment, observe
drills and review plans. Four hours is satisfactory for the
exercise in its present form.

B. Selection of Scenarios: The scenario was well developed.
Ruth Abramson did an excellent job of coordinating with post
to create a well thought out civil unrest, anthrax and soft
target bombing exercise. The scenario of most concern for the
EAC is an attack on a housing compound or apartment complex.
The exercise provided a timely opportunity to test our
personnel and plans.

C. Appropriateness of intervention by the controller: The
controller established guidelines and set the tone for the
scenario. The A/DCM led the 30 plus participants through the
CME on pace, included all sections in discussions and
delegated action/responsibility. The controller responded
promptly to questions and explained situations well.

D. What would post do differently in response to a real
crisis as a result of this training? More effectively plan
shift schedules for personnel to reduce exhaustion and
stress, include U.S. Navy personnel earlier in the crisis and
consider requesting FEST, SST and Consular assets from
Washington.

E. What lessons did post take away from the CME? Security for
the Bahrain School (30/750 students are from the Embassy) is
managed by the U.S. Navy. Post also has two dependent
children at the St. Christopher School. Post will obtain
copies of emergency procedures from both schools to share
with parents. Post will widen the distribution of
responsibilities for Emergency Action Functions (section 121)
to include all agencies represented at the Embassy. What best
practices for crisis management emerged? Post prepared well
for Operation Iraqi Freedom last year acquiring sufficient
quantities of medical supplies and chem-bio equipment and
conducting frequent drills. Embassy Manama requested and was
granted authorized departure status in February 2003. Long
before going on authorized departure status, all personnel
had gone through a series of dry run training evolutions to
assemble individual evacuation paperwork, create evacuation
orders, discuss State regulations and complete applications
for allowances. This level of readiness prepared the Embassy
well for a variety of emergency situations. Have you
formulated an action plan to deal with issues that arose
during the CME? The A/DCM assigned section heads to address
the issues noted above and report their findings to the EAC.

F. What aspects of the stand-alone CMT Overview Training did
post find useful? The stand-alone CMT Overview Training was
deferred at the Charge's request to conduct a CME
seminar/question and answer session for the abundant first
tour and junior officers at post. The CME team reviewed the
USG assets available to posts and answered questions. The
junior officers unanimously requested the DS Anti-terrorism
(crash and bang) course as a prerequisite for overseas
assignment. Post will institute an in-house CME twice a year
for the EAC and staff. The CME will familiarize personnel
with the EAP and EPH, update assignments and contact
information, allow post to acquire equipment for emergencies
and develop bench strength.

G. Frequency of CME: Every two years is appropriate. Posts
with the highest threat levels should exercise annually.

H. Comments: Preparing for the CME was a benefit. RSO
conducted a CME overview for all employees and held a
compressed table top exercise to get people in a CME state of
mind. Post recommends USG personnel assigned overseas attend
the two-day CME leadership workshop once every five years.
FSI should create a best practices site on the web page based
on controller observations from previous exercises. The web
site is very good and has useful information.
FORD

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