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Cablegate: Lessons Learned - Crisis Management Exercises -

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




E.O. 12958: N/A


B. QUITO 0183
C. 04 GUAYAQUIL 1398
D. 04 QUITO 1933
E. 04 QUITO 0037
F. 03 QUITO 3681

1. Embassy Quito and Consulate General Guayaquil recently
participated in FSI sponsored Crisis Management Exercises.
Embassy Quito participated in the Crisis Management Overview
training on 02/28/05 and the CME on 03/01/05. Consulate
General Guayaquil participated in the Crisis Management
Overview training on 03/03/05 and the CME on 03/04/05. The
U.S. Mission to Ecuador appreciates the hands-on training
given by FSI instructor Douglas Treat.

As outlined in REFS, the Ambassador has been at the forefront
in ensuring that Embassy Quito and Consulate General
Guayaquil are ready for any eventuality. Under the
Ambassador's leadership, Post has been proactively planning
and training for disasters over the past 32-months and will
incorporate this latest training into our overall emergency
preparedness plan.

2. Responses are keyed to REFTEL A:

A. Format of the CME: What recommendations would you
make regarding the form and conduct of the exercise:
Were four hours sufficient to meet your objectives?

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Embassy Quito Response - The form and conduct of the
exercises were appropriate for these training sessions.
The exercises were inclusive and touched on the primary
points in the EAP and emergency preparedness planning.
Post believes that four hours was sufficient for the
crisis management exercise.

B. Selection of scenarios: Please comment on the
scenarios played during the exercise. Which scenarios
were most valuable? Should some be dropped? Were
there additional/other crises you would like presented?

Embassy Quito Response - Since the RSO conducted pre-
planning meetings with the FSI Instructor prior to the
exercises, the scenarios reflected the realities facing
the USG in Ecuador. They touched on political violence,
fire and natural disasters -- all events that have already
affected Post over the past few years. Post believes that
all of the scenarios were valuable and should not be
dropped. As stated above, these scenarios were built
around the events that Post has already faced, or could
face in the future, so additional crisis scenarios were
not necessary.

C. How appropriate was the kind and amount of
intervention by the controller in the exercise? What
about the controller's observations for post management
from the exercise?

Embassy Quito Response - The FSI controller gave detailed
and helpful instructions prior to the start of the
exercise -- especially to the DCM and the RSO. These
instructions helped to establish the tempo of the exercises
and allowed for maximum participation by the participants.
The controller's intervention was ideal and his
observations for post management were on the mark. Post has
already incorporated some of the controller's
observations - to include greater LES participation.

D. What would the post do differently in response to a
real crisis as a result of this training?

Embassy Quito Response - The training helped to focus
Post's Disaster Committee's roles and responsibilities.
This is especially true in dealing with contacts and
the media. Committee members have a deeper
understanding, and appreciation, for their roles in the
event of a crisis, especially a major natural disaster
that would seriously damage the infrastructure of the

E. What lessons did post take from the CME? What best
practices for crisis management emerged? What changes,
if any, have you made in your EAP procedures as a
result of the exercise? Have you formulated an action
plan to deal with issues that arose during the CME?

Embassy Quito Response - One of the most important lessons
learned was how Post would deal with a sudden influx of
TDY personnel sent to Ecuador to respond to a crisis -
especially if Post was at essential staff. Because of
this, the Disaster Committee will meet to discuss drafting
a checklist for dealing with this potentiality. This
would include additional checks of Post's communication
system, more inclusion of Embassy dependents and
additional in-house tabletop exercises. Post is currently
updating the EAP and will incorporate these lessons
learned into the new product.

F. What aspects of stand-alone CMT Overview Training
did post find useful? How could it be improved? Would
post have preferred a lengthier stand-alone session,
including an exercise more closely resembling the CME
that was presented for EAC? Does post plan any follow-
up to the fundamentals training, for LES or non-EAC

Embassy Quito Response - Post felt that the overview
training was beneficial in that it outlined crisis
management training for Embassy employees who do not
regularly participate in EAC meetings. Several
attendees stated that they now have a better under-
standing of the process and would be better able to
deal with a crisis in the future. Post believes
that the time frame was sufficient, but that the
scenarios should reflect, to the extent possible,
the scenarios addressed in the CME. As indicated above,
Post will continue to hold training sessions for all
Mission personnel. Post will report these SEPTEL.

G. Frequency of CME: We would appreciate your candid
comments on the optimal frequency of CMEs. What would
be best - maintain current schedule (once every two
years), offer more frequently (specify, for example,
once every one and one-half years), or offer less
frequently (specify). Secondly, should all posts have
an equal opportunity to have CMEs with the same
frequency or should level of threat to post guide us in
scheduling their frequency?

Embassy Quito Response - The current schedule of once
every two years is optimal as a base point. But, threat
levels should also play a role in the frequency of
exercises that a Mission holds -- even if done in-house.
A Post with a threat rating of low for crime would
have different problems when compared to a Post with
a criminal threat rating of critical. This also holds
true for the other threat levels. Embassy Quito has
been proactive in conducting in-house drills and
exercises that reflect our current threat ratings. Post
has tailored the scenarios provided by FSI into Ecuador
specific exercises. This has meant that Post is better
prepared for the myriad of potential problems facing
Ecuador and the Mission.

H. Any other comments on the CME or Crisis Management
Training offered at FSI would be appreciated.

Embassy Quito Response - Post recommends that FSI continue
to develop CME scenarios that can be used by Posts around
the world. These would incorporate lessons learned from
real life incidents and the steps that other Posts took
to respond to crisis events -- from political violence
to terrorism to natural disasters.

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