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Cablegate: Mission Vietnam Conducts Ai Tabletop Exercise

VZCZCXRO4294
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB
DE RUEHHI #1598/01 1800639
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290639Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2559
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 1427
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2945
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5534
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0935
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0687
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0244
RUEHRO/USMISSION UN ROME
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 1384
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//USDP/ISA/AP//
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC//J2/J3/J5//
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC//DHO-3//
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J00/J2/J3/J5//
RHEFAFM/DIRAFMIC FT DETRICK MD//MA-1A//

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001598

SIPDIS

STATE FOR G, CA/OCS/ACS/EAP, EAP/EX, EAP/MLS, EAP/EP, INR, OES/STC
(PBATES), OES/IHA (DSINGER AND NCOMELLA), AND MED
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE AND GH (DCARROLL, SCLEMENTS AND
PCHAPLIN)
STATE PASS TO USTR (EBRYAN)
STATE PASS TO HHS/OGHA (WSTIEGER, EELVANDER AND ABHAT)
USDA PASS TO APHIS
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP (LSTERN)
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC, USAID (MFRIEDMAN, JMACARTHUR AND MBRADY)
ROME FOR FAO

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU AMED AMGT CASC EAGR PINR SOCI VM
SUBJECT: MISSION VIETNAM CONDUCTS AI TABLETOP EXERCISE

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HANOI 00001598 001.2 OF 002


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

REF: HANOI 727

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. On June 7, selected members of the Mission Avian
Influenza Working Group (AIWG) in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
participated in a table top exercise responding to an avian
influenza pandemic scenario. The exercise, which was conducted via
digital video conference, was designed specifically to identify gaps
in the Mission's tripwires and plans for ordered departure or
sheltering in place. The exercise was viewed by participants as a
valuable preparedness tool and something to be repeated within the
next six months. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On June 7, selected members of the Mission Avian Influenza
Working Group (AIWG) in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City participated in a
table top exercise responding to an avian influenza pandemic
scenario. The meeting was chaired by the DCM and included section
heads and representatives from CONS, MED, MGT, RSO, GSO, PAO, DAO,
JPAC and HHS. The AIWG members in HCMC were led by the DPO and
included staff of CONS, MED, RSO, MGT, IPO, PAS, ECON and POL. The
MEDOff and Health Attach designed the tabletop scenario. The
Health Attach served as facilitator and observers and note-takers
in both Hanoi and HCMC were assigned.

3. (SBU) The exercise, which was conducted via digital video
conference (DVG), was designed specifically to identify gaps in the
Mission's tripwires (reftel) and plans for ordered departure or
sheltering in place. The scenario, which involved an outbreak that
became increasingly more complex, played out over a seven-day
period. What began as human-to-human clusters in Indonesia and
Thailand became 15-20 confirmed cases in HCMC, while in Hanoi,
Embassy families became sick after exposure to a child who had
exposed others at school. With phone calls from concerned AmCits
flooding the CONS Section, shelter in place ordered by the Chief of
Mission and disorder on the streets as hospital, pharmacies and
public services shut down, the teams in Hanoi and HCMC discussed how
each section would respond and identified gaps that would require
further investigation following the exercise.

4. (SBU) The AIWG identified several issues that require further
investigation, including: Tamiflu prophylaxis protocol (i.e. who
receives it, how it is administered) and hand washing/N95 facemask
training for guard force; relocating the CONS section and how to
handle remotely; the value of screening visitors and staff entering
facilities when people may be asymptomatic carriers; the need to
revisit the drawdown list of "essential staff" as the consular,
medical care and reporting needs, from a human resource perspective,
did not seem to match the levels of the minimal staffing list; when
HCMC staff will congregate-in-place versus segregate-in-place;
status of evacuated JPAC facility and possible need for an MOU;
consider how to better incorporate Locally Employed Staff in both
exercises and real scenarios (i.e. develop mechanism for operation);
how untrained staff handle, store and possibly bury deceased; how to
organize memorial services for staff when a segregated
shelter-in-place has been ordered; liability for volunteers
supporting the MED unit (i.e. good Samaritans); how the Mission fits
within the Government of Vietnam's (GVN) response plans (e.g.,
ensuring mobile staff can move freely during curfews); and
developing a "skills bank" list for all staff, especially newcomers
(e.g., first aid and social work/therapy skills).


HANOI 00001598 002.2 OF 002


5. (SBU) The exercise was viewed by most participants as a valuable
preparedness tool and something to be repeated within the next six
months. (NOTE: Both HCMC and Hanoi are currently experiencing
increased occurrences of human influenza; the flu season in Vietnam
is May-August. END NOTE). The ESTHOff noted four observations at
the conclusion of the exercise:
-- the DVG tabletop exercise "played out" well, with all staff
participating, groups coming to consensus easily and no debilitating
technical problems;
-- staffing needs during a full pandemic scenario do not match the
reduced and minimized staffing levels as per the tripwires,
especially if key personnel become sick;
-- communications systems, especially for mobile units and offsite
MED and CONS sections should be further considered in the event of a
rapid decline of public service availability;
-- morale in a tripwire five scenario should be addressed,
especially for staff working overtime, under extreme hardship and
distracted by the health of their families and loved ones.

Marine

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