SimulationDeck Helps U.S. Army Installation Management Command Prepare For A Crisis

Soldiers from the Guam National Guard load a medical evacuation patient into a GUNG Lakota helicopter at Andersen Air Force Base on June 30.

In the past, most of the Army installation commanders would focus on physical response efforts during a crisis.

By adding SimulationDeck to the exercise program, commanders and subordinate staff members better understand the impact that the public and the information environment have on those efforts. SimulationDeck gave the training audiences a lens through which to see how their response would affect the general public, and the reputation of the U.S. Army as a whole. Because of the dynamic, robust information environment that Nusura delivered through SimulationDeck, garrison staff employees are better suited to anticipate the challenges, communication gaps and impact that their actions may have.

  • The Challenge

    Army installations, both in the United States and abroad, operate like a city. Every installation, or garrison, has emergency services personnel, security, police, departments of public works and schools. They are commanded by an Army Colonel, but most of the support staff are civilian government employees. In some cases, electrical companies and schools are managed by civilian organizations. All of these factors make for a complicated environment and require a coordinated response in the event of an emergency.

    Because of the complexity surrounding such a coordinated response, Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) needed a better way to replicate the many challenges that would occur during a catastrophic event, such as a natural disaster or active shooter. The command needed a way to create realistic training, with realistic challenges for the garrison staff.

Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) needed a better way to replicate realistic challenges that could occur during a catastrophic event.

In the past, exercise objectives were either emailed or phoned in, and usually by peers of the training audience. This took away from the realism and allowed the training audience to guess what was coming next. There was no real element of surprise and ultimately led to diminished training value for the garrison staff.

To mitigate these issues, IMCOM decided to bring in experts from outside of the Army to design, execute and evaluate the validation exercises. SimulationDeck is part of that effort by recreating the complex information environment surrounding a significant event that would require a coordinated response from the Army’s garrison staff.

  • The Approach

    Nusura worked closely with members of each garrison staff and the exercise design team to create realistic content that was specifically designed for the training audience. Each Army installation has its own set of challenges based on their physical location, tenant units and structure. For example , an Army Garrison in Germany would have to rely heavily on the relationship with local nationals for support during emergency response. They also have to be prepared to understand concerns from local nationals and must have the ability to provide bilingual messaging. By understanding the unique, inherent challenges for each installation, Nusura staff created valuable and relevant content to add realism to the exercises.

    The client used SimulationDeck in a variety of ways. First, for situational awareness because the platform was accessible to the training audience as a whole, and critical information was disseminated by using it. For instance, each morning Nusura staff would air a television newscast on SimulationDeck.

    The information in the newscast was critical for the garrison staff’s decision-making process. SimulationDeck also tested public affairs teams and the ability to accurately and quickly inform the public. The platform was a vital part of replicating public response to an event, and to the Army. By staffing a live simcell that interacted in real time with the training audience, Nusura was able to test and validate the organization’s ability to understand and respond to public concern.

  • The Results

    SimulationDeck was used in a dynamic and interactive way and really tested the standard operating procedures of the Army’s garrison staff. By providing real-time engagement, the staff was able to identify information gaps that would lead to delays when informing the public. Because of SimulationDeck, the staff could see exactly where the delays occurred and were able to refine their processes so that they were more prepared to address the public in a real-world emergency.

By providing real-time engagement, the staff was able to identify information gaps that would lead to delays when informing the public.

So far, more than twenty Army installations have used SimulationDeck for exercises. The platform has been used to train hundreds of garrison employees who are now more aware of the impact that the information environment has on a real-world disaster. Because of this, garrison personnel have refined their standard operating procedures and communication methods to create a better, more streamlined information flow.


“Fort Detrick was challenged by evaluators during a recent full-scale exercise by using SimulationDeck. This platform made the exercise realistic and allowed us to identify gaps that we needed to correct. The real-time ability to insert multiple injects on various mock platforms required us to really focus on our deliverables to ensure they were accurate and timely. Since being introduced to SimulationDeck, we have pulled even more public affairs specialists into our office and continue to stress the importance of up-to-date plans and operations that we can refer to in a real-world scenario."