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Teaching critical infrastructure protection and resilience using exercises and WebEOC: An examination of UAE undergraduate students’ after-action reports

Publication Type : Journal Article

Source : International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 2022

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Keywords : Critical infrastructure protection and resilience (CIPR), Critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR), Training, Testing and exercises, United Arab Emirates, UAE resilience, Homeland security exercise evaluation program (HSEEP), After action report (AAR), WebEOC, Emergency management undergraduate education, Infrastructure resilience, Program validation

Campus : Amritapuri

School : School for Sustainable Futures

Year : 2021

Abstract : Resilience for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was part of His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the nation's founder, vision for the UAE when it was formed in 1971. Consequently, national, and local (Emirate) level governments adopt established standards and regulations and work with institutions that integrate robust training, testing, and exercises, to enhance their response capabilities in protecting Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR). Rabdan Academy (RA) is an academic institution established in 2015 to train the next generation of Emiratis in safety, security, defense, emergency, and crisis management (SSDEC) disciplines. Most RA students are employed and sponsored by local and national level agencies that contribute to Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience (CIPR) efforts in the UAE. This paper aims at providing the reader with a brief overview of UAE's CIPR policies and efforts, followed by an examination of how RA faculty have integrated the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) methods and CIPR concepts into various undergraduate level courses to enhance practical learning. Specifically, it details the creation and implementation of a simulated operational exercise using WebEOC a crisis management software (CMS). It demonstrates the advantages and limitations for student learning through role-playing in a virtual emergency operations center (EOC) exercise. Sixty-five after action reports (AARs) submitted by students are examined and highlight that most of the students felt the scenario(s), the injects, and the WebEOC platform, added realism and provided an authentic learning environment, communicating between players was easy, and this was a good preparation for their careers. Limitations included information communications technology (ICT) issues, and a sense of isolation from peers due to COVID-19 enforced distance learning. The article concludes with future directions for research and the implications of using such tools for teaching CIPR, business continuity management, emergency management, and homeland security management. Suggestions are made to create communities of practice with the help of the alumni network, to practice innovative technologies and exercise and evaluation skills.

Cite this Research Publication : DelGrosso, B. & Arlikatti, S. "Teaching critical infrastructure protection and resilience using exercises and WebEOC: An examination of UAE undergraduate students’ after-action reports", International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 2022

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