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Bush School and NERRTC Conduct Disaster Response Exercise

January 16, 2009

The Bush School conducted a bioterrorism response exercise directed by the National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center (NERRTC) on November 14th.  The simulation was conducted at the newly renovated Emergency Operations Training Center (EOTC), at Brayton Fire Field. Both NERRTC and the EOTC are operated by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).

The goal is to provide an interactive and realistic environment in which to educate and train future leaders in government and public service. The students are placed in a crisis situation which this year focuses on a smallpox outbreak orchestrated by international terrorists.  Fifty-six first-year students in the Bush School’s Master’s Program in International Affairs formed teams representing the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  One group represented the state of Texas to develop an understanding of international, national, and state agencies’ roles and missions in emergency response.

The exercise provides an interactive and realistic learning laboratory where students can practice the leadership skills and knowledge gained in the classroom.  It is also designed to demonstrate the linkage of international and domestic crisis response, the nature of American federal-state relationships, and the significance of crisis management and public leadership.

The exercise reinforces classroom learning gained in the core course in leadership and international affairs, taught by Dr. Joe Cerami, director of the Bush School’s Public Service Leadership Program and Ms. Lindsey Pavelka, assistant director. The simulation was designed by Colonel Kevin Gamache (USAF, Ret.), director of the Multiprogram Research and Education Facility for the Texas Engineering Experiment Station.  Students were guided through their roles and responsibilities by experts from TEEX under the direction of Colonel Rick Comley (USAF, Ret.), director of Executive Programs.

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