Simulation-based training of CBRN decision making


Johan Jenvald,Magnus Morin,Lars Rejnus


A major problem in the management of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats is that it requires an integration of information from a variety of sources, both horizontally across multiple agencies and jurisdictions and vertically between organizational levels. The increasing coupling of information systems in networks makes this task even more demanding. Decision makers must learn to assess emerging dynamic situations from the information available to coordinate effective response. A key issue is the balance between acquiring more information and acting on the information available about an incident. To this end, we address the important issue of how to train CBRN decision makers in their roles and support systems.

Training is a cornerstone in preparing decision makers for CBRN incident management. This paper characterizes three main simulation-based approaches to training. Live simulation allows responders and decision makers to participate in a realistic exercise using actual equipment and procedures in the real environment. Virtual simulation enables key operators to interact in a simulated environment using computer models of real equipment. Constructive simulation uses computer models to represent both a complex environment and a large number of actors to train high-level decision makers in coordination and cooperation among agencies. We examine the merits of each approach for training CBRN decision making and discuss suitable ways of combining them. To illustrate our argument, we use an application example from the Swedish CBRN decision and training demonstrator.