Center for Emergency Management Operations

CNA’s Center for Emergency Management Operations supports the development and implementation of a full range of prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery programs for federal, state and local government agencies.


To continually enhance the practice of emergency management at all levels of government, nationwide, using our real-world disaster experience coupled with advanced research and analytical techniques.


Planning (emergency operations plans, continuity of operations, recovery)— Providing comprehensive emergency planning services is a core capability of the center. We have experience developing the full range of emergency plans for large and small jurisdictions nationwide. We are a leader and innovator in planning support, developing tools and methodologies that help jurisdictions better understand and quantify their capability needs, assess their gaps, and then plan regionally to fill them. Emergency managers must ensure that they can maintain critical functions during a wide range of incidents and events. Center staff help jurisdictions ensure that plans, procedures, facilities, equipment, personnel and data are available during these critical responses — so citizens can depend on emergency managers to be there when needed most.

Exercises and games (planning, developing, conducting, evaluating)— CNA has designed, developed and delivered preparedness exercises for federal, state and local clients since the founding of the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) in 2002. We have designed, developed, conducted and evaluated over 400 exercises using the full spectrum of man-made and natural hazard scenarios. In addition to our proven success in developing and delivering HSEEP-compliant exercises, CNA is a national leader in researching, developing and executing games that enhance organizational decision-making. Our staff have developed games and conducted studies on topics ranging from force structure and planning to the operational deployment of medical response forces. We have developed additional games focused on food security, climate change challenges and cybersecurity.

Real-world incident analysis—Since 2003, center staff have conducted independent reviews and after-action analyses of more than 50 real-world incidents for local, state and federal agencies across the country. Using the data collection and analysis methods best suited to the incident, our multidisciplinary teams of experts have reviewed shootings and other law enforcement incidents, special events and protests, transportation accidents, chemical and cybersecurity incidents, natural disasters, severe weather events, and public health emergencies. See CNA’s Center for Incident Analysis for more information.

Policy and program analysis—In support of emergency management organizations at the federal, state and local levels, CNA has conducted hundreds of operational analyses, lifecycle cost analyses, program and data assessments, acquisitions and investment planning analyses, alternatives analyses, meta-analyses, trade-off analyses, cost-benefit analyses, portfolio analyses, and capabilities and readiness assessments. Our experience provides us with a deep understanding of emergency management missions, policies, programs and operations. Our staff includes former FEMA senior executives who developed and implemented emergency management policies nationwide.

Program and performance assessment—CNA’s Center for Emergency Management Operations helps clients objectively evaluate their emergency management programs and assess the outcomes their programs achieve. Typical activities include working with organizations to develop a logical framework for program assessment, developing performance measures and metrics, evaluating metrics, and collaboratively developing recommendations for improving performance.

After-action reporting/evaluation—For the last 20 years, stakeholders across the emergency management enterprise have called on CNA to help identify best practices, gaps, and areas for improvement in their responses, and to support a cycle of continuous improvement. Center staff employ a scalable approach to conducting after-action evaluation and reporting, tailored to the complexity of the incident or event, the resources and time available to conduct the review, and stakeholders’ desired outcomes.

Cybersecurity response and recovery—At CNA, cybersecurity is more than trying to protect your networks and data. Given that cyberattacks are a growing reality across the United States, center staff are committed to ensuring that jurisdictions can respond appropriately if the worst should happen. Leaning on our expertise in emergency management, we help jurisdictions better prepare to mitigate the worst effects of an attack, communicate in a compromised environment, and perform their most critical functions despite the numerous challenges associated with network and data loss.

Supply chain assessment and modeling—Since 2015, CNA has pioneered the analysis of regional food, fuel and water networks and the analysis of the supply chains of other lifeline commodities to support emergency management planning and operations. Our work in these areas has been featured in presentations at the Big City Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association conferences. CNA provided subject matter expertise to assist in the development of FEMA’s April 2019 Supply Chain Resilience Guide, which provides emergency managers with recommendations and best practices for analyzing local supply chains and working with the private sector to enhance supply chain resilience using a five phase approach.

Fusion center operations and integration—As fusion centers have matured, their processes for receiving, analyzing, disseminating and gathering intelligence and information have also matured. Center staff have been part of this process, developing and conducting exercises that promote and advance information sharing across the homeland security enterprise. Moving forward, center staff have developed processes to assist fusion centers and jurisdictions to better integrate real-time, targeted information sharing into the response to real-world incidents and events.

Enterprise system engineering and program management—CNA’s Center for Emergency Management Operations has supported almost all aspects of FEMA’s Grants Management Modernization program since the program’s inception. Key areas of support have included analyzing baseline grants management systems and operations, developing program acquisition products, planning and executing stakeholder communications, documenting and analyzing business processes, and developing system requirements.

Training—Center staff have deep experience developing, enhancing and delivering a broad range of emergency management training. We employ a proven training development methodology based on instructional design principles. We have supported a wide range of local, state and federal training and exercise programs Through this work, we bring knowledge of other states’ model polices and training procedures. We have also helped jurisdictions benchmark their practices against national standards, as well as against the practices of similar jurisdictions.

Recent Reports

Food Chain Reaction—A Global Food Security Game

CNA, incollaboration with sponsors, designed and conducted a policy decision-making exercise with 65 international thought leaders to better understand the global impacts of and responses to deepening global food system disruptions.