Phase 4: After Action Report and Improvement Planning

After Action Report/Improvement Plan

An After Action Report/Improvement Plan (AAR/IP) is used to provide feedback to participating entities on their performance during the exercise. The AAR/IP summarizes exercise events and analyzes performance of the tasks identified as important during the planning process. It also evaluates achievement of the selected exercise objectives and demonstration of the overall capabilities being validated. The IP portion of the AAR/IP includes corrective actions for improvement, along with timelines for their implementation and assignment to responsible parties.

To prepare the AAR/IP, exercise evaluators analyze data collected from the hot wash, debrief, Participant Feedback Forms, EEGs, and other sources (e.g., plans, procedures) and compare actual results with the intended outcome. The level of detail in an AAR/IP is based on the exercise type and scope. AAR/IP conclusions are discussed and validated at an After Action Conference that occurs within several weeks after the exercise is conducted.

The IP portion of an AAR/IP converts lessons learned from the exercise into concrete, measurable steps that result in improved response capabilities. It specifically details the actions that the participating entity will take to address each recommendation presented in the draft AAR/IP, who or what agency will be responsible for taking the action, and the timeline for completion.

Sample AAR/IP

Improvement Planning

During improvement planning, corrective actions from the AAR/IP—such as additional training, planning, and/or equipment acquisition—are assigned, with due dates, to responsible parties. They are then tracked to completion, ensuring that exercises result in tangible benefits to preparedness.

Once recommendations, corrective actions, responsibilities, and due dates are clearly identified in the IP, the exercising entity ensures that each corrective action is tracked to completion. Exercising entities review all exercise evaluation feedback and resulting IPs to assess progress on enhancing preparedness. This analysis may identify needs for additional equipment, training, exercises, coordination, plans, and/or procedures that can be validated through future exercises. Continual IP tracking and implementation should be part of a corrective action program within each participating entity. A corrective action program ensures IPs are living, breathing documents that are continually monitored and implemented, and that they are part of the larger cycle of improving preparedness.