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(Enlarge) As employees followed emergency-response procedures, Defense Information Systems Agency security called in Fort Meade emergency response and security personnel (pictured at left) and the National Security Agency Special Weapons and Tactics unit (pictured above) to assist with subduing the "shooter" and aiding "victims" during DISA's readiness exercise on Oct. 2. (Photo courtesy of DISA)

The Defense Information Systems Agency performed a readiness exercise on Oct. 2 at its Fort Meade headquarters location in coordination with Fort Meade emergency response and security personnel and the National Security Agency's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit.

The exercise included an individual acting as a shooter who entered the complex, then scoured hallways, common areas and office spaces, using a fake weapon to "shoot" DISA personnel until he was taken into custody by security officials.

The goal of the exercise was to test how DISA personnel would react to such an event, allowing them to practice emergency-response procedures that have been disseminated through classroom trainings, handouts, instructions from directorate security managers and Dateline DISA articles.

DISA security personnel, along with Fort Meade and NSA units, used the exercise to identify ways to improve their own internal processes, as well as collaborative emergency-response procedures.

During the exercise, employees were periodically notified of the "armed person's" location via the agency's public announcement system and email alerts.

Employees were instructed to "take appropriate action" to ensure their safety, which differed depending on location. The safest course of action for many employees was to evacuate the complex. For others, the prudent action was to take shelter in offices, restrooms and meeting rooms as security personnel sought out the "armed" individual.

The entire exercise lasted approximately two hours.

"The event went well," said Tim Chrysler, DISA's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosives and Installation Emergency Management Program manager and deputy antiterrorism officer. "It gave security employees an opportunity to put their training to the test. And for others, it helped them realize how they could react in such an event."

Chrysler also noted that DISA security's partnership and coordination with the Fort Meade emergency response and security personnel and the NSA SWAT unit greatly enhanced the exercise and provided realistic training for an emergency situation.

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