A scenario is an outline or model of the simulated sequence of events that can be used for an exercise or to support scenario-based training. It can be written as a narrative or depicted by an event timeline. For discussion-based activities, such as workshops and Table-Top Exercises, a scenario provides the backdrop that drives participant discussion. For operations-based activities, such as Functional Exercises (Command Post Exercises) and Full-Scale Exercises, a scenario provides background information about the incident catalyst(s) and may include injects to stimulate continued player action.
Whether it is for an exercise or training, the scenario should support the objectives of the activity. Scenarios should be realistic, plausible, and challenging; however, scenarios should not be so complicated that they distract from the objectives of the activity.
A scenario consists of three basic elements:
- The general context or comprehensive story
- The required conditions that will allow players or students to demonstrate proficiency and competency in conducting critical tasks, demonstrating core capabilities, and meeting objectives
- The technical details necessary to accurately depict scenario conditions and events.
Simulation can greatly enhance the realism of a scenario and can help achieve the activity objectives. Simulation supports decision-making processes by providing feedback to players during the activity, thus dynamically representing the impact of their decisions, and by continuing to evolve the scenario as time goes progresses. Simulation during exercises and training is often manifested through the Simulation Cell (SimCell). A SimCell is used to generate injects for, receive player responses for, and provide information in place of nonparticipating entities.
EMSI has extensive experience developing scenarios, for both training and exercises, and has established and managed many SimCells to coordinate delivery of injects and role players to enhance scenarios.