Abstract for: Learning Environment Simulator: A Tool for Local Decision Makers and First Responders

The National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) has developed a prototype learning environment simulator (LES) based on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Decision Support System (CIPDSS) infrastructure and scenario models. The LES is designed to engage decision makers at the grass-roots level (local/city/state) to deepen their understanding of evolving crises, enhance their intuition and allow them to test their own strategies for events before they occur. An initial version is being developed, centered on a pandemic influenza outbreak and has been successfully tested with a group of hospital administrators and first responders. LES is not a predictive tool but rather a simulated environment allowing the user to experience the complexities of a crisis before it happens. Users can contrast various approaches to the crisis, competing with alternative strategies of their own or other participants. LES is designed to assist decision makers in making informed choices by functionally representing relevant scenarios before they occur, including impacts to critical infrastructures with their interdependencies and estimating human health & safety and economic impacts. In this paper a brief overview of the underlying models are given followed by a description of the LES, its interface, usage and testing experience.