Communication and Collaboration Can Save Lives in an Active Shooter Incident

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Arlington, Va. — CNA and the National Sheriffs' Association have introduced a new toolkit that provides a step-by-step plan for exercising an active shooter incident on a military installation. The Active Shooter Exercise Kit provides instructions for law enforcement agencies on how to plan, conduct and evaluate an exercise to highlight areas for improvement in preparedness for responding to an active shooter incident on U.S. military installations.

"We saw a gap in training that helps prepare our colleagues during active shooter situations," said Tom Greene County Sheriff J. Nick Hanna. “This toolkit places our tabletop exercises under a microscope and forces emergency responders to improve weak communication and collaboration practices.”

Two scenarios are included in the exercise kit: The Festival Scenario is for military installations that host public events, and the Steady State Scenario exercises police response to an active shooter on an otherwise ordinary day. The scenarios include conduct slides, a participant handbook and a facilitator’s guide.

“Volatile incidents on U.S. military bases occur, and local law enforcement agencies are often called in to support the response,” said Dawn Thomas, co-director of CNA’s Center for Emergency Management and Operations. “The toolkit lays out six steps jurisdictions can use to conduct an exercise that may one day save lives. There is no one-size-fits-all exercise, so these materials are designed to be easily tailored to meet the needs of any agency or jurisdiction.”

For more information about the toolkit contact Liza Cordeiro at or Jessica Vanderpool at

About the National Sheriffs’ Association

The National Sheriffs’ Association is one of the largest non-profit associations of law enforcement professionals in the United States, representing more than 3,000 elected sheriffs across the nation, and with a total membership of approximately 14,000 individuals. NSA is dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of law enforcement, public safety, and criminal justice. Throughout its eighty-one-year history, NSA has also served as an information resource for all law enforcement, as well as local, state, and federal government agencies.

About CNA

CNA is a nonprofit research and analysis organization dedicated to the safety and security of the nation. It operates the Center for Naval Analyses — the only Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) serving the Department of the Navy — as well as the Institute for Public Research. CNA is dedicated to developing actionable solutions to complex problems of national importance. With nearly 700 scientists, analysts and professional staff, CNA takes a real-world approach to gathering data. Its one-of-a-kind field program places analysts on carriers and military bases, in squad rooms and crisis centers, working side-by-side with operators and decision-makers around the world. CNA supports naval operations, fleet readiness and great power competition. Its non-defense research portfolio includes criminal justice, homeland security and data management.

Note to writers and editors: CNA is not an acronym and is correctly referenced as "CNA, a research organization in Arlington, VA."