In any tabletop exercise involving multiple authorities and jurisdictions, it’s virtually certain that some of the lessons learned involve the need for better coordination, clear lines of authority, and improved information sharing. And so it has been with Coast Guard exercises on port security, says the Government Accountability Office (GAO). According to GAO auditors, 59 percent of the 82 exercises studied raised communication issues, including problems with interoperable radio communications, failure to share information with other agencies, and difficulties in accessing necessary classified information. Almost as many exercises were plagued with resource problems, including poor facilities or equipment. Forty-one percent of the exercises raised concerns about the participants’ ability to coordinate a command and control system, for example. Part of the problem, acknowledges the GAO, is that the National Response Plan, launched in January, wasn’t in place during the exercises. That plan supercedes all existing federal interagency emergency response plans. SM Online takes you to the report.