Organizing a SAREX is lot of effort, particularly for one person to handle. Many pieces need to managed, not the least of which are a group of people. Every exercise should have an operations plan distributed in advance. A number of behind-the-scenes work must be completed before the details of an ops plan can be finalized.
In addition to the ops plan, other details need to worked out:
- Personnel - organizing participants, esp. key personnel (e.g., pilots, evaluators, comms, flight release officers, safety officer if mission base, etc.)
- All participants must be safety current, have an up-to-date 101 card and CAPID, have completed all training requirements and have all equipment
- Evaluators must have SET, one year qualified in the specialty to evaluate and be "active" in Ops Quals as an evaluator (i.e., "blessed" by WG/DO as an evaluator)
- Aircraft logistics - who is scheduling, bringing and returning aircraft
- Communications - who is providing comms equipment or remote monitoring
- Logistics - reserving space with Clay Lacy or BFI Facilities, organizing lunch, etc.
- Training - deploying a PELT, deploying a visual target, etc.
- Admin - choosing the right mission number, determining how to pay
- Post-exercise - ensuring sorties are properly closed and receipts handled
An ops plan should cover everything a participant might need to know:
- Intro / Basics
- What the event is (e.g., new MS qualification, MS/MO proficiency, etc.)
- Goals (e.g., qualify new Scanners)
- Non-goals (prevent "feature creep")
- Where to be
- When to be there - planned start and end time
- Backup plans
- Primary contacts
- Instructional material, if any
- Uniform requirements
- Ops Quals / 101 card ready
- Aircrew - gridded charts, headset and other equipment, survival vest (ideally)
- Ground teams - proper clothing for weather, 24-hour pack, equipment to train on, etc.
- Other material as needed
- Support personnel - command staff (esp. safety officer), base staff, flight release officer, etc.
- Training personnel - aircrew, evaluators, ground teams
- Safety - risk assessment, mitigations, emergency plans
- Equipment - aircraft to be used, etc.
- Areas of operation - grids, etc.
- Communications - comms plan (channels, backups, who is monitoring, when to check in, A-line)
- Finance - estimates for airframe, aircraft fuel, ground mileage, misc expenses; guidance to participants for making payments (e.g., fuel/oil)
Larger exercises may require a more detailed training plan to ensure aircrews and ground teams are working in appropriate locations, do not create proximity hazards and perform the right training at the right places. This will be specific to the exercise.
Past operations plans are in the squadron file share (as of 2019, shared Google Drive > Emergency Services > Exercises) and may be used as example templates for creating an operations plan.
Here is an example table of contents:
- Executive Summary
- Personnel and Resources
- Annex A – WMIRS Mission Sign-in
- Annex B – Weight and Balance Upload
- Annex C – Fuel Receipt Memo
- Annex D – Training Syllabus