Simulated Hostile Encounter (Atlantis)

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Simulated Hostile Encounter AAR
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“The quest for truth is a noble one.”

-Anonymous


Overview

On Stardate 239704.12 the crew of the USS Atlantis were subjected to an intensely complex combat simulation to test her respective departments. The crew would have their performance monitored closely in order to devise effective improvement strategies. For several departments, new chiefs and personnel had recently been appointed, and had as yet not undergone any formal drills or examinations. Not only this, but new routines for various tactical and security implementations had been devised, and required field testing.

Departments were not informed about many aspects of the exercise, in an attempt to keep reactions as close to actual combat conditions as possible. As such, the ship was outfitted from stem to stern with holoprojectors to simulate hostile boarding action, while asteroids within the Paldor Asteroid Field were equipped with sensor bluffs to have them appear as hostile ships.


Goals and Objectives

While the initial objective was to run an “Abandon Ship” drill, the scope of the project was quickly scaled to test a wider variety of crew readiness situations. These included:

  1. Testing new security enhancements/procedures.
  2. Reviewing hostile boarding procedure and testing crew responsiveness in such situations.
  3. Monitoring crew response times during evacuation & abandon ship orders.
  4. Gain an insight into the crew’s ability to think and respond appropriately during a developing situation.



Click sub-headings below to expand or collapse.

Captain's Report - Jarred Thoran



First Officer's Report - Serala


Analysis

The purpose of the Simulated Exercise was to provide all departments a venue to test their readiness and currently procedures and policies. While heavy focus was given to tactics and security, enough situations were provided to test the combat readiness of the other departments, including Medical and Engineering.

Only a few personnel were provided with foreknowledge of the drill, the stated intent being to gauge actions under real circumstances as it was felt that if the crew was made aware of the drill before it began, they might not perform to the same level. While the First Officer acknowledges the strategy and thought behind this, she is of the opinion that it might not have been the best of ideas. Reason: A number of casualties were sustained that might not have happened in a situation where it was known that it was a drill. Yes, this fits with the aforementioned assessment that the crew might not perform at the same level as a real event. However, the First Officer is of the opinion that injuries sustained during a combat simulation are an unnecessary risk.

Analysis of Tactical: The First Officer is pleased with the tactical simulation. The ship was engaged by numerous vessels employing pack tactics and was successful in shaking such a tactic and managed to destroy or disable three vessels while testing a prototype program developed for specific use within the Par’tha Expanse and takes advantage of the unique characteristics of the Expanse to detect possible locations of cloaked vessels. The program was able to detect such a vessel, and the subsequent tactics confirmed its location and it was disabled as well.

Analysis of Security: The First Officer is a bit concerned about the security procedures that were implemented and believes they may require some fine tuning. Obstacles were provided to the crew and limited response times. In addition, the simulation somehow managed to bypass these measures and intruders seemed to run freely about the ship. A further analysis will have to be done to determine if this was a flaw in the design of the drill or if there was a legitimate opening found that allowed this to occur.

Analysis of Navigation: At the start of the drill, Navigation was manned by an Ensign not specifically trained for the post, but rather trained to fill in at any bridge station as needed. While this is acceptable for normal operations, it is the opinion of the First Officer that a trained Helm Officer should have reported to the bridge to relieve the Ensign. Current staffing limited this, and consideration needs to be given to finding or training a new helm officer.

Analysis of Abandon Ship Portion: This part of the drill seemed to go as planned with all personnel successfully abandoning ship. Heroic efforts were taken on the part of Lieutenant Hyden and Petty Officer First Class Davis, both of Security, to ensure civilian children were found and evacuated as well.

Analysis of Other Departments: The First Officer has no analysis of the performance of Engineering and Medical at this time and will leave those to their respective department heads.

Recommendations

The First Officer recommends that an unannounced drill such as this be limited in use, perhaps only once a year. Otherwise, such drills should be conducted on a routine basis, with the foreknowledge of all crewmembers that they are participating in a drill. Drills are an essential part of the ship’s readiness, and the First Officer condones their continued use. My only concern was the number of injuries and “fatalities” sustained.

The First Officer also recommends an alternative method be found to isolate suspected cloaked vessels. Lieutenant Knight’s recommendations regarding the use of proximity-fused torpedoes does bear merit. At the time the program was developed, the belief was that any torpedoes used in such a fashion could be replaced at a subsequent resupply of the ship. However, it can be conceived that in a prolonged combat situation, or a situation where repeated engagements may occur prior to such resupplying, the unnecessary use of torpedoes could be a concern. In addition to Mr. Knight’s recommendation, the First Officer also recommends an analysis be conducted into the possibility and feasibility of using the Hawkeye class scout ship found onboard to aid in the detection of such vessels as it is equipped with a complete sensor suite, its intended purpose being to perform long-range scouting missions.

In regards to Security, I recommend a review of the drill simulation to determine if legitimate loopholes were found in the security procedures or if there was a glitch in the program. Any identified loopholes should be addressed and measures taken to secure against them in the future. Further, I agree with Lieutenant Hyden’s recommendation that security fields should be localized to known breaches. Such fields could be tied into the commbadges of all crew, not just Security and Marines, with a biometric element added to prevent the unauthorized use of a commbadge to bypass security protocols.

Finally, the First Officer recommends securing another dedicated helm officer to assume the helm in emergency or combat situations. While the aforementioned Ensign’s performance was acceptable, he did have to be coached at points. A problem that could have been eliminated with a dedicated helm officer.

Command Report



Tactical Report - David Knight


Analysis

(All thoughts are IC only)

The simulation was successful in the context of the published objectives. From the Tactical perspective of the situation the entire endeavor was meant to test the ships weapons systems and my ability to employ said weapons systems. While the Atlantis sustained multiple hits and moderate damage three enemy vessels were registered as destroyed or damaged beyond repair. A fourth known to have cloaking capabilities was disabled using a prototype cloak detecting system developed by the current first officer, Lt. Commander Serala.

The program in question appears to be functional in concept, however I find it to not be practical as it currently relies on the use of torpedoes to locate cloaked vessels through proximity detonation. The Atlantis currently carries 40 Type II photon torpedoes, 10 Type VI quantum torpedoes at maximum capacity. The resupply and restocking of these weapons is difficult within the Expanse and I would not recommend the use of the current prototype system. The concept behind the idea Is sound, and I believe it could be employed using modified sensor probes instead.

Weapons systems proved effective within reason when engaging simulated enemy vessels that employed the proven tactic of wolf pack hunting. I was able to destroy two vessels with concentrated phaser fire and another using torpedoes with a sensor probe to aid in targeting solution. The fourth was disabled using the method described above. Shields and deflectors were raised in time to stop as much enemy fire as possible. The shields sustained repeated fire but never dropped below fifty percent. Shield and deflection rate can however be improved with an update systems overhaul at DS26 with commanding officer of the Atlantis approval.

Recommendations

From my end of things I believe the intentions of the simulation were in the right place, however I strongly disagree with its execution. Myself along with other crew members were injured, real damage was incurred on the ship, and the simulation used methods not realistic.

The injury of myself and other crew members was an unnecessary occurrence that could have been avoided. Having said that however I recognize that injuries can and do occur, and the fact that some of these injuries could not have been avoided. I would also like to state that I hold no ill will because of this incident.

Non simulated damage on the Atlantis occurred on the bridge during the beginning of the simulation when a fire broke out before It was quickly suppressed.

As the ships Tactical officer I feel the deployment of a simulated boarding pods was implemented unfairly. The boarding pod in question materialized within the shield perimeter. Shields were well within strength standards to have the ability to have stopped physical objects from reaching the Atlantis.

Having said all this I want to state for the record that these recommendations were made with as little bias as possible and that the exercise demonstrated exceptional ingenuity. The simulation met all goals and was very effective at simulating real world conditions. Methods employed within given time constraints demonstrated the effectiveness of Atlantis crew member Kiax

Operations Report - Esa Kiax


Analysis

In the event of Hostile Spacecraft encounters, the defined role of Operations staff is not always immediately obvious. While many of our personnel are cross trained between security or engineering disciplines, perhaps the suddenness of combat situations evolving and changing caused them to become flustered and lose focus, especially amongst the lower ranks. Several new members of the department lacked direction for much of the simulation, which didn’t contribute to overall departmental efficiency. Cross trained personnel help to bolster departments are essential, where and when necessary, so it is important to ensure appropriate training is administered when possible.

That said, during situations where the ship has sustained significant damage, the need for dedicated operations staff who are able to take on the role of Damage Control - that is, controlling the effects of damage already sustained throughout the ship, as opposed to repairing it - is of paramount importance. It is through the action of said Damage Control experts that any impairment of the ship, or it’s systems, does not get worse until an engineering team can move in and replace or repair the component/area in question.

As a department, Operations did exceptionally well to maintain a high level of efficiency for tasks they were assigned, from ensuring areas of the ship were adequately maintained to shuttlecraft preparation, though their relative successes were not without certain difficulties. For example, there were a number of instances where crew members on the Damage Control teams were forced to a halt when barred by forcefields, or could not erect necessary forcefields. This was, in part, due to power constraints on the ship, but also due to existing security fields that were in place, that many of the lower ranked members of the department lacked the clearance to deactivate. While it is recognised that the security protocols that erect the forcefields are a necessity during a hostile boarding action, in a time critical nature such as this, they not only slowed down the response time, they actually caused a number of additional problems, with crew members actively looking for higher ranked personnel, or security officers in order to deactivate the forcefields in their path, which put a number of them in direct lines of fire between ship personnel and hostile intruders.

From a holistic point of view, the tasks afforded to the Operations department were met with vigour and readiness, with only a few small areas needing significant improvement. This is not to say that everything that happened was perfect. Critical Systems were not always fully staffed, the aforementioned directive issues caused serious problems and a chance death reduced the effectiveness of damage control teams in the latter part of the simulation.

In summary, while the department operated within reasonable margins of error and to an acceptable degree of success, improvements can and will be made in light of this.

Recommendations

In response to the points presented above, several recommendations are being put forward in an attempt to maximise operational efficiency while maintaining departmental autonomy and flexibility.

The first of which is an immediate mandate for heightened cross training, especially those in Security related disciplines. When a hostile force boards the ship, it is imperative that security responds quickly and efficiently, and as a result, having personnel from other departments come in as additional bodies can sometimes be detrimental. An increase in security drills specifically for these members of the crew would be of great assistance, but also the opportunity to run training sessions with other members of the security department to increase unit cohesion and effectiveness would make a great deal of difference.

Secondly, regarding Security’s excessive use of forcefields. It is the opinion of this report that, while effective at slowing the rate of intrusion, there were simply too many forcefields in place, many of which were situated on decks that saw no hostile incursion. A solution to this would present itself in the form of using the internal sensor grid to apply the forcefields to sections, instead of decks, and only on the decks where a hostile presence has been detected. That way, the majority of the crew without higher levels of security clearance can still move around the ship, performing critical tasks without hindrance.

Thirdly, a clearly defined manual for the role of operations staff during combat scenarios must be outlined. Having too many bodies in one place makes working extremely difficult, especially in high-pressure environments like Engineering. Only a limited number of Operations personnel should move to Engineering to assist with staffing; likewise with Security. Typically these would be persons that have the highest amount of skill or level of training in those particular areas. The rest should either: Proceed to Lower Decks and man critical system control rooms, alongside any other personnel assigned there, or work on Damage Control teams, co-ordinated by the Bridge, in conjunction with Damage Control on Deck 14.

Finally, on the subject of Damage Control, only assigning a single member of staff to the control room was a grave error, and will subsequently be remedied in any successive combat instance. In addition to this, placing a security cross trained member of the department inside, or close to the centre will go a long way to helping keep the area secure, given it’s critical nature to the well being of the ship.

With these recommendation, departmental readiness and performance will no doubt see an improvement, hopefully benefiting the continued success of the Atlantis in the Par'tha Expanse.

Engineering Report



Security Report - Maddi Hyden


Analysis

The simulation of a hostile boarding was a test of the Security division’s readiness and awareness of constantly escalating situations. In most cases, Security is behind the scenes always there but never heard from unless expressly needed. In the case of the simulation, each Security officer answered the call of the post with no questions asked. Newer members tried their best even after not having the right access or true training for such a situation as what arose. The simulation was a test for the protocols and new implementations that have been set in place.

The readiness of Security was lacking in the means of having enough officers in the vent of such an attack with the officers stretched so thin it was apparent that the Security team was in need of more bodies. As the crew compliment on the Atlantis is nearing its maximum number. It is the suggestion that all crew members that were harmed during this simulation be cross-trained in some form of Security training, as well as training for the crew and well as the command staff as to keep each and every member ready for whatever may occur.

Even with the flaws, the Security team showed exceptional innovation in the protection of the ship. The casualties at the turbolifts were due to an inexcusable flaw in the implementation of clearance to the teams and officers of the crew. The teams that were sent out, including the newest members of the Security team Ensign Jacques Lazier and Ensign Illana Ganarvuss showed they were willing to help even with the limitations that were put in front of them. Petty Officer Davis showed extreme heroism in the task given to him making sure the decks were secure even under extreme exhaustion and duress. His last act to save a crew member’s daughter showed the highest qualities of what a Starfleet Security member should do.

The idea of forcefields to trap an intruder is good, but the distance that had been given and the activation on the call of Security alerts awarded some problems for the ship’s officers and crew. In light of this information, procedure and forcefield activation needed to be evaluated for further use to be successful at the sight of hostile forces.

Improvements could always be given and the simulation afforded some insight on the measures that had been put into place on the Atlantis. The simulation was successful for Security, but with some small changes and some training offered to all such an encounter could be stopped with the possibility of saving the ship.

Security was lacking so much that the simulation’s biggest secret saboteurs were freely allowed to roam the ship with little to no worry afforded to them. It is the judgment afforded that the Security teams need to be more aware of such matters in the future.

Recommendations

In light of the information given above the following points are given for changes so that such an incident does not occur so easily.

The activations of forcefields every 30 meters were not the most efficient way to enact the fields. It is the opinion of this author that the forcefields distance be reworked into the activation of any forcefield activating when the internal sensors of the ship detect a hostile boarding party. When the hostiles were sure to be secluded for the matter os safety and mobility of the crew the forcefields would activate in the immediate AOR (Area of Responsibility) of the hostiles and not be activated throughout the ship in a manner that is inefficient and unsafe for the members of the ship.

The decision to add the codes for Security override to the PADDs of Security personnel presents a huge flaw in the safety and security of the ship therin putting the ship in more danger which is not the objectives or goals of the Security team. The codes will now be programmed directly into the commbadge of each Security officer and only activated by the biometrics of each officer. This will provide a safer procedure and ensure that no hostiles can reach areas or find the codes that could give them the ability to freely travel around the ship. This action will be enacted immediately and all command staff will have the same things put in their badges. As stated by Starfleet’s Security Clearance Ratings which are stated below.

CO/XO/2O - Alpha-Two Access

Chief Ops, Chief Intel, and Chief Security - Alpha-One

Chief Engineer, Int Officers, and CO of Marines - Beta-Two

Chief Medical, Mission Ops, Tac Officers, and Flight Control Ofc - Beta-One

Security Officers - Delta-Two

The information herein will be initiated as soon as proper Security procedures have been approved.

The last point is to make sure that each member no matter their function has some knowledge of Security and a way to defend themselves in the event of such an attack upon the ship and the crew. This can be achieved by training and drills performed in a controlled environment to make sure they are ready for such an encounter no matter what it may be.

In conclusion with these changes and the recommendations stated above, it is the judgment that the security and safety of the ship and each of its members will be better suited and equipped for such an encounter when it would arise.

The simulation was a true test of the Atlantis and her crew and from the judgment of Operations officer Kiax the information will be taken to use and improve the ship’s Security team’s readiness for such an action.

Medical Report



Marine Report



Summary

Notable SIMs


REV SD 239806.14