Continuity of Operations (COOP)
Every day, individuals, organizations, communities and governments provide critical services and perform essential functions upon which our neighbors and communities depend. Continuity ensures that the whole community has a plan for sustaining these services and functions when normal operations are disrupted.
What is Continuity of Operations?
Continuity is the ability to provide uninterrupted critical services, essential functions, and support, while maintaining organizational viability, before, during and after an event that disrupts normal operations.
What is the Goal of Continuity?
The ultimate goal of continuity at the state level is the continuation of Mission Essential Functions (MEFs). In order to achieve that goal, the objective for organizations is to identify their Essential Functions (EFs) and ensure that those functions can be continued throughout, or resumed rapidly after, a disruption of normal activities. The State Government has an important partnership with other government entities and with private sector owners and operators who play integral roles in ensuring our homeland security.
Elements of a Viable Continuity Capability
· Essential Functions – The critical activities performed by organizations, especially after a disruption of normal activities.
· Orders of Succession – Provisions for the assumption of senior agency offices during an emergency in the event that any of those officials are unavailable to execute their legal duties.
· Delegations of Authority – Identification, by position, of the authorities for making policy determinations and decisions at all organizational levels and locations. Generally, pre-determined delegations of authority will take effect when normal channels of direction have been disrupted and will lapse when these channels have been reestablished.
· Continuity Facilities – Locations, other than the primary facility, used to carry out essential functions, particularly in a continuity event. Continuity Facilities, or “Alternate facilities”, refers to not only other locations, but also options such as working at home.
· Continuity Communications – Communications that provide the capability to perform essential functions, in conjunction with other agencies, under all conditions.
· Vital Records Management – The identification, protection and ready availability of electronic and hard copy documents, references, records, information systems, data management software and equipment needed to support essential functions during a continuity situation.
· Human Capital – During a continuity event, emergency employees and other special categories of employees who are activated by an agency to perform assigned response duties.
· Tests, Training, and Exercises (TT&E) – Measures to ensure that an agency’s continuity plan is capable of supporting the continued execution of the agency’s essential functions throughout the duration of a continuity event.
· Devolution of Control and Direction – Capability to transfer statutory authority and responsibility for essential functions from an agency’s primary operating staff and facilities to other agency employees and facilities.
· Reconstitution – The process by which surviving and/or replacement agency personnel resume normal agency operations from the original or replacement primary operating facility.
Elements of a Viable Continuity Capability
· Phase I - Readiness and Preparedness
· Phase II - Activation and Relocation: plans, procedures, and schedules to transfer activities, personnel, records, and equipment to alternate facilities are activated
· Phase III - Continuity Operations: full execution of essential operations at alternate operating facilities is commenced
· Phase IV – Reconstitution: operations at alternate facility are terminated and normal operations resume
Under what Conditions will the Continuity Plan be Activated?
The plan could be activated in response to a wide range of events or situations – from a fire in the building; to a natural disaster; to the threat or occurrence of a terrorist attack. Any event that makes it impossible for employees to work in their regular facility could result in the activation of the Continuity plan.
FEMA Continuity Guidance Circular (CGC) provides up to date information on Continuity of Operations (COOP). This document guides whole community efforts to develop and maintain the capability to ensure continuity of operations, continuity of government, and enduring constitutional government during an emergency that disrupts normal operations.