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News | Feb. 15, 2018

PM&BI assumes control of COOP management

By DCMA Public Affairs

Defense Contract Management Agency Director Navy Vice Adm. David Lewis recently signed a general order realigning the agency’s continuity and emergency management programs to the Portfolio Management and Business Integration Directorate effective Feb. 18.

“This alignment combines related programs with the Mission Assurance group in PM&BI,” said Neil Myers, the PM&BI Mission Assurance lead. Placing these interconnected risk management activities in the same office will support the development of plans, policies and initiatives to ensure the agency can execute its mission essential functions, or MEFS, even in the face of threats and severe natural hazards to infrastructure.

“The agency’s new alignment of these related programs is mirrored at the Department of Defense level with the deputy assistant secretary of defense for defense continuity and mission assurance in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.”

What is a COOP?
A continuity of operations plan will document how the agency will perform essential operations during an emergency situation or long-term disruption, which might last from days to several weeks or months. The plan will identify mission-critical functions, agency communication methods, and emergency essential personnel, systems and locations.

The COOP planning process focuses on two key questions. Which operations performed by the agency are essential?; and what resources are required to continue those essential operations during an emergency or a disruption?

“It’s time to emphasize the word essential here because it’s a key point that gets lost in many continuity plans,” said Myers. “We should ‘COOP’ essential missions and support capabilities, not everything in the organization. For example a (contract management office) may have 100 personnel doing all sorts of important work during normal operations, but during a contingency, the CMO may only need 20 emergency essential personnel to perform mission essential functions. Developing and rehearsing a COOP for 20 emergency essential personnel is a lot easier than 100.”

What is emergency management?
An emergency management program is an ongoing, comprehensive risk-based process to prepare for any incident that threatens life, property and operations regardless of natural, technological or human cause.

“It is the dynamic process of preparing for, mitigating, responding to and recovering from an emergency,” said Myers. “Planning, though critical, is not the only component. Training, conducting drills, testing equipment and coordinating activities with the community are other important functions.”

According to the Mission Assurance office, the four stages of emergency management are:
—Mitigation: mitigation is taking action now to reduce risk and severity — before the next disaster.
—Preparedness: preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, managing, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, creating, monitoring, evaluating and improving activities to facilitate the enhancement of capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other man-made disasters.
—Response: response includes the mobilization of the necessary emergency services and first responders.
—Recovery: the aim of recovery is to restore the affected area to its previous state.

“The agency’s Mission Assurance office seeks to prioritize these risk management efforts and resources toward addressing the most critical mission execution concerns,” said Myers. “We rely on aligning existing efforts of DCMA’s various security, protection, and risk management programs and activities to accomplish the Mission Assurance construct’s processes.”

For more information, visit the PM&BI Mission Assurance 360 page.