COLUMBUS, Ohio –
In keeping with the efforts to strengthen our preparedness capabilities, the Continuity of Operations planners of Defense Logistics Agency Distribution recently took selected members of the Emergency Relocation Group to an alternate work site. Federal Continuity Directive 1, dated October 26, 2012, governs the COOP program, and training visits to alternate work sites are one of its annual requirements. It states there are four pillars of continuity capabilities: leadership, staff, communication and facilities.
Government agencies are required to have these sites in order to maintain operations during a continuity event. A “continuity event” can be anything from a fire that destroys part of a building, to a natural disaster, or the threat or occurrence of a terrorist attack. Any event that makes it impossible for employees to work in their regular facilities could result in the activation of the COOP plan.
For this exercise, elements of the DLA Distribution Emergency Relocation Group traveled to the tertiary alternate work site at Building 306, DLA Land & Maritime, Columbus, Ohio. A group of 10 Distribution employees from five staff directorates left New Cumberland, Pa., at 7 o’clock in the morning, traveled by government van to the alternate site, and arrived exactly six and a half hours later. Mr. William Ansley of the DLA Land and Maritime Command & Control Center met the group, provided a brief, tour of the building and then assisted the DLA Distribution CCC representative with testing all classified communications. An information operations representative was on site as well in case anyone experienced network connection problems.
Building 306 has room for hundreds of employees and connecting to the DLA network was as easy as plugging in a laptop. The classified vault has robust SIPR capabilities. All support services such as food, medical, lodging, and fitness that would be needed for the Emergency Relocation Group is available either on post or in the local area.
“The building is a fantastic resource. It's a ‘warm’ site, which means that it has most of what we need for operations; all we have to do is bring our personnel along with some equipment and supplies,” said Scott Rosbaugh, director, Office of Future Plans, DLA Distribution. “Mr. Ansley does a fantastic job of maintaining the site and acquiring equipment for it, and he is also extremely supportive of our COOP efforts. We couldn’t ask for a better partner in our Agency.”
This COOPEX to the DLA Land & Maritime site gave ERG personnel familiarity with procedures, travel routes, and facility and communications capabilities so that they are ready to assist their staff directorates during an actual continuity event. Also, connectivity to the DLA network was maintained during road travel through the use of the Verizon MiFi boxes, giving the DLA Distribution commander a critical communications capability. Connectivity was rated as “excellent” by the team members.
“The keys to a successful COOP plan are redundancy and resiliency,” explained Rosbaugh. “We can never have too many COOP options. The DLA Distribution COOP planners are still looking for other ways to provide redundancy for DLA Distribution in the local area.”