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News | Sept. 28, 2018

COOP: Not just an annual training requirement

By Maurice Sanabria DLA Aviation Continuity of Operations Program Manager

Every year, thousands of Defense Logistics Agency employees access their Learning Management System account and complete the mandatory Continuity of Operations Employee Awareness Training course loaded in their “To Do” list.  To some COOP training may be just another annual training requirement, but COOP is much more.  COOP is essential to readiness.

Every two years, DLA activities throughout the enterprise prepare their COOP plans.  These plans detail the actions each activity will execute to ensure mission-essential functions are performed whenever a catastrophic event renders our infrastructure uninhabitable or unavailable. 

Our most important customer, America’s warfighter, doesn’t stop fighting because DLA Aviation had an emergency or catastrophic event. Maintenance on the weapon systems that enable our warfighters to win battles and deliver humanitarian assistance doesn’t halt because we do not have operational facilities. COOP is important because it enables uninterrupted service to our customers.

The devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017 is a reminder that we must have plans in place that allow us to continue to support warfighters and our other customers during times of crisis. Our agency is not immune to disruptions caused by man-made or natural threats.

COOP enables DLA to support and execute its core mission, vision, values, goals, and objectives. In essence, COOP enables business resiliency by allowing us to continue to serve our customers after a catastrophic or emergency event.

COOP implementation allows DLA Aviation to continue to issue priority orders only 12 hours after a catastrophic event occurs that prevents us from using our facilities or infrastructure. It also enables DLA Aviation’s COOP essential personnel to physically relocate to an alternate facility to perform mission essential functions and to remotely support the mission through the use of telework.

There are many events that can trigger COOP activation. Below is a list of the top threats and disruptions identified in the 2018 Business Continuity Institute Horizon Scan Report which is an annual study that tracks near-term threats as reported by business continuity and resilience professionals. Threats are events or incidents that could trigger COOP activation and require consideration during COOP planning. Disruptions are events or incidents that occurred and required activation of one or more elements of COOP. 


Top Threats and Disruptions – BCI Horizon Scan Report 2018

·   Cyber attack

·   Data breach

·   Unplanned IT and telecom outages

·   Interruption to utility supply

·         Adverse weather

·   Act of terrorism

·   Security incident

·   Fire

·   Supply chain disruption

·   Transport network disruption

·   Availability of talents/key skills

·   New laws and regulation

Threats and supply chain disruptions are an operational reality that can trigger the activation of a COOP. These disruptions cause loss of productivity, increase customer complaints, increase operational costs, impair service outcomes, damage organizational reputation or image, affect revenue, and most importantly decrease warfighter readiness.

The BCI Supply Chain Resilience Report is one of the most comprehensive industry studies on the origins, causes, and consequences of supply chain disruptions worldwide. The report indicates that 34 percent of worldwide study respondents report cumulative losses of at least one million dollars and nine percent report losses of at least one million dollars due to a single disruption incident. Seventy percent of organizations report at least one incident occurring in the last 12 months while 48 percent of organizations reported between one and ten incidents per year.

The might of our military force depends on our ability to deliver the right solution, on time, every time. COOP enables DLA to deliver the right solution to our customers. It builds supply chain resilience and delivers readiness. Keep this in mind the next time you take your annual COOP course.