News | April 22, 2020

DLA Energy tests command, control with COOP exercise

By Irene Smith DLA Energy Public Affairs

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Defense Logistics Agency Energy activated a Continuity of Operations plan to test command and control operations April 15. 

The COOP plan, as directed by Federal Continuity Directive 1, requires DLA Energy to train and exercise contingency operations in preparation for a catastrophic event that prevents employees from using the McNamara Headquarters Complex at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. It enables essential employees to relocate at a predetermined location to perform mission essential functions or to remotely support the mission through telework. 

DLA Energy Deputy Commander Eric W. Smith and three other employees participated in the one-day exercise using phone, video teleconferencing and email to conduct daily business. 

Equipped with communications and critical information systems, DLA Energy’s COOP location gives Energy employees a functional workspace with computers, network drops and desks to perform essential functions for up to 30 days. 

“Using this site enables DLA Energy to practice and maintain our command and control functions in case of an incident,” said DLA Energy Customer Operations Director Air Force Col. James McClellan. “We have a commander with a global mission who needs to make sound and timely decisions, successfully execute decisions and have unity of effort over this complex environment.”

Rick Vanschoor, DLA Energy’s COOP manager, maintains the roster of emergency essential employees who are on 24-hour notice to activate during COOP operations.

“In March, a positive case of COVID-19 shut down the DLA Troop Support Headquarters for 10 days to clean and disinfect office spaces,” Vanschoor said. ”Our leadership made the decision to activate our COOP for ‘split operations’ on April 1st to be fully prepared to take on fulltime operations in the event Headquarters DLA shuts down.”

Events such as hurricanes and floods can trigger COOP activation. In September 2018, DLA Energy employees activated its COOP plan when Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall and caused severe damage near the southeastern coast of North Carolina. DLA Energy Task Force Americas managed fuel support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency from its temporary site.

All DLA activities are required to prepare and test their COOP plans every two years.