News | Nov. 5, 2015

Partners in Protection

By Christine Born DLA Public Affairs

A deliveryman from XYZ Company attempted to enter a Defense Logistics Agency installation without a Common Access Card this summer. Police at the scene ran the guy’s civilian ID through the Defense Biometric Identification System and what they discovered was alarming. His name was on the FBI’s Terrorist Watch List.

This story is true. It’s also why DLA created the Mission Assurance Working Group which helps ensure employees work in a safe, secure environment and can continue to carry out the agency’s critical functions during events such as terrorist threats, shootings and natural disasters. The group is comprised of senior leaders from DLA Installation Support, DLA Intelligence, DLA Logistics Operations, DLA Information Operations and DLA Human Resources.

“The MAWG strives to develop a workplace culture where the safety, security and welfare of its employees are paramount,” said Renee Roman, DLA Chief of Staff and head of the MAWG. “DLA’s workforce is vital to effectively supporting the warfighter, so ensuring employee safety and security, both at work and home, means DLA can continue to deliver sustained mission support even in the face of adversity.”

In May 2010, the MAWG was established to address the Defense Department’s findings from the 2009 shooting that left 13 people dead at Fort Hood, Texas. Originally called the Force Protection Working Group, it was renamed to mirror the Department of Defense’s Mission Assurance Senior Steering Group, which helps leaders make informed decisions related to protection programs. 

“The MAWG harmonizes the risk management process across the agency to ensure senior leadership has the right information at the right time to understand catastrophic threats and hazards that can hinder mission accomplishment,” said Patrick Wright, staff director of security and emergency services for DLA Installation Support. “The MAWG provides members from all the directorates and field activities the opportunity to collaborate on assessments and reviews of DLA installations, activities and resources to ensure information sharing and eliminate duplication of effort.”

The MAWG covers 10 DLA protection programs, each concentrating on a different area of force protection. They include antiterrorism; physical security; first responders; emergency management; chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives; operations security; information security; information assurance or cybersecurity; continuity of operations and critical infrastructure protection.

Educating employees on potential hazards, threats and crimes is one of the MAWG’s primary goals. By knowing what to do and how to report suspicious activities or behaviors, employees can work together to combat these challenges, said Bruce Thomas, deputy staff director of security and emergency services for DLA Installation Support.

“Protecting DLA’s people, assets and operations is everyone’s responsibility. We must serve as ‘partners in protection.’ Leaders and employees at all levels must unify protection efforts to support the execution of DLA’s mission,” he said.

The DLA Insider Threat Working Group is one of many preventive tools utilized by the MAWG. The working group studies triggers and indicators of possible insider threat activity, such as the events that occurred at Fort Hood and the Washington Navy Yard shooting in 2013.

“The group’s recommendations and processes continue to mitigate potential threats and improve the agency’s security posture and emergency response programs, policies and procedures,” Thomas said.

Although the agency’s first responders - DLA Police, firefighters and rescue professionals - are the first line of defense against antiterrorism and physical threats, information technology also plays a significant role in workplace security. In 2014, the MAWG oversaw the deployment of the Defense Biometric Identification System, DLA’s physical access control system.

DLA police have scanned more than 4 million credentials and registered over 6,000 alerts for expired, revoked, lost or stolen credentials since the system was implemented at DLA Headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Defense Supply Center Columbus, Ohio; Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia; Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna, Pennsylvania; and the Defense Distribution Center San Joaquin, California.

“Stopping individuals with expired or even stolen credentials is an extremely important first line of defense,” Wright said. “While many of these incidents are likely innocent oversights on the part of the bearer, such as an expired driver’s license, DBIDs is a huge step toward stopping an individual who is intent on causing harm to a large number of people.”

The MAWG has also provided opportunities for the agency to test and evaluate its protection programs through exercises and after-action reviews, Thomas said. By involving employees, emergency operations centers, and installation and tenant leaders, the agency increases workforce resiliency, he continued.

“Exercising every level in an emergency only strengthens the agency’s preparedness,” Thomas said, adding that other DoD and federal agencies such as the U.S. Transportation Command and Federal Emergency Management Agency have participated in DLA preparedness exercises.

DLA’s Mass Warning Notification System, known as AtHoc, is another critical program overseen by the MAWG. The system allows the agency to reach employees with timely and accurate information during an emergency, said Tyrone Jeter, DLA Logistics Operations’ continuity of operations manager.

“AtHoc empowers DLA to communicate, interact and account for all personnel during emergency situations,” he said. “AtHoc can send information and alerts to the employee’s desktop, email, phone, text messages, etc., so that no matter where you are, you should receive timely information about what is going on and what to do. Employees are encouraged to add personal contact information to the system to ensure they get information quickly, even if they are out of the building.”

10 Pillars of MAWG

Antiterrorism —

            Defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist acts.

Physical security —

            Procedures and physical measures designed to safeguard personnel, property and operations to prevent unauthorized access to equipment, installations, facilities, material and information; and to protect against espionage, terrorism, sabotage, damage, misuse and theft.  

First Responders —

(DLA Police and local fire and emergency services)

            Emergency related services.

Emergency Management —

            Prepares for, and mitigates the potential effects from emergencies caused by natural or man-made disasters that impact DLA installations and employees.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives —

            Mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from CBRNE/Weapons of Mass Destruction events.

Operations Security —

            Identifies critical information and analyzes data that can be used by adversaries against DLA.

Information Security —

            A system of policies, procedures and requirements established to protect information that, if subjected to unauthorized disclosure, could reasonably be expected to cause damage to national security.

Information Assurance —

(Cyber Security)

            Measures that protect and defend information and information systems to ensure its availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality and validity at all times.

Continuity of Operations —

(or COOP)

            Policies, plans, procedures and capabilities that provide for the continued execution of DLA critical missions and functions across a wide range of potential emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, technological and/or attack-related emergencies.

Critical Infrastructure Protection —

            Ensures the availability of defense critical infrastructure through the identification, assessment and security enhancement of Department of Defense and non-DoD assets essential for executing DLA missions.