Emergency Preparedness and Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning in the Federal Judiciary [Updated August 8, 2003]   [open pdf - 60KB]

In the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, subsequent anthrax incidents that briefly affected the Supreme Court, and occasional warnings of the potential for further terrorist activity, judicial branch policymakers and administrators have given renewed attention to crisis response, emergency planning, and continuity of operations (COOP) issues. In the federal judiciary, COOP planning is an extension of court emergency preparedness plans designed to safeguard lives and property during emergencies. The federal judiciary is highly decentralized, both geographically and administratively. Consequently, emergency and COOP planning is carried out locally, according to guidelines issued by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC)...Prior to September 2001, the federal judiciary had engaged in efforts to improve security in court facilities. After the attacks, AOUSC recommended the designation of a senior court executive in every court to coordinate and be responsible for developing appropriate procedures for emergency preparedness, and COOP. AOUSC also recommended that the courts coordinate their planning activities with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local federal executive agencies. This report discusses actions taken by AOUSC following the September 11 attacks, and describes expectations for emergency preparedness and COOP plans in the judiciary. Other sections address issues and policy questions Congress might consider, including matters of the status of judicial emergency and COOP preparedness, and funding for future policy and oversight questions regarding judicial contingency planning. This report is one of several CRS products related to government emergency preparedness and contingency planning". - From Summary

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31978
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