Continuity of Operations (COOP) in the Executive Branch: Background and Issues for Congress [April 21, 2003]   [open pdf - 69KB]

"In the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, subsequent anthrax incidents, and occasional warnings of terrorist reprisals in response to U.S. interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, federal policymakers have given renewed attention to continuity of operations (COOP) issues. COOP planning is a segment of federal government contingency planning that refers to the internal effort of an organization, such as a branch of government, department, or office, to assure that the capability exists to continue essential operations in the aftermath of a comprehensive array of potential operational interruptions...Government-wide, COOP planning is critical because much of the recovery from an incident, which might include the maintenance of civil authority, and infrastructure repair, among other recovery activities, presumes the existence of an ongoing, functional government to fund, support, and oversee actions taken. In the executive branch, COOP planning can be viewed as a continuation of basic emergency preparedness planning, and a bridge between that planning and efforts to maintain continuity of government in the event of a significant disruption to government activity or institutions. Because the number and types of potential interruptions are unknown, effective COOP planning must provide, in advance of an incident, a variety of means to assure contingent operations. This report discusses the background of COOP planning, discusses elements of an effective COOP plan, and reviews the current policies governing COOP planning in the executive branch. The final two sections address issues and policy questions, including, among other matters, the status of agency preparedness, maintaining COOP preparedness, congressional committee oversight of COOP activity, and funding for contingency planning." -- Summary

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31857
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