Large-scale emergencies, whether natural disasters or man-made accidents, have the potential to interfere with the sustainment of the Army Industrial Base Program. However, thanks to a recent partnership between the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) Industrial Base Office (IBO) and the Army Materiel Command’s Industrial Base Capabilities Division (AMC IBCD) Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), the Army IB Program will remain functional despite the occurrence of unforeseen disasters. As a part of this new partnership, ECBC IBO - located at Rock Island Arsenal - now serves as a second line to AMC, providing mission-critical functions in the event of an emergency that downgrades AMC IBCD ability to provide program sustainment.
“The selection of ECBC IBO was not only a great tribute to the hard work of our staff but also a reflection of our customer’s appreciation and trust for the excellent services provided,” said Eric Hoover ECBC IB team leader.
The COOP is activated when any unplanned event or emergency directly impacts the ability of the AMC IBCD to execute the Army’s IB Program. This immobilizing event or emergency could be defined as a fire, hazardous material incident, flooding, tornado, communications failure, radiological incident, civil disturbance, hurricane or tropical storm, explosion, “sickbuilding” syndrome, or terrorist event. Regardless of the scope of damage of the event, the COOP plan must be ready for execution at a moment’s notice.
AMC IBCD and ECBC IBO’s relationship began five years ago with a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) designating ECBC IBO as an internal branch of AMC IBCD that assists with the management of tasks, project plans, and assessments. The synergy and customer support produced from this interagency MOA influenced AMC IBCD in January 2012 to designate ECBC IBO as the COOP Alternative Activity for the Army’s IB Program.
The resulting COOP MOA provides a business process between the two agencies ensuring that mission-critical functions are performed by ECBC IBO in the event of a disaster impacting Headquarters, AMC. The scope of the MOA encompasses all actions required for continuity of operations to include joint planning, preparatory measures, response actions, and restoration activities to maintain industrial base capabilities, U.S. Army readiness, and survivability of the Warfighter.
“In today’s information intensive environment, it is critical to have backup plans to ensure seamless program operation and sustainment. The COOP MOA provides this function not only between AMC IBCD and ECBC IBO but also to other internal and external customers,” Hoover said.
Since AMC IBCD is the Army’s IB Program Office of Responsibility, this plan required the further integration and development of practices, procedures, and techniques plus interoperable communications not only between the AMC and ECBC organizations but also across numerous
In order to ensure continuity of IB operations within the United States Army, the COOP plan is a living document that contains essential information and actions, which must be updated to remain relevant to support operations at a moment’s notice. Although the plan outlines the organization’s plans and objectives,
the key to the success of the plan is a strong bond of trust between the two agencies.
“The integration of human capital and program knowledge from this plan clearly reveals the criticality of communications to any interagency process. This assimilation has enabled our staff to provide improved customer support and achieve efficiencies,” Hoover said.
At the end state, the ECBC IBO’s COOP mission supports the Warfighter and ensures that industrial base program support to the Life Cycle Management Commands and the Research, Development & Engineering Centers is maintained. Holistically, the COOP supports critical interagency communications to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology; Defense Contract Management Agency-Industrial Analysis Center; and the Defense Logistics Agency in support of a “Common Operating Picture” of industrial base operations. The AMC IBCD and ECBC IBO COOP is not only a good
business practice, it also ensures that no Warfighter deploys without his or her mission equipment.