This Continuity Resource Toolkit is designed to provide whole community partners additional tools, templates and resources to assist in implementing the concepts found within the Continuity Guidance Circular. To assist you in locating the appropriate continuity resources, two navigation methods are provided below.
FEMA will continue to build and distribute tools and information to assist whole community partners develop and maintain a successful continuity program and plan. FEMA welcomes your input on the Continuity Resource Toolkit. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to:
- Provide suggestions on tools and resources that would address identified continuity gaps and needs; and
- Offer best practices, case studies, or tools to share with other planners within the whole community.
Continuity Resource Toolkit (aligns to CGC)
Foreword: A National Continuity Philosophy
This section of the CGC provides the foundation of continuity planning across the nation and the whole community. The Foreword outlines a vision for continuity, roles and responsibilities, and integration points across the whole community and with preparedness and emergency management.
Introduction, Vision and Purpose, and Continuity Planning:
- Presidential Policy Directive-21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, defines resilience as “the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and recover rapidly from operational disruptions.”
- FEMA hosts an introductory Independent Study course on continuity through the Emergency Management Institute. IS-1300, Introduction to Continuity of Operations, is a one-hour course designed to provide a general overview of continuity principles.
- UPDATED! FEMA has developed an updated Whole Community continuity brochure and Federal continuity brochure, which outlines important principles in continuity planning.
- FEMA hosts a quarterly Continuity Webinar Series. The webinars address continuity-related topics and include presenters from varied backgrounds and experiences. The webinars are free and open to the public. FEMA also maintains archives from previous webinars. FEMA has also created a brochure providing overview information on the Webinar Series.
- Sign up for the latest continuity news and information from FEMA.
- Presidental Policy Directive-8, National Preparedness, outlines the whole community approach to emergency management. Continuity is an important part of preparedness.
- The National Preparedness Goal states that continuity is an integral part of each core capability across the five mission areas of protection, prevention, mitigation, response and recovery within the National Preparedness System.
- The National Incident Management System (NIMS), with the foundational support of continuity, enables the nation to be able to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from any incident with minimal disruptions to the functions, core capabilities and services that citizens expect. The Emergency Management Institute works in collaboration with the whole community to provide training in support of the NIMS Training Program.
Roles, Responsibilities and Integration:
- Presidential Policy Directive-40, National Continuity Policy, outlines the policy of the United States to maintain a comprehensive and effective continuity capability by ensuring a coordinated effort within and among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government at all levels. The National Continuity Policy is not available for dissemination, but the core principles and concepts are included within the CGC.
- The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.
Interface with Other Concepts:
- The National Response Framework outlines roles and responsibilities for incident management and operations. Continuity does not delineate new procedures for incident management activities; however, organizations with incident management responsibilities must incorporate requirements to perform these functions into continuity planning.
- In addition to the National Response Framework, other frameworks covering the five mission areas include the National Protection Framework, the National Prevention Framework, the National Mitigation Framework, and the National Disaster Recovery Framework.
- COMING SOON: FEMA is developing a summary of the continuity references within each Framework.
- The Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101, Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans, is designed to assist planners develop Emergency Operations Plans. Continuity planning enables the successful implementation of and EOP during and after an emergency, by ensuring essential functions, services and visible leadership are readily available when typical operations are disrupted.
Chapter 1: Getting Started
This chapter identifies foundational elements of a continuity program that will increase the success of continuity planning and operations.
Guidance and Standards:
- Presidential Policy Directive-40, National Continuity Policy, outlines the policy of the United States to maintain a comprehensive and effective continuity capability by ensuring a coordinated effort within and among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government at all levels.The National Continuity Policy is not available for dissemination, but the core principles and concepts are included within the CGC.
- Federal Continuity Directive 1 implements requirements establishes the framework, requirements and processes that support the development of continuity programs and by specifying and defining elements of a continuity plan for Federal Executive Branch Departments and Agencies.
- Federal Continuity Directive 2 provides direction and guidance to Federal Executive Branch Departments and Agencies to assist in validation of Mission Essential Functions and Primary Mission Essential Functions. The update and validation of essential functions includes conducting a comprehensive Business Process Analysis to understand those processes necessary to the performance of organizational functions and requirements.
- COMING SOON: Examples of state, municipal and other non-federal continuity mandates and laws.
- The E/L/G 548, Continuity Manager's Course, is a three-day classroom course designed to provide continuity managers define continuity of operations, explain the benefits of developing a viable continuity program, identify the elements of a viable continuity program, and identify the processes, resources and tasks necessary to implement and manage a successful continuity program.
- The E/L/G 550, Continuity Planner's Course, is a three-day classroom course designed to provide information on key concepts and strategies for developing, implementing and updating a continuity plan.
- L 552, Continuity of Operations for Tribal Governments Course, is a two-day course that provides tribal representatives with an understanding of how to develop and implement a continuity of operations program to ensure continuity of community essential functions across a wide range of emergencies and events.
- FEMA established the Continuity Excellence Series - Level I, Professional Continuity Practitioner, and Level II, Master Continuity Practitioner. This effort is dedicated to enhancing the excellence in the development and implementation of continuity programs and emergency management.
- UPDATED! FEMA has updated the continuity plan template and instructions (Word version / PDF version) for non-federal entities and community-based organizations to align with the Continuity Guidance Circular. FEMA also has a template for federal agencies to provide a framework for creating a viable continuity plan by focusing on key continuity planning elements.
- Ready.gov maintains information on business preparedness, including a Business Continuity Planning Suite.
- The Continuity of Operations: What You Need To Know video introduces audiences to continuity of operations planning. It addresses the importance of continuity to organizations, best practices of planning, considerations for the four phases of continuity, and immediate steps an organization and individuals can take to prepare for the next emergency.
- The Gaining Senior Leadership Briefing assists continuity managers in effectively conveying the importance of and need for a viable and executable continuity program that ensures the continued performance of an organization’s essential functions during a disruption.
- The Stepping into Their Shoes: Gaining Leadership Buy-In for Continuity video introduces continuity managers to tools that imparts: 1) soft skills (leadership communications and understanding); and 2) tailored facts and available resources they need to feel comfortable and knowledgeable enough to frame resonating conversations with senior leadership about continuity and its benefits.
Chapter 2: Building a Capability
This chapter aims to provide guidance and a framework for building a continuity foundation and capability that is coordinated with partners and stakeholders.
Step 1: Identify and Prioritize Essential Functions:
- Federal Continuity Directive 2 provides direction and guidance to Federal Executive Branch Departments and Agencies to assist in validation of Mission Essential Functions and Primary Mission Essential Functions. The update and validation of essential functions includes conducting a comprehensive Business Process Analysis to understand those processes necessary to the performance of organizational functions and requirements. The document also includes Business Process Analysis and Business Impact Analysis worksheets.
- E/L 557, Mission Essential Function Workshop, is a two-day course that assists participants in identifying essential functions, conducting a business process analysis, and conducting a business impact analysis.
NEW!: The Continuity Risk Toolkit is a resource to support stakeholders in conducting risk analysis for their continuity programs.
Hazard mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. State, local, tribal and territorial governments engage in hazard mitigation planning to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters, and develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from future hazard events.
- The Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment provides the factual basis for activities proposed in the strategy portion of a hazard mitigation plan. An effective risk assessment informs proposed actions by focusing attention and resources on the greatest risks.
- The Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) is a four-step common risk assessment process that helps the whole community understand its risks and estimate capability requirements.
- The Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 201, Threat and Hazard Identification Risk Assessment Guide, outlines the four-step process for conducting a THIRA.
- Developed by the DHS Risk Steering Committee, the purpose of the DHS Risk Lexicon is to establish and make available a comprehensive list of terms and meanings relevant to the practice of homeland security risk management and analysis.
- The Business Process Analysis (BPA) and a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) Users Guide will assist whole community continuity stakeholders in conducting a BPA and BIA, which are critical steps in developing a comprehensive continuity plan.
Step 2: Identify Mitigation Options
- The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 requires federal executive agencies to incorporate telework into continuity plans.
- UPDATED! FEMA has updated the Continuity of Operations Telework Planning brochure, which outlines telework considerations in continuity planning.
- The Telework Exercise Template is a tool to assist organizations in conducting a telework exercise to operate in a telework or socially-distanced environment and to determine actions to enhance current capabilities and better prepare for a pandemic influenza or continuity event. FEMA has also developed a Telework Player Handbook Template to serve as an example of an exercise player handbook for use when conducting a telework exercise.
- IS-551, Devolution Planning, is a two-hour online course designed to provide students with the tools and practical knowledge necessary to develop an organization’s devolution plan and procedures.
- The Devolution Planning Template provides a structure and recommended content for developing a devolution plan or annex.
- Mutual aid agreements are a concept that falls under the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS). Within NIMS, the National Mutual Aid System is built upon the integration of all types of mutual aid into a single system.
Step 3: Identify Key Elements
- Common accessibility measures that continuity planners and managers need to consider include ensuring electronic materials are compliant with Section 508 - Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 so that the materials can be processed effectively by individuals who are blind or have low vision
- Redundant data management software applications and equipment should provide the appropriate level of access and cybersecurity to protect sensitive and personally identifiable information, including adhering to applicable requirements, such as those covered under the Privacy Act of 1974 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).
- UPDATED! The Continuity of Operations Essential Records brochure provides important information regarding essential records and their role in continuity planning.
- The Wireless Priority Service provides personnel priority access and prioritized processing in all nationwide and several regional cellular networks, greatly increasing the probability of call completion.
- The Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) provides emergency access and priority processing in the local and long distance segments of the Public Switched Telephone Network.
- The Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) authorizes national security and emergency preparedness organizations to receive priority treatment for vital voice and data circuits or other telecommunications services.
Step 4: Plan and Implement Options and Elements:
- FEMA has developed a continuity plan template and instructions for non-federal entities and community-based organizations (Word version / PDF version) and federal agencies to provide a framework for creating a viable continuity plan by focusing on key continuity planning elements.
- The Reconstitution Planning Workshop, IS-545, is a four-hour online course aimed to assist organizations developing an effective and comprehensive reconstitution plan.
- The Reconstitution Plan Template provides a structure and recommend content for developing a reconstitution plan.
- The Pandemic Influenza Template provides guidance to assist organizations in developing a Pandemic Influenza Continuity of Operations Plan or, if the organization already has a continuity plan, a Pandemic Influenza Annex.
- NEW! FEMA has created a brochure on Continuity Planning for Pandemics and Widespread Infectious Diseases.
Chapter 3: Maintaining a Capability
This chapter aims to provide guidance and a framework for maintaining a viable continuity capability and maturing a continuity program and plan.
Testing, Training, and Exercising:
- FEMA established the Continuity Excellence Series - Level I, Professional Continuity Practitioner (brochure), and Level II, Master Continuity Practitioner (brochure). This effort is dedicated to enhancing the excellence in the development and implementation of continuity programs and emergency management.
- The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) provides guiding principles for exercise programs, as well as a common approach to exercise program management, design, development, conduct, evaluation and improvement planning.
- E/L 547, Continuity Exercise Design Course, is a three-day course designed to provide participants with the tools and hands-on experience necessary to develop continuity exercises for their organization. This course begins by explaining the unique aspects of continuity exercise design. The course also provides instruction on how to develop a continuity exercise and allows participants to use what they learn to create continuity exercises in class.
- In addition to the Continuity Exercise Design course, FEMA hosts multiple online and classroom courses for planning and conducting exercises, including IS-120.a, An Introduction to Exercises; IS-130, Exercise Evaluation and Improvment Planning; L 146, HSEEP Basic Course; and the Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEPP).
- The Telework Exercise Template is a tool to assist organizations in conducting a telework exercise to operate in a telework or socially-distanced environment and to determine actions to enhance current capabilities and better prepare for a pandemic influenza or continuity event. FEMA has also developed a Telework Player Handbook Template to serve as an example of an exercise player handbook for use when conducting a telework exercise.
- FEMA holds several continuity workshops aimed to increase continuity preparedness against several threats:
- IS-525, Guardian Accord is a four-hour online continuity terrorism workshop designed to increase continuity awareness, preparedness, planning and coordination between federal and non-federal entities.
- IS-523, Resilient Accord - Exercising Continuity Plans for Cyber Incidents, is a three-hour online continuity cyber security workshop designed to increase continuity of operations awareness and discuss how to execute continuity operations during a cybersecurity event.
- IS-520, Introduction to Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenza, is a one-hour online course that introduces students to the characteristics of a pandemic influenza, the effects that a pandemic influenza can have on every facet of our society, and the steps organizations can take to minimize the effects of a pandemic. IS-522, Exercising Continuity Plans for Pandemics, is an eight-hour online course that covers fundamental continuity principles and processes but is focused on the special continuity requirements for pandemics.
- The Continuity Evaluation Tool (CET) is designed to assess Federal Department and Agencies’ continuity plans, programs, and procedures; refine the assessment process and improve the level of continuity program documentation; and document elements of continuity as required in Federal Continuity Directives 1 and 2. To obtain an electronic copy of the CET version 8, send an email request to FEMA-NationalContinuity@fema.dhs.gov.
- NEW: The Continuity Assessment Tool provides an evaluation tool for non-federal entities to identify continuity program strengths and areas for improvement.
- The Non-Disaster Grants Management System (ND Grants) is a web-based system intended to provide FEMA and its stakeholders with a system that supports the grants management lifecycle.
- The Multi-Year Strategic Plan Template contains an outline of a strategy and program management plan that can be used to sustain and improve an organization's continuity capability over a five year period.
Appendix 1: Authorities and References
Presidential Policy Directive-40, National Continuity Policy, July 15, 2016. The National Continuity Policy is not available for dissemination, but the core principles and concepts are included within the Continuity Guidance Circular.
- Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101, Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans, Version 2, November 2010.
- Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 2, Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Guide, Second Edition, August 2013.
- Federal Continuity Directive-1, Federal Executive Branch National Continuity Program and Requirements, January 2017.
- Federal Continuity Directive-2, Federal Executive Branch Mission Essential Functions and Candidate Mission Essential Functions Identificiation and Submission Process, July 2017.
- Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), April 2013.
- National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), October 2017.
- National Preparedness Goal, September 2015.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
- Privacy Act of 1974.
Appendix 4: Continuity Checklist
- NEW!: Appendix 4 of the Continuity Guidance Circular provides a continuity planning checklist.
- The Continuity Evaluation Tool (CET) is designed to assess Federal Department and Agencies’ continuity plans, programs and procedures; refine the assessment process and improve the level of continuity program documentation; and document elements of continuity as required in Federal Continuity Directives 1 and 2. To obtain an electronic copy of the CET, send an email request to FEMA-NationalContinuity@fema.dhs.gov.
- The Continuity Assessment Tool provides an evaluation tool for non-federal entities to identify continuity program strengths and areas for improvement.
Continuity Resources (by subject)
AAR After-Action Report
BIA Business Impact Analysis
BPA Business Process Analysis
CAG Continuity Advisory Group
COG Continuity of Government
COGCON Continuity of Government Readiness Conditions
COOP Continuity of Operations
CWG Continuity Working Group
DERG Devolution Emergency Relocation Group
ECG Enduring Constitutional Government
EMAC Emergency Management Assistance Compact
EMPG Emergency Management Performance Grant
EOP Emergency Operations Plan
ERG Emergency Relocation Group
ESA Essential Supporting Activity
FCD Federal Continuity Directive
FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
FNARS FEMA National Radio System
GETS Government Emergency Telecommunications Service
HIPAA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
HSEEP Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
HSGP Homeland Security Grant Program
ICWG Interagency Continuity Working Group
IT Information Technology
IT/DR Information Technology/Disaster Recovery
MEF Mission Essential Function
MOA Memorandum of Agreement
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
MYSPMP Multi-Year Strategy and Program Management Plan
NCC National Continuity Coordinator
NCP National Continuity Programs
NEF National Essential Function
NGO Non-Governmental Organization
NIMS National Incident Management System
PMEF Primary Mission Essential Function
POETE Planning, Organization, Equipment, Training, and Exercise
PPD Presidential Policy Directive
PSTN Public Switched Telephone Network
SLTT State, local, territorial, and tribal
THIRA Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
TSP Telecommunications Service Priority
TT&E Test, Training, and Exercise
WPS Wireless Priority Service
Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended (6 U.S.C. § 101 et seq). Established the Department of Homeland Security as a new department in the executive branch and established a number of measures aimed at protecting the national security of the United States.
National Security Act of 1947, as amended (50 U.S.C. § 3042). Mandated a major reorganization of the foreign policy and military establishments of the U.S. Government. The act established the National Security Council (NSC) as well as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (5 U.S.C. §§ 6501-6506). Requires all federal executive agencies to incorporate telework into continuity plans.
Executive Order 12148, Federal Emergency Management, July 20, 1979, as amended. Transferred all emergency management functions to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Executive Order 13618, Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions, July 6, 2012. Changed federal national security and emergency preparedness communications functions by dissolving the National Communications System, establishing an executive committee to oversee federal national security and emergency preparedness communications function, establishing a programs office within the Department of Homeland Security to assist the executive committee, and assigning specific responsibilities to federal government entities.
Presidential Policy Directive-8, National Preparedness, March 30, 2011. Calls on federal departments and agencies to work with the whole community to develop a national preparedness goal and a series of frameworks and plans related to reaching the goal.
Presidential Policy Directive 40, National Continuity Policy, July 15, 2016. Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security through the Administrator of FEMA to coordinate the implementation, execution and assessment of continuity activities among executive departments and agencies.
Presidential Policy Directive-21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, February 12, 2013. Advances a national unity of effort to strengthen and maintain secure, functioning and resilient critical infrastructure.
Continuity Essential Records Management is the identification, protection and ready availability of essential records, databases, and hardcopy documents needed to support essential functions under the full spectrum of all-hazards emergencies.
Continuity Planning for Pandemics and Widespread Infectious Diseases demands a different set of continuity planning considerations because pandemic influenza may be widely dispersed geographically and will potentially arrive in waves that could last months at a time.
Continuity Webinar Series provides a forum for sharing continuity-related information with a wide and diverse audience. The intent is to assist individuals and organizations at all levels of government as well as the private sector, to develop or enhance their continuity plans and programs.
Federal Continuity as mandated by FCD, requires all federal agencies to incorporate continuity requirements into their daily operations to ensure seamless and immediate continuation of essential functions.
Master Continuity Practitioner Program Level I provides a structure to enable those new to the field to develop the knowledge to become a professional continuity practitioner.
Master Continuity Practitioner Program Level II provides a training structure ideal to enable experienced continuity professionals to deepen their knowledge to become leaders in driving continuity concepts in their organizations.
Telework: An Essential Component of Continuity Planning in order to accomplish essential functions under all conditions. Telework and continuity share the basic objective of performing and maintaining an organization’s functions in an alternative location and method.
Whole Community Continuity ensures that organizations, communities and governments are able to support citizens in need. Whole community is a focus on enabling the participation in national preparedness activities of a wider range of players from the private and nonprofit sectors in order to foster better coordination and working relationships.
La Continuidad de Operaciones (COOP) asegura que las organizaciones puedan llevar a cabo sus funciones esenciales, proveer servicios esenciales y capacidades básicas durante la interrupción de operaciones regulares.
La Circular de Guías de Continuidad (CGC) sirve de como guía a entidades federales y no federales para desarrollar, mantener y asegurar la continuidad de operaciones y continuidad de gobierno durante una emergencia que interrumpa las operaciones regulares.
Click here for a sample Table Top Exercise (TTX) that uses Active Shooter as a scenario to address continuity-related discussion topics, including Devolution and Reconstitution.
Activation – The implementation of a continuity plan, in whole or in part.
All-Hazards – A classification encompassing all conditions, environmental or human-caused, that have the potential to cause injury, illness, or death; damage to or loss of equipment, infrastructure services, or property; or alternatively causing functional degradation to social, economic or environmental aspects. These include accidents, technological events, natural disasters, space weather, domestic and foreign-sponsored terrorist attacks, acts of war, weapons of mass destruction and chemical, biological (including pandemic), radiological, nuclear or explosive events.
Alternate Locations – Fixed, mobile or transportable locations, other than the primary operating facility, where leadership and continuity personnel relocate in order to perform essential functions following activation of the continuity plan.
Business Impact Analysis (BIA) – A method of identifying the consequences of failing to perform a function or requirement.
Business Process Analysis (BPA) – A method of examining, identifying, and mapping the functional processes, workflows, activities, personnel expertise, systems, data, interdependencies and alternate locations inherent in the execution of a function or requirement.
Cold Site – A facility that is neither staffed nor operational on a daily basis. Telecommunications, IT equipment, and infrastructure is typically present at the location, however teams of specialized personnel must be deployed to activate the systems before the site can become operational. Basic infrastructure and environmental controls are present (e.g., electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems), yet systems are not continuously active.
Continuity – The ability to provide uninterrupted services and support, while maintaining organizational viability, before, during, and after an incident that disrupts typical operations.
Continuity Advisory Group (CAG) – A sub-continuity policy coordination committee focused on interagency implementation of continuity programs. The CAG is comprised of Continuity Coordinators, or their designees, from Category I, II, III and IV organizations. Key state and local government representatives from the National Capital Region, and representatives from the legislative and judicial branches are invited to participate in meetings, as appropriate.
Continuity Capability – The ability of an organization to continue to perform its essential functions, using COOP and COG programs and continuity requirements that have been integrated into the organization’s daily operations. The primary goal is preserving of our form of government under the U.S. Constitution and the continued performance of NEFs and organizational essential functions under all conditions.
Continuity Coordinator – The senior accountable official, designated by leadership or elected officials, who is responsible for oversight of the continuity program. Continuity coordinators are supported by a continuity manager and other continuity planners within subcomponent levels throughout the organization or government.
Continuity of Government (COG) – A coordinated effort within the executive, legislative, or judicial branches to ensure that essential functions continue to be performed before, during and after an emergency or threat. Continuity of government is intended to preserve the statutory and constitutional authority of elected officials at all levels of government across the United States.
Continuity of Government Readiness Conditions (COGCON) – The COGCON system establishes executive continuity program readiness levels, focusing on emergencies in or credible threats to the National Capital Region, or affecting the performance of NEFs.
Continuity Manager – The senior continuity planner responsible for coordinating overall continuity activities within the organization or jurisdiction. This individual managing day-to-day continuity programs, coordinating continuity planners within the organization, representing his/her organization’s program externally, as appropriate, and reporting to the continuity coordinator on continuity program activities.
Continuity of Operations (COOP) – An effort within individual organizations to ensure that essential functions continue to be performed during disruption of typical operations.
Continuity Personnel – Continuity personnel, often called the Emergency Relocation Group, are those individuals identified and assigned to perform essential functions and deliver critical services in the event of a continuity plan activation.
Continuity Plan – A documented plan that details how an individual organization will ensure it can continue to perform its essential functions during a wide range of incidents that impact normal operations.
Continuity Planner – The continuity planner responsible for developing and maintaining an organization or subcomponent continuity plan and integrating and coordinating the continuity plan with broader organizational or governmental guidance, requirements and initiatives.
Continuity Program Management Cycle – An ongoing, cyclical model of planning, training, evaluating and implementing corrective actions for continuity capabilities.
Corrective Action Program (CAP) – An organized method of documenting and tracking improvement actions for an organization’s continuity program.
Devolution – The transfer of statutory authority and responsibility from an organizations primary operating staff and facilities to other staff and alternate locations to sustain essential functions when necessary.
Devolution Emergency Relocation Group – Personnel stationed at a geographically dispersed location, other than the primary location, who are identified to continue performance of essential functions.
Emergency Operating Records – Those types of vital records essential to the continued functioning or reconstitution of an organization during and after an emergency. They include emergency plans and directive(s), orders of succession, delegations of authority, staffing assignments, and selected program records needed to continue the most critical agency operations, as well as related policy or procedural records that assist agency staff in conducting operations under emergency conditions and for resuming normal operations after an emergency.
Emergency Relocation Group (ERG) – Staff assigned to continue performance of essential functions at an alternate location in the event that their primary operating facility or facilities are impacted or incapacitated by an incident.
Enduring Constitutional Government (ECG) – A cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity to the legislative and judicial branches and the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed. ECG includes the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the NEFs during a catastrophic emergency.
Essential Functions – A subset of government functions that are determined to be critical activities. These essential functions are then used to identify supporting tasks and resources that must be included in the organization’s continuity planning process. In this FCD, the term “essential functions” refers to those functions an organization must continue in a continuity situation, whether the functions are MEFs, PMEFs or ESAs.
Essential Records – Information systems and applications, electronic and hardcopy documents, references, and records needed to support essential functions during a continuity event. The two basic categories of essential records are emergency operating records and rights and interest records. Emergency operating records are essential to the continued functioning or reconstitution of an organization. Rights and interest records are critical to carrying out an organization’s essential legal and financial functions and vital to the protection of the legal and financial rights of individuals who are directly affected by that organization’s activities. The term “vital records” refers to a specific sub-set of essential records relating to birth, death and marriage documents.
Essential Records Packet – An electronic or hardcopy compilation of key information, instructions and supporting documentation needed to access essential records in an emergency situation.
Essential Supporting Activities (ESAs) – Critical functions that an organization must continue during a continuity activation, but that do not meet the threshold for MEFs or PMEFs.
Executive Branch Department and Agencies (D/As) – The Executive Branch departments and agencies enumerated in 5 U.S.C 101, independent establishments as defined by 5 U.S.C. 104(1), government corporations as defined by 5 U.S.C 103(1), Intelligence agencies as defined by 50 U.S.C. 3003, and the United States Postal Service. These D/As are referred to as “organizations” throughout this FCD.
Federal Continuity Directive (FCD) – A document developed and promulgated by DHS/FEMA, in coordination with the Continuity Advisory Group and in consultation with the Continuity Policy Coordination Committee, which directs Executive Branch organizations to carry out identified continuity planning requirements and assessment criteria.
Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) – A program that provides a set of guiding principles for exercise programs, as well as a common approach to exercise program management, design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning.
Hot Site – Hot sites are locations that operate 24 hours a day with fully operational equipment and capacity to immediately assume operations upon loss of the primary facility. A hot continuity facility requires on-site telecommunications, information, infrastructure, equipment, back-up data repositories and personnel required to sustain essential functions.
Interagency Agreement (IAA) – A written agreement entered into between two Federal agencies, or major organizational units within an agency, which specifies the goods to be furnished or tasks to be accomplished by one agency (the servicing agency) in support of the other (the requesting agency).
Memorandum of Agreement/Memorandum of Understanding (MOA/MOU) – Written agreements between organizations that require specific goods or services to be furnished or tasks to be accomplished by one organization in support of the other.
Mission Essential Functions (MEFs) – The essential functions directly related to accomplishing an organization’s mission as set forth in statutory or executive charter. Generally, MEFs are unique to each organization.
Multi-Year Strategy and Program Management Plan (MYSPMP) – A plan that guides the development of the organization’s continuity program over a set number of years via a process that ensures the maintenance and continued viability of continuity plans.
National Capital Region (NCR) – The National Capital Region was created pursuant to the National Capital Planning Act of 1952 (40 U.S.C. § 71). The Act defined the NCR as the District of Columbia; Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties of Maryland; Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties of Virginia; and all cities now or hereafter existing in Maryland or Virginia within the geographic area bounded by the outer boundaries of the combined area of said counties. The NCR includes the District of Columbia and 11 local jurisdictions in the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
National Continuity Coordinator (NCC) – The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT). The NCC is responsible for coordinating, without exercising directive authority, the development and implementation of continuity policy for Executive Branch organizations.
National Continuity Policy – It is the policy of the United States to maintain a comprehensive and effective continuity capability, composed of COOP and COG programs, in order to ensure the preservation of our form of government under the Constitution and the continuing performance of NEFs under all conditions (PPD-40, National Continuity Policy).
National Essential Functions (NEFs) – Select functions necessary to lead and sustain the Nation during a catastrophic emergency and that, therefore, must be supported through COOP, COG and ECG capabilities.
National Incident Management System (NIMS) – A set of principles that provides a systematic, proactive approach guiding government agencies at all levels, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life or property and harm to the environment.
Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) – An entity with an association that is based on interests of its members, individuals, or institutions. It is not created by a government, but it may work cooperatively with government. Such organizations serve a public purpose, not a private benefit. Examples of NGOs include faith-based charity organizations and the American Red Cross. NGOs, including voluntary and faith-based groups, provide relief services to sustain life, reduce physical and emotional distress, and promote the recovery of disaster victims. Often these groups provide specialized services that help individuals with disabilities. NGOs and voluntary organizations play a major role in assisting emergency managers before, during and after an emergency.
Occupant Emergency Plan (OEP) – A short-term emergency response plan which establishes procedures for evacuating buildings or sheltering-in-place to safeguard lives and property. Organizations may refer to this plan as the Emergency Plan or Building Closure Plan. Common scenarios that would lead to the activation of these plans include inclement weather, fire, localized power outages and localized communications outages. These types of events are generally short-term in nature.
Preparedness – Actions taken to plan, organize, equip, train, and exercise to build and sustain the capabilities necessary to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to and recover from threats and hazards.
Prevention – The capabilities necessary to avoid, prevent, or stop a threatened or actual act of terrorism. For the purposes of the prevention framework, the term “prevention” refers to preventing imminent threats.
Primary Mission Essential Functions (PMEFs) – Those MEFs that must be continuously performed to support or implement the uninterrupted performance of NEFs.
Primary Operating Facility – The facility where an organization’s leadership and staff operate on a day-to-day basis.
Private Sector – Organizations and individuals that are not part of any governmental structure. The private sector includes for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, formal and informal structures, commerce and industry.
Protection – The capabilities necessary to secure the homeland against acts of terrorism and manmade or natural disasters.
Reconstitution – The process by which surviving and/or replacement organization personnel resume normal operations.
Recovery – The implementation of prioritized actions required to return an organization’s processes and support functions to operational stability following a change in normal operations.
Redundancy – The state of having duplicate capabilities, such as systems, equipment or resources.
Resilience – The ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and recover rapidly from operational disruptions. Resilience includes the ability to withstand and recover from deliberate attacks, accidents or naturally occurring threats or incidents.
Response – The capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred.
Risk – The potential for an unwanted outcome resulting from an incident, event, or occurrence, as determined by its likelihood and the associated consequences. With respect to continuity, risk may degrade or hinder the performance of essential functions and affect critical assets associated with continuity operations.
Risk Analysis – A systematic examination of the components and characteristics of risk.
Risk Assessment – A product or process which collects information and assigns values to risks for the purpose of informing priorities, developing or comparing courses of action and informing decision making.
Risk Management – The process of identifying, analyzing, assessing, and communicating risk and accepting, avoiding, transferring or controlling it to an acceptable level considering associated costs and benefits of any actions taken.
Succession – A formal, sequential assumption of a position’s authorities and responsibilities, to the extent not otherwise limited by law, by the holder of another specified position as identified in statute, executive order, or other presidential directive, or by relevant D/A policy, order or regulation if there is no applicable executive order, other presidential directive or statute in the event of a vacancy in office or a position holder dies, resigns or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of that pertinent position.
Telework – A work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities of his/her position, and other authorized activities, from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work.
Test, Training, and Exercises (TT&E) – Activities designed to familiarize, impart skills, and ensure viability of continuity plans. TT&E aids in verifying that an organization’s continuity plan is capable of supporting the continued execution of the organization’s essential functions throughout the duration of a continuity plan activation.
Threat – Natural or manmade occurrence, individual, entity, or action that has or indicates the potential to harm life, information, operations, the environment and/or property.
Tribal – Referring to any Indian tribe, band, nation or other organized group or community, including any Alaskan Native Village as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688) [43 U.S.C.A. and 1601 et seq.], that is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.
Warm Site – Locations that have a minimum acceptable level of infrastructure in-place, and also possess the IT and telecommunications equipment to become operational as soon as possible, but not later than 12 hours after continuity activation. In order to become active, a warm facility requires additional personnel, equipment, supplies, software or customization. Warm sites generally possess the resources necessary to sustain critical mission/business processes but lack the capacity to activate all systems or components.
Whole Community – The whole community is an inclusive approach to emergency preparedness and management through the inclusion of individuals and families, including those with access and functional needs; businesses; faith-based and community organizations; non-profit groups; schools and academia; media outlets; and all levels of government, including state, local, tribal, territorial and federal partners.
Other Continuity Documents
The Business Process Analysis (BPA) and a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) Users Guide will assist whole community continuity stakeholders in conducting a BPA and BIA, which are critical steps in developing a comprehensive continuity plan.
Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101, Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans, Version 2, November 2010. Designed to assist planners in the development of Emergency Operations Plans.
Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 2, Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Guide, Second Edition, August 2013. Outlines the four-step process for conducting a THIRA.
Federal Continuity Directive-1, Federal Executive Branch National Continuity Program and Requirements, January 2017. Implements requirements, establishes the framework, requirements, and processes that support the development of continuity programs and by specifying and defining elements of a continuity plan for Federal Executive Branch Departments and Agencies.
Federal Continuity Directive-2, Federal Executive Branch Mission Essential Functions and Candidate Mission Essential Functions Identification and Submission Process, July 2017. Provides direction and guidance to Federal Executive Branch Departments and Agencies to assist in validation of Mission Essential Functions and Primary Mission Essential Functions.
Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), April 2013. Provides guiding principles for exercise programs, as well as a common approach to exercise program management, design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning.
National Incident Management System (NIMS), December 2008. A comprehensive, national approach to incident management that is applicable at all jurisdictional levels and across functional disciplines. NIMS guides all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and the private sector to work together to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from incidents.
National Preparedness Goal, September 2015. Describes a vision for preparedness nationwide and identifies the core capabilities necessary to achieve that vision across the five mission areas – Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.
Privacy Act of 1974. Establishes a code of fair information practices that governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by federal agencies.
Continuity Plan (federal) template provides instructions, guidance, and sample text for the development of continuity plans and programs in accordance with Federal Continuity Directives (FCDs) 1 and 2 for the Federal Executive Branch.
Continuity Plan (non-federal) template provides instructions, guidance, and sample text for the development of continuity plans and programs in accordance with the Continuity Guidance Circular. This template is designed for non-federal entities, and may be useful for all levels of state, local, territorial and tribal governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations.
Devolution Plan template provides a structure and recommended content for developing a devolution plan or annex.
Multi-year Strategic Plan template provides an outline of a plan that can be used to sustain and improve an organization’s continuity capability over a five-year period.
Pandemic Influenza template provides guidance to assist in creating a pandemic influenza continuity plan or annex.
Reconstitution Plan template provides a structure and recommended content for developing a reconstitution plan in accordance with FCD 1.
Telework Exercise template helps to develop an exercise to operate in a telework or socially-distanced environment.
Telework Player Handbook template serves as an exercise player handbook.
IS-1300, Introduction to Continuity of Operations This course is intended to lay the foundation of knowledge for students who wish to increase their understanding of continuity and building a comprehensive continuity program in their organization or jurisdiction. This course replaces IS-546.A Continuity of Operations Awareness Course and IS-547.A Introduction to Continuity of Operations.
E/L/G 548, Continuity Manager’s Course The purpose of this course is to provide continuity training for Program Managers at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels of government. It is critical that Continuity Managers understand their role, responsibilities, and resources available to help them develop a viable continuity capability for their organization.
E/L/G 550, Continuity Planner’s Course This course is based on the guidance to the Federal Executive Branch departments and agencies for developing Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plans and Programs. COOP Plans facilitate the performance of essential functions during any situation which may disrupt normal operations. This course provides the skills and knowledge to improve the overall quality and workability of COOP Plans.
L 552, Continuity of Operations for Tribal Governments Course This course provides tribal representatives with an understanding of how to develop and implement a Continuity of Operations Program to ensure continuity of community essential functions across a wide range of emergencies and events.
E/L 557, Mission Essential Function Workshop This course is based on the guidance to the Federal Executive Branch departments and agencies for developing Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plans and Programs. The Mission Essential Functions Workshop is to assist Federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels of government continuity personnel to develop essential functions to support continuity of essential operations during and following a significant disruption to normal operations and reconstitution.
IS-551, Devolution Planning This course is designed to provide you with the tools and practical knowledge necessary to develop your organization’s devolution plans and procedures.
IS-545 Reconstitution Planning Workshop The purpose of the Reconstitution Planning Workshop is to assist Federal Department and Agency, state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions with the importance of developing effective and comprehensive reconstitution planning.
E/L 547, Continuity Exercise Design Course This course is designed to provide participants with the tools and hands-on experience necessary to develop continuity exercises for their organization. This course begins by explaining the unique aspects of continuity exercise design. The course also provides instruction on how to develop a continuity exercise and allows participants to use what they learn to create continuity exercises in class.
IS-120.a, An Introduction to Exercise This course introduces the basics of emergency management exercises. It also builds a foundation for subsequent exercise courses, which provide the specifics of the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).
IS-130.a, How to be an Exercise Evaluator This course introduces the basics of emergency management exercise evaluation and improvement planning. It also provides the foundation for exercise evaluation concepts and practices as identified in the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program.
E 146, HSEEP Training Course This course is designed to describe the core principles and processes of HSEEP, its standardized methodology, available resources, and practical skill development, which will assist in developing an HSEEP consistent exercise program.
IS-525, Guardian Accord The purpose of Guardian Accord (GA) Workshop is to increase Federal Department and Agencies, State, territorial, tribal and local jurisdictions awareness about the importance of incorporating the specific risks of terrorism into continuity planning.
IS-523, Resilient Accord The course is to increase Federal Department and Agencies, State, territorial, tribal and local jurisdictional continuity of operations awareness and discuss how to execute continuity operations during a cyber security event.
IS-520, Introduction to Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenza This course introduces students to the characteristics of a pandemic influenza, the effects that a pandemic influenza can have on every facet of our society, and the steps their organizations can take to minimize the effects of a pandemic.
IS-522, Exercising Continuity Plans for Pandemics This course is based on the pandemic continuity tabletop exercise Determined Accord. The course covers fundamental continuity principles and processes but is focused on the special continuity requirements for pandemics.