The DHS Inspector General released a report today that looks at TSA’s Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan, finding it “cumbersome” and non-compliant with federal regulations. From page 6 of the report:
As shown in Table 1, the TSA Headquarters (HQ) COOP Plan and Program do not fully comply with FPC 65. The TSA HQ COOP Plan and Program only partially address the 11 required elements that define a viable COOP.
TSA has developed a cumbersome COOP plan that would require more than 200 agency personnel to conduct 138 mission-essential functions at two or more different locations during the most extreme emergency situations. However, the plan provides only a minimal COOP capability because: TSA management has not adequately analyzed and approved the plan to ensure that only essential functions and associated emergency staff are included in the plan; established a viable alternate work site; or [REDACTED TEXT]. In addition, TSA program offices have not made COOP planning a priority and TSA management, until FY 2006, has provided only a fraction of requested COOP funding.
Given TSA’s relative young history as an agency, this isn’t all that surprising, and it sounds like TSA is finally working to address these deficiencies. It’s critical that all of the key operating entities within DHS have strong COOP plans, because a large part of their whole reason for existing is contingent upon operational continuity after an attack or disruptive event.