14 May 2004

DHS | Department of Homeland Security | Fact Sheet: Forward Challenge 04

DHS | Department of Homeland Security | Fact Sheet: Forward Challenge 04:

Press Releases

Fact Sheet: Forward Challenge 04

During May 12-13, 2004, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is conducting the first ever, federal-government wide continuity of operations (COOP) exercise 'Forward Challenge 04.' More than 40 federal agencies, including DHS, are testing and evaluating COOP procedures during a simulated terrorism-based scenario to ensure essential functions and responsibilities continue during an emergency or situation that may disrupt normal Federal government operations. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the Department of Homeland Security, has responsibility for oversight and management of the Federal Executive Branch COOP program.

A threat or emergency condition may require federal departments and agencies to relocate to alternative sites. Based on FEMA Federal Preparedness Circulars, all Federal agencies and departments have COOP plans that ensure capability to perform essential functions under various conditions. Federal departments and agencies must conduct tests, training and exercises to demonstrate capability of plans.

The objectives of this exercise are focused on executing the COOP at the Federal level. In an actual event, notification, communication and coordination with our state, local and private sector partners would be a top priority, but for the purposes of this exercise we are focusing on the Federal level.

Objectives for Forward Challenge 04 exercise include:

* Establishing an operation capability at an alternate facility;
* Implementing succession and delegation of authority plans;
* Demonstrating an interoperable communications capability;
* Demonstrating a redundant communication capability; and
* Demonstrate the ability to access vital records necessary to conduct normal operations from a designated alternative location.

Forward Challenge 04 provides the framework for testing interoperability and interconnectivity between Federal departments and agencies from individual COOP sites throughout the United States and will ensure compliance with a recently mandated requirement to engage in continuity of operations activities. Federal departments and agencies will be evaluating their individual response."

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