Not Made for TV: The Critical Behind-the-Scenes Continuity Mission

Not Made for TV: The Critical Behind-the-Scenes Continuity Mission

Not Made for TV: The Critical Behind-the-Scenes Continuity Mission

Back in the public spotlight for the first time since the Cold War thanks to the new ABC drama Designated Survivor, Continuity of Government (COG) is a lesser-known mission in the portfolio of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Federal Emergency Management Agency. As a concept, its origins lie in the dawn of the atomic era, when the new possibility of simultaneous nationwide devastation created the need for contingency plans for the worst cases imaginable.

While the nuclear threat remains, in recent years the focus of COG has expanded to include scenarios that are less extreme but still capable of disrupting the essential workings of Government in one or more parts of the country. Such risks include cyberattacks, damage to critical infrastructure, and – yes – terrorist attacks like the decapitation strike on the State of the Union Address portrayed on Designated Survivor.

To adequately prepare for this broader range of threats, and to meet public expectations of Government stability during a catastrophe, DHS must embed the ‘whole community’ concept into the COG mission space. The idea of whole community, tested in conventional emergency management settings, recognizes the roles and responsibilities of the different levels of Government, institutional actors, and private actors – and the importance of their working together before, during, and after a crisis.

Just as regular emergency management requires collaboration from many diverse stakeholders, effective Continuity of Government depends on many different actors. If a city or county government fails, or if businesses or residents don’t know how to access critical government services due to an incident, then COG efforts are inadequate.

Avoiding such a fate requires the Government to educate and continuously involve Other Federal Agencies (both inside and outside the National Capital Region); state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; the private sector; and even individual citizens. Only by working collectively and collaboratively at all levels can governments, and the institutions and individuals on whom they rely, develop a continuity capability that can maintain essential functions operational during catastrophes.

“Continuity of Community” offers the best hope for all survivors – Designated and otherwise.

About Arc Aspicio

Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. As a rapidly growing company, Arc Aspicio has a bold strategy for 2016-2018 that drives growth through new capabilities in strategy, design, human capital, data analytics, information sharing, cybersecurity, and strategic communications. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude – for its clients and its great team. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.

Blog Continuity

Contributors

Dmitriy Zakharov |

Dmitriy is a Consulting Manager presently leading a strategic foresight and planning project. He holds a BSFS in International Politics and an MA in Security Studies, both with a concentration in International Security. Dmitriy has extensive experience conducting outreach with a wide range of audiences and stakeholders, from senior government leaders to the general public. He has also worked in organizational analysis and design, enterprise data analytics, change management, and leadership transition support. In addition to client delivery, Dmitriy helps lead Arc Aspicio’s strategy consulting efforts, including the Strategy Innovation Lab (SILab). He has managed numerous community service and social events for the company and regularly provides counsel on new business and emergency management topics.

Mr. Roboto: Your Newest Coworker

Mr. Roboto: Your Newest Coworker

Could your next cubemate be a robot? Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX founder, is building our future coworkers and forming a world filled with Artificial Intelligence (AI) that could “beat us in just about everything,” including our jobs. As Musk attempts to create a real-life iRobot, many advantages and a possible partnership arise with this future. How can the Government and Homeland Security prepare and welcome new technological advancements?

Data + Strategy: Using Data to Inform Agency Strategy

Data + Strategy: Using Data to Inform Agency Strategy

Understanding the types of data available, gaining access to the right data, and making sense of data are daunting tasks for most organizations as they develop a strategy to meet mission demands and enterprise-wide goals. Data is especially challenging for the Government, yet provides the opportunity for insight for leaders as they strategically move their agencies forward.

Workplace Morale is Going to the Dogs… Literally!

Workplace Morale is Going to the Dogs… Literally!

There are few greater feelings than a dog’s unconditional love. And some are finding that a dog’s love can help combat stress at work. Secretary Zinke of the Interior Department announced his intent for "Doggy Days" where he encouraged employees to bring their canine companions to work on designated days. More than 80 dogs arrived for first event and the overjoyed employees immediately scheduled the next.

Accelerating FITARA Compliance: Five Steps That Leaders Can Take Today

Accelerating FITARA Compliance: Five Steps That Leaders Can Take Today

Implementing change is not always easy, but it is always necessary. Federal agencies have been working to transform how they acquire and manage Federal information technology (IT). The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) in December 2014 has increased visibility into this transformation.Although FITARA enhances the authority and accountability of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in reviewing and approving major IT investment projects, CIOs continue to look for new ways to implement best practices at their agencies.

Combating the Rise of Transnational Criminal Organizations

Combating the Rise of Transnational Criminal Organizations

Crime, corruption, and violence – particularly involving drug, human, and weapons trafficking – continue to increase at an alarming rate in the U.S. Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) are a critical part of this trend and pose a serious and growing threat to homeland security – at our borders and beyond.U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is at the tip of the spear to combat TCOs. With the context that the first goal in their Vision and Strategy 2020 Strategic Plan is Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime, CBP is focusing on disrupting TCOs responsible for the cross-border trafficking of illegal drugs, humans, and guns.

Design Thinking: Putting the Citizen at the Heart of Lasting Change

Design Thinking: Putting the Citizen at the Heart of Lasting Change

For the past few decades, there has been a growing increase in the digital channels available to network with the Federal government. These channels have made it easier for the public to interact and elicit responses from elected officials.These growing interactions have increased expectations for Government to be more transparent and collaborative. From the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Department of State (DOS), Design Thinking transformations have begun to develop and modernize programs to be more human-centered. Agencies and programs beholden to serve the public good should logically adopt a problem-solving mindset that places the individual at the heart of any lasting changes.

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Mission Outcomes

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Mission Outcomes

Although behavioral science has been studied and applied within academia for decades, recently the concept has emerged everywhere – from Silicon Valley tech giants such as Google and Uber, to various Government agencies including the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Agriculture.But defining and applying such a broad and sometimes-nebulous discipline can prove difficult. What exactly is behavioral science? How can the Government use the concepts and lessons learned effectively?

Crowdsourcing to Improve Security

Crowdsourcing to Improve Security

Many of us are familiar with the idea of crowdsourcing. Corporations and the Government both use crowdsourcing to generate data, raise awareness campaigns, and produce ideas. So, what if we used crowdsourcing to enhance our security and bridge communication gaps between the Government and American citizens at the same time?

Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders

Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders

The search for and implementation of innovative methods to protect the homeland should play an important role in homeland security managers’ approach to how they guide their organizations. Citizens expect government leaders to propose and implement organizational, acquisition, and personnel management practices that enhance our nation’s ability to prepare for and mitigate potential threats. They expect these to make them safer and the nation more secure.