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Division of Continuity of Operations

HHS/ASPR/Office of Incident Command and Control

Twenty-first century health security threats have increased the need for comprehensive continuity plans that enable comm​unities and organizations to continue essential functions, even while socially distancing. The HHS/ASPR Continuity of Operations Program (COOP) ensures that HHS can continue to provide critical services during disasters and emergencies when normal operations would otherwise become disrupted.

The ASPR Office of Incident Command and Control (ICC) leads the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Continuity of Operations (COOP) program. COOP is the ability to continue essential functions during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, pandemic, technological and attack-related emergencies. Continuity provides HHS with a consistent program and creates a constant state of readiness. HHS and ASPR maintain continuity facilities and systems as required by Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-40, Executive Orders (EO) 12656 and EO 13961, and Federal Continuity Directives (FCD) 1 and FCD 2. 

ASPR integrates continuity requirements into the day-to-day operations of all HHS. Continuity planning and preparations in an all-hazards and threat environment is built on the assumption that adequate warning for potential events posing a risk to operations may not be available. In this situation, ASPR and HHS prioritize service support, guidance and restrictions, and provision of personal protective equipment, treatment, and personnel. ASPR’s role in building and implementing the continuity program ensures that all required communication capabilities at HHS headquarters and alternate locations are available and functional, supporting continuity of operations activities.

The HHS COOP Program staff provide direction and guidance for continuity planning, exercises, and operational implementation to all Departmental Operating and Staff Divisions and Regional Office and define HHS’s unified COOP and Continuity of Government Programs. ASPR’s continuity plans apply risk management principles to ensure that appropriate operational readiness decisions are based on the probability of the occurrence of a catastrophic emergency and its consequences. The need to have continuity plans and pandemic plans, including strategies and procedures for devolution and reconstitution of regular operation, is required for all Federal Executive Branch Departments and Agencies, and HHS meets those requirements. HHS staff can access the internal HHS COOP portal for more information.