DOCI: DODD 3020.26
TITL: DODD 3020.26 Continuity of Operations (COOP) Policy and Planning, May 26,
References: (a) DoD Directive 3020.26, "Continuity of Operations
Policies and Planning," October 24, 1985 (hereby
(b) Executive Order 12656, "Assignment of Emergency
Preparedness Responsibilities," November 18, 1988
(c) Executive Order 12787, "The Order of Succession of
Officers to Act as Secretary of Defense,"
December 31, 1991
A. REISSUANCE AND PURPOSE
This Directive reissues reference (a) to update responsibilities to
ensure effective performance of critical DoD missions and continuation of
mission-essential functions during emergencies.
This Directive applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense
(OSD), the Military Departments, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff; the Unified Combatant Commands, and the Defense Agencies (hereafter
referred to collectively as "the DoD Components"). The term "Military
Services," as used herein, also refers to the Coast Guard when it is
operating as a Military Service in the Navy.
1. Continuity of Government (COG). The continuity of
mission-essential functions of all Federal Departments and Agencies
during any national security emergency through a system that:
a. Provides for succession to office and emergency delegation of
authority, in accordance with applicable law: and
b. Establishes emergency operating capabilities which include
safekeeping of key people and essential resources, facilities, and
2. Continuity of Operations (COOP). The capability of a DoD
Component to continue mission-essential functions without unacceptable
interruption. COOP planning includes preparatory measures, response
actions, and restoration activities planned or taken to ensure
continuation of these functions to maintain military effectiveness,
readiness, and survivability.
3. Mission-Essential Functions. Those continuing functions that must
be performed to achieve the DoD's critical missions. Those comprise, but
are not limited to, the following:
a. Command and control of assets.
b. The receipt, assessment, analysis, processing, display, and
dissemination of information necessary to perform critical missions and
support decision making.
c. Other operations that must be performed to achieve mission
4. National Security Emergency. Any occurrence including, but not
limited to, natural disaster, military attack, technological failures,
civil unrest, or other disruptive condition that seriously degrades or
threatens the national security of the United States.
It is DoD policy that:
1. The DoD Components shall plan for and take actions to ensure that
mission-essential functions shall continue effectively and without
interruption by establishing COOP plans that:
a. Enhance DoD COG planning.
b. Anticipate any national security emergency with flexible and
c. Are executable when there is little or no warning.
d. Anticipate hostile action directed against DoD activities anywhere
in the world. That includes surprise attacks by any means prior to
relocation or protective measures taking place. Protective plans shall be
executed when sufficient warning of destructive actions exists.
2. The DoD Components shall prioritize mission-essential functions
and identify those that can be deferred during a national security
emergency until time and resources permit restoration. The Components
shall consider the impact on other Components when identifying functions
that can be deferred.
3. COOP shall be addressed in three basic phases, as follows:
a. Pre-event actions provide protective efforts to ensure continuity
and plans to restore deferred functions.
b. Trans-event actions are taken during the causative event.
Priority shall be given to maintenance of functions, military operations
and logistical support thereof, maintenance and restoration of law and
order, military support to civil authorities, and damage and residual
c. Post-event actions shall focus on full restoration of military
operations, communications and transportation, and less essential
functions. Headquarters staffs, capabilities, and functions shall be
reconstituted as resources permit.
4. COOP plans and programs shall identify critical requirements and
procurement needs. Component management and Command, Control,
Communications, and Intelligence functions that support the National
Military Command System and the Unified Combatant Commands require
capabilities that are as robust as those of the forces and leadership
structure they support.
5. COOP plans shall specify emergency and alternate staffs as
necessary during the implementation of COOP plans such that:
a. The emergency coordinating staff (ECS) is minimal and able to
execute those tasks necessary to transition or relocate operations from a
primary to an emergency relocation site (ERS).
b. The alternate command staff (ACS) may be assigned permanently or
on rotation to an Alternate Headquarters (AH). The purpose of the ACS is
to do the following:
(1) Maintain the alternate command capability.
(2) Support the primary command center as directed until devolution
of command to the AH or an ERS occurs.
(3) Manage transition to full operations at the AH when the primary
command center is not available and perform designated functions as
c. Successors and alternates shall be designated to replace command
authorities. The conditions of replacement and responsibilities and
authorities to be delegated to successors shall be shown in each
d. Instructions for emergency staffs shall include the staff
assignments, emergency duty stations, notification procedures, and other
actions to be taken in emergencies.
6. Alternate Headquarters and Emergency Relocation Sites:
a. The DoD Components shall designate AHs or ERSs at each command
level down to the lowest level necessary to meet the intent of this
Directive. An AH or ERS may be shared with other organizations if the
operations of both can be effectively executed simultaneously.
b. Centralized coordination and documentation in the selection of an
ERS is required to prevent potential interference with or compromise of
sensitive locations or operations. The DoD Components shall designate a
single point of contact (POC) for ERS coordination. Following the
identification and coordination of candidate ERSs, the surveying,
selection, and acquisition of an ERS for fixed and mobile headquarters is
the responsibility of the DoD Component.
7. The DoD Components shall maintain current all necessary files,
documents, computer software, and data bases required to carryout COOP
plans for immediate use by emergency staffs. Plans shall include
instructions for establishing data base content, manner of preservation,
8. In the event of a national security emergency, systems of alerts,
notifications, reporting, and responses that occur in civil governments
and agencies nearly parallel those that occur in the DoD Components. DoD
Component plans and preparedness measures shall recognize, endeavor to
assist, and take advantage of any such parallel processes as provided for
by the USD(P).
9. The DoD Components shall issue detailed security classification
guidance as follows:
a. Information that may be generally unclassified includes the
(1) General duties of individuals, personal planning, advance
financial arrangements, and other administrative matters that must be
known by those involved in COOP planning unless classified due to other
(2) General information on the overall COOP planning program,
existence of DoD component alternate plans and arrangements, means to
protect vital records, and plans for periodic testing to determine
(3) Matters about executive guidance, such as the procedures for
designating successors and delegating authority.
(4) The use of the titles including the National Military Command
Center, National Military Command Center-Site R, Federal Emergency
Management Agency Special Facility, and the National Airborne Operations
b. Information that shall be considered for security classification
includes the following:
(1) How and by whom people shall be alerted and individual alerting
(2) Listing and location of indispensable records.
(3) Planning assumptions on the nature of the threat and weapons
(4) Priorities for devolution of command to and between an AH or ERS
(5) Transportation and relocation instructions including security
measures to be used to protect AH or ERS facilities and people while
traveling to and occupying facilities.
(6) Special communications preparations.
(7) Overall strength and composition of people within AH and ERS
(8) Primary and alternate command center operating details.
1. The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy shall:
a. Ensure that succession to office in the Department of Defense is
implemented per E.O. 12787 (reference (c)), as modified by law.
b. Oversee the DoD COOP program development and provide guidance.
c. Prepare the COOP plan for the OSD.
d. Receive, review, and maintain current editions of all COOP plans
and notify the DoD Components of plans that are not in compliance or are
in potential conflict with other plans.
f. Identify means that may enable the DoD Components to take
advantage of parallel processes in non-DoD organizations and disseminate
that information as needed.
g. Coordinate and oversee ERS selection and issue detailed
instructions as needed.
h. Act as POC for non-DoD COOP and related policies and programs.
i. Direct and assess periodic tests of DoD COOP plans and programs.
j. Verify DoD compliance with E.O. 12656 (reference b).
2. The Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs shall
issue public affairs guidance on DoD-level COOP policies, planning, and
implementation actions, and respond to any media or public queries about
3. The Heads of the DoD Components shall:
a. Prepare, implement, and exercise COOP plans required by this
Directive and shall provide a copy of the plan to the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff; the USD(P), and each other DoD Component or Federal
Department or Agency affected per reference (b).
b. Ensure that COOP plans are updated, tested, and validated at least
every 2 years.
c. Ensure, as follows, that emergency staff members are:
1. Cleared for access to classified materials and designated sites.
2. Available through alert notification and recall procedures.
3. Briefed on all aspects of relocating to and operating at
4. Exercised in emergency relocation at least every 2 years.
d. Coordinate all external transportation requirements with the U.S.
Commander In Chief, Transportation Command (USCINCTRANS).
4. The Secretaries of the Military Departments, besides those actions
required under subsection E.3. above, shall coordinate the development of
and provide staff support for execution of OSD and Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff COOP plans herein required.
5. The Secretary of the Air Force, besides those actions required
under subsections E.3. and E.4. above, shall develop and maintain plans
necessary for emergency evacuation for the National Capital Region and,
with any needed assistance of the other Military Departments and the
Defense Agencies, ensure that such plans and procedures provide for
orderly, phased evacuation of key people and resources during national
6. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; besides those actions
required under subsection E.3., above, shall provide planning guidance to
and coordination with the Commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands,
the Military Services, and the Defense Agencies.
7. The Commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands, besides those
actions required under subsection E.3., above, shall ensure that:
a. Where that command possesses nuclear weapons, a capability exists
to implement emergency action DoD Directives through the trans-event and
b. Non-nuclear commands shall be capable of providing essential
support required by nuclear capable commands during the trans-event and
F. EFFECTIVE DATA
This Directive is effective immediately.
William J. Perry
Secretary of Defense