Planning for recovery from a disaster is commonly recognized as an essential component in the management of risk. Continuity of operations (COOP) planning refers to the efforts of an
organization, such as a branch of government, department, or office, to ensure that the capability exists to continue essential operations in the aftermath of a comprehensive array of potential
operational interruptions. We define a COOP event as a weather, geological, or other type of event that keeps employees away from the central office for an extended period of time.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) experienced major events disrupting continuity of operations at two of its field offices (New York after September 11, 2001, and New
Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005). The recovery and reconstitution of these two field offices occurred thanks to the tireless efforts of a number of headquarters and field office staff, rather than
to prudent strategy and planning.
Currently, the development of COOP plans and strategy is the responsibility of each Agency field office director. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) finds that the lack of
headquarters oversight, as well as the lack of an Agency executive identified as a senior accountable official, as required by the National Continuity Policy, prevents EEOC from
assisting in field office COOP planning and testing.