Thursday, August 7, 2008

ERM-BC-COOP: Real threat

A Yahoo group in which I participate - not just lurk, but participate - recently had an appeal for help, bits and pieces of the thread follow.

"A friend of mine needs a template for a COOP plan for a tenant activity on a military base. I have many COOP templates, but not for a military unit. I'd appreciate your assistance.

"I'm looking for someone's experience writing a plan specifically for an individual unit in support of the overall military installation COOP.

"This guy is in Army National Guard and his civilian job is with my organization, the *. He has been tasked by his Guard unit to develop the COOP plan during his two week training, so I thought I could find a good template/plan that he could use as a guideline since he's not an experienced COOP planner."

My response to the poster was perhaps less than politically correct, although it was restrained and polite.

How anyone with any conception of ERM-BC-COOP could even suggest that a less-than-tyro could create a plan in two weeks - even with a fill-in-the-blanks template - is beyond my ken.

The officer who assigned this detail may have it "in" for the Guardsman; certainly the weekend warrior has been thrown into a lose-lose situation; worse, if he does cobble something together that hints at being a plan, it probably will be accepted and touted as The Answer To All Threats when in fact it's nothing more than wasted effort that can endanger the unit's personnel and mission.

In a word, the proposal to have an absolute novice create a plan in two weeks is, at best, "stupid."

If I wrote it, you can quote it.

The Guardsman's predicament is symptomatic of what's wrong with ERM/BC/COOP today.

Ignorance at the top expecting perfection from unskilled staff.

I'd like to invite a high school biology student to perform surgery on the officer(s) who assigned this task. I seriously doubt the officer(s) would tolerate such a situation, yet they are willing to jeopardize lives and mission by tasking an untrained person with a critical task.




John Glenn, MBCI, SRP
Enterprise Risk Management/Business Continuity
Planner @

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