As I write this column, another catastrophic hurricane nears landfall along our southern coastal areas, just weeks after Katrina devastated the same coastline farther east. As usual, our Sailors and Marines have stepped up to the challenge to help hurricane victims, though many are victims themselves. Reprinted in this issue of CHIPS is a Navy message from the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Michael Mullen, highlighting what our Sailors are doing to assist those impacted by Hurricane Katrina as well as the support the Department is providing to our Navy families needing assistance.
These recent events are harsh reminders of the importance of emergency preparedness, an issue that relates to all of us in the Department of the Navy (DON). Since Sept. 11, 2001, local and state governments, as well as the federal government, have been cautioning us to "be prepared." Though we usually think of such emergencies as terrorist related, the reality is that natural disasters are more likely to cause us harm than terrorist attacks. Regardless of the type of threat, the Department has been proactive in establishing processes and tools to protect our assets and people.
For example, one of our Web-enabled tools, the "DON Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Program" course, includes information on continuity of operations planning within a comprehensive discussion of what constitutes effective CIP posture. The course is available to Department personnel via http://www.nko.navy.mil and http://www.marinenet.usmc.mil. Additionally, our CIP team has developed two planning guides to assist Navy and Marine Corps personnel. The "DON CIP Remediation Planning Guide" advises on recognizing, planning and executing effective remediation actions to protect critical assets against disruptive events. The "DON CIP Consequence Management Planning Guide" provides step-by-step guidance on developing and maintaining effective continuity of operations plans and procedures. Both are available in the products section of the DON CIO Web site (http://www.doncio.navy.mil).
The DON CIP initiative was established shortly after the 1998 Presidential Decision Directive 63 called for identifying and protecting critical infrastructures. Today, the DON CIP Team leads a comprehensive DON initiative to: (1) identify cyber and physical infrastructures essential to warfighting readiness and assess their vulnerability to loss from either man-made actions or natural disaster; (2) assist in remediating those vulnerabilities to acceptable levels of risk; (3) coordinate an information-sharing indications and warnings capability in order to respond effectively to imminent threats; and (4) establish integrated consequence management plans and processes to ensure the continuity of Navy and Marine Corps critical operations.
Across the Department and in our personal lives, there are opportunities to rededicate our efforts to ensure we have effective emergency plans in place.