Incident Command - Continuity Branch

Continuity Branch

Once a large scale event occurs resulting in full implementation of UIC’s All-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan, academic and administrative continuity considerations require assimilation into the Campus’ ICS, focusing on the COOP organizational model and the integration of the COOP branch into the UIC’s command structure.   The primary consideration for this COOP branch is to assemble a management structure, with specific roles and responsibilities that will unify the emergency activities and transition seamlessly from response to recovery.  This COOP organizational model provides the clear reporting channels when the Campus COOP plan is activated.  The leadership team structure is flexible and expands and contracts to the size and magnitude of the emergency. The functions of the COOP branch include:

  • Assisting the Campus’ response with timely and thorough notification of campus recovery support teams;
  • Facilitating the acquisition of and access to critical recovery resources (personnel, space, technology, equipment, supplies, etc.);
  • Supporting the ICS Planning and Logistics branches; and
  • Coordinating the restoration of academic, administrative, and research functions, and technology requirements.

This ensures that critical functions are maintained, restored and/or augmented to meet the RTOs and the recovery strategies outlined in the unit-level University of Illinois Ready continuity plans.

While the campus is in response mode, the COOP command will be concentrating on support and coordination with other branches, as well as efforts to move the campus back to normal operations.  Unit leaders and coordinators within the COOP branch will play multiple support roles to the other branches of the ICS. These campus support roles help maintain mission critical services and vitally important in determining the activities and prioritization of restoration and service resumption.

The key command position is the COOP Coordinator (the Coordinator), who is charged with coordinating all recovery operations in the event of an emergency.  The Coordinator will provide oversight through the ICS (as depicted on the organizational chart on the previous page) and facilitate communication between the Campus emergency response teams and the COOP branch leads from the impacted areas, units, departments, and colleges.  

Recovery Unit Leader(s) [Leader(s)] will consist of department/unit level administrators from the colleges and administrative units responsible for facilitating the recovery effort for critical campus functions and quickly resolving management issues. These administrators are accustomed to communicating with senior management and resolving problems during normal operations. During an emergency event that compromises the critical nodes of the campus’ academic, economic, social, and/or communications networks, unit level administrators will be expanded to serve as Leaders. Necessary in establishing an organized flow of information, the Leader(s) compile, maintain, and communicate incident situation information (e.g., impacted areas, resources status, etc.) to the Coordinator, as well as to their respective Dean, Director or Department Head.  Each Leader will need to ensure:

  • Normal (day-to-day) operating conditions are provided for within their units;
  • Normal staffing requirements are fulfilled;
  • Critical administrative, academic, and research functions are continued (note: functions, although essential to campus units, can be curtailed during an emergency event, based on the units impact tolerance RTO);
  • COOP recovery organizational structure, succession order, communications, and resumption activities are addressed;
  • Facilitate accreditation policy and protocol provisions under emergency conditions; and
  • Fulfill unit-specific risk reduction, resumption, and recovery functions and responsibilities as delineated within the units University of Illinois Ready continuity plans to facilitate return to normal operations.

The Campus Support Teams (CSTs) provide basic information for coordinating campus-wide departmental/unit support during response and recovery efforts. In accordance with the National Response Framework (NRF) and as directed by the campus’ All-Hazards Emergency Operations Plan, CSTs will identify how Primary (P) units/departments at UIC will provide infrastructure services internally and externally to the campus community.  The CST function matrix illustrates the specific functional campus departments/units, as well as outline the responsibilities and operations of each CST function.

UIC also relies on an external resource network of service providers to maintain the campus’ essential mission-critical functions. The reliance on External Service Providers (ESP) has been identified to extend far beyond other local and state agencies to include private sector vendors, donors, suppliers, and contractors.  (For example, the Campus, as a major research university, relies heavily on National Institutes of Health for reports, data, and analysis for grant research activities.) The Campus COOP will identify the network of ESPs needed by the colleges and administrative units. Support agreements (Memorandum of Understanding – MOU or Memorandum of Agreement – MOA) may need to be developed, such as emergency procurement and human resources staffing contracts, to ensure an acceptable level of operations is maintained.  In accordance with the University’s emergency procurement policy, the Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS) will act as the single point of contact with all ESPs for such purchases.