Every day, individuals, organizations, communities and governments provide critical services and perform essential functions upon which citizens depend. Continuity ensures that the whole community has a plan for sustaining these services and functions when routine operations are disrupted. Implementation of continuity principles ensures that organizations, communities, and governments can support individuals during a crisis.
As detailed in FEMA National Continuity Program’s Continuity Guidance Circular, our nation’s resilience is based on continuity of operations (COOP), continuity of government (COG), and enduring constitutional government (ECG) programs, which collectively provide resilience for the performance of the National Essential Functions (NEFs). The NEFs are the foundation of all continuity programs and capabilities and are the primary focus of the Federal government before, during, and after a catastrophic emergency. The Federal government maintains these functions and services with the support of Whole Community partners. The NEFs are accomplished through a collaborative effort with federal departments and agencies integrated with and supported by state, local, tribal and territorial governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and the public.
For that integration and support to be successful, organizational essential functions should be identified by Whole Community partners. Essential functions are a subset of day-to-day government functions that are determined to be critical activities. These essential functions are then used to identify supporting tasks and resources that must be included in the organization’s continuity planning process.
This “Guide to Continuity of Government for State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Governments,” a companion document to the Continuity Guidance Circular, describes the relationship between COOP, COG and ECG, and provides guidance in the form of planning factors to assist state, local, tribal and territorial governments in achieving continuity of government through a viable continuity capability in order to ensure the resilience and preservation of government in the event of an emergency.