Navy and EDS test COOP with NMCI

The Naval Network Warfare Command (Netwarcom) and EDS staged drills recently to assess the capability of EDS contractors and Navy personnel to keep the Navy Marine Corps Intranet running during a disaster.

The exercise — held April 22 and 23 at the NMCI Global Network Operations Center in Norfolk, Va., and at Netwarcom at nearby Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek — was part of an continuing set of drills aimed at to ensuring that command and control of NMCI could be preserved and transferred off-site in an emergency.

“The parameters for success were to be able to transfer command and control [of the network] from one site to another and to still be able to maintain control of the network during that process, and for the customers to know what the status was and how to reach out to us,” said Kevin Sturlaugson, manager of the center’s continuity-of-operations plans and the exercise’s leader. “This was to test our command and control for [EDS’ Global Network Operations Center] and the [center’s] watchstanders to fail over their monitoring and control of the network. It appears to have gone pretty flawlessly.”

“It was to prove continuity of operations,” said Greg Burke, EDS’ director of network operations center services for NMCI. “We have a target of [doing this] four times a year — we try to do it twice a quarter. It’s to ensure that if anything were to really happen with the location in Norfolk or anywhere else that we’d be able to retain our command and control over the network with Netwarcom, at any location, moving from there.”

Each shift manning the Norfolk center conducted a mock evacuation to a trailer on the Little Creek base, where workers  re-established their ability to manage the network.

“The scenario was a fire in the building, requiring us to evacuate the space that we were in,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Pedro Ramos. “Upon notification, the duty section packed their gear up and moved to Netwarcom.” Then the team took a kit with the gear needed to establish a temporary operations center and relocated to the trailer at Little Creek.

“This all took place in an hour and a half from start to finish,” Ramos said.

Such scenarios are not theoretical. Last May, the Norfolk center was off-line for a day and a half due to a power failure. And with hurricane season looming, the risks to NMCI’s Norfolk operations are seen as genuine.

“We’ve set up a continual routine of exercises, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t done it real-world,” Burke said. “This is more of a muscle-memory exercise.”

About the Author

Sean Gallagher is senior contributing editor for Defense Systems.

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