By Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Hendricks
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT) staff conducted a two-day Continuity of Operations (COOP) exercise at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Orlando, Oct. 4-5.

This exercise is designed to demonstrate USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT's ability to exercise its Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) capabilities off-site in Orlando, and to validate the location as suitable for COOP in the event of a man-made or natural disaster. 

 "COOPing gives our leadership an increased ability to make concise decisions from an alternate location during a disaster," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ken Gulledge, COOP exercise lead planner. "Being able to operate remotely is essential because you never know what is going to happen. This exercise helped our preparedness, and we were able to correct any issues we had with our current procedures."

Upon arrival, the USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT COOP detachment conducted a safe and orderly equipment set up, and reported they were ready to assume all duties for USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT Fleet Command Center (FCC) watches within (INSERT HOURS TOOK) hours of their arrival to NSA Orlando.

To test the equipment continuity and capabilities, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Rear Adm. Sean Buck conducted a video teleconference with USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT headquarters and assets deployed in the 4th Fleet area of responsibility, and discussed the status of Hurricane Matthew.

 "Establishing effective communications will formalize our protocol and validate our ability to work at an off-site location," added Gulledge.

USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT conducts COOP exercises every two years to maintain protocol and equipment efficiency at NSA Orlando.