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In the wake of events such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, the need for professional development programs for public officials, first responders, and emergency managers has become critical. To meet this vital need, Norwich University is proud to partner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in offering the online Continuity of Governmental Operations Certificate program.
This program prepares current and aspiring government officials at the local, state, and federal levels to develop, implement, and maintain effective continuity of operations programs at their agencies. Our program aligns with National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51, which requires that continuity programs “be incorporated into daily operations of all executive departments and agencies.” Public sector officials who complete the certificate will be prepared for the FEMA Professional Continuity Practitioners and Master Continuity Practitioner certifications.
A certificate in Continuity of Governmental Operations from Norwich University equips you with a foundation of knowledge and skills that could help you provide exceptional leadership in times of crisis at your government or private sector agency. If you aspire to a management position within your agency or other organization, our program could also help set you apart from other job candidates.
We are here to help you achieve your goals. From information on how to apply to the Continuity in Governmental Operations Certificate program to tips on how to manage your time, we will guide and support you throughout your Norwich experience.
The Continuity of Governmental Operations Certificate program is a 12-credit program comprised of two 11-week courses of six credits each. The seminars explore today’s most critical and relevant areas in business continuity management, disaster management, and emergency preparedness.
This course presents the elements necessary to develop a Continuity of Operations Plan for a governmental agency. Topics include organizational analysis, risk and threat analysis, mitigation and control strategy development and implementation, and implementation of the organizational structure needed to sustain a continuity program over time.
In this course, you will learn how to respond to incidents that affect governmental agencies. Topics include developing a response plan, emergency operations centers, emergency communication, and working with the first responder community. Students will also learn to develop off-site backups and work areas and how to put personnel and equipment in place for continued operations during an emergency.
Donal Hartman, program director for the Master of Public Administration and Master of Science in Leadership programs, has a Juris Doctor from Gonzaga Law School and a Master of Environmental Law from George Washington University. He has worked in the federal and public sector for over 35 years, most recently as the deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Corrections. His legal career includes assignments as lead counsel for the Vermont Department of Corrections and assistant judge advocate for the Air Force. Don has taught adult learners for over two decades.
Chris Ormsby has worked at Norwich University since 2002 and is currently the Associate Program Director for the Master of Public Administration and Master of Science in Leadership programs. Prior to his experience in educational administration, he served in the United States Navy as a naval flight officer, legal officer, and ROTC instructor. He received his MA in Justice Administration from Norwich University in 2004 and BA from Guilford College in history and justice policy studies. His academic research has focused on the implementation of restorative justice models and he has spent several years volunteering as a community reparative justice board member.
Carol Spaulding has been working at Norwich University for 11 years. Formerly an assistant director for the MBA program, she currently serves as both the senior student services advisor and the admissions advisor for the two online graduate certificate programs at Norwich. Carol is also the student services advisor for the Master of Science in Nursing program. She enjoys helping graduate students so they can have a great experience while in school. Carol has a BA in early childhood education and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from Norwich University. She has been married for 33 years and has two grown children.
When applying to the Continuity of Governmental Operations Certificate program, you will need to choose at the outset either the credit or non-credit option. If applying for the credit option, among the documents you need to submit for the Continuity of Governmental Operations Certificate program are an online application form; an essay that addresses your experience, prior learning, and educational and career objectives; an official transcript from an undergraduate-degree-granting institution; and two letters of recommendation. Full admissions requirements can be found at Continuity of Governmental Operations Certificate Program Admissions.
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Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST
The Continuity of Governmental Operations Certificate program is an investment in your future that we can help you manage from a financial perspective. There are many ways to get financial assistance and many strategies that can help you achieve your goals. Whatever your individual situation, we can guide you through the financial planning process.
Our admissions advisors are ready to help you plan your education at Norwich University.
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST
Extended hours available by appointment
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the massive devastation in the Gulf Coast that resulted from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 served as turning points for federal continuity planning. These two events were highly disruptive to the functioning of governmental operations on the federal, state, and local levels and resulted in questions about leadership and safety, as well as the temporary cessation of governmental care for citizens' health and welfare.
After seeing the variety of ways operations were challenged during these disasters, the federal government focused on Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning for all agencies. COOP plans are meant to ensure that in case of emergency, the essential functions of government will remain intact. The Bush administration took several major steps to strengthen continuity planning in the months and years following 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
First, President Bush signed the National Security Presidential Directive-51 (NSPD-51)/Homeland Security Presidential Directive-20 (HSPD-20) in May 2007. These presidential directives specified requirements for the development of a continuity plan across governmental agencies.
They also identified eight National Essential Functions (NEFs) that must be protected during a "catastrophic emergency," which is defined as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."
The eight NEFs include ensuring the continuation of our form of government under the constitution, providing effective leadership, stabilizing the country's financial institutions, and carrying out governmental duties to protect the health and welfare of American citizens.
The second step taken by the administration was to establish the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and that department's Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), DHS and TSA are tasked with keeping America safe from domestic emergencies and responding swiftly and efficiently when they do occur.
The challenge of COOP planning lies in the sheer quantity of details to be considered. It's not easy to organize thousands of employees over multiple locations and across a variety of agencies with different leadership structures - and yet that's exactly what COOP planning trains managers to do.
Here are just a sampling of the myriad issues involved in a COOP plan:
Ideally, every government agency on all levels will draft, and regularly revisit, a COOP plan – not only for the agency alone, but also for interagency communication and cooperation. For example, the Department of Homeland Security must have clear communication channels with the U.S. Coast Guard and Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, as well as maintaining a localized COOP plan.
FEMA has undertaken the responsibility to train agency staff in COOP planning. Their Continuity Series recognizes excellence in continuity programs, and it certifies participants as either Professional Continuity Practitioners (Level I) or Master Continuity Practitioner (Level II). According to FEMA, as of November 2011, only 598 Professional Continuity Practitioner and 79 Master Continuity Practitioner certificates had been awarded nationwide.
In alignment with this important effort, Norwich University offers a Certificate in Continuity of Governmental Operations. Officials who complete the Norwich certificate will be prepared for the FEMA Professional Continuity Practitioners and Master Continuity Practitioner certifications.