YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka completed a first-of-its-kind continuity of operations exercise (COOPEX) to test its ability to perform mission essential functions in a contested environment for its customers and mission partners.
COOPEX required synchronization among NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s 14 locations across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region spanning across multiple time zones and coordination with multiple FLCs throughout the NAVSUP enterprise.
“This exercise put the skilled logisticians—the men and women of that make up the core of this command—to the test,” said Capt. Edward Pidgeon, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka commanding officer. “COOPEX forced our personnel to take a hard look at our methods, systems and game plans in providing support to the fleet and mission partners in a contested environment.”
The self-assessment of providing products and services to afloat and ashore units was accomplished by stressing the command’s operations against various wartime scenarios. While practicing operations under these scenarios, COVID-19, an actual threat throughout COOPEX, was in place and presented a challenge to NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka personnel. The partakers had to place themselves under these contested situations while balancing the needs to meet public health requirements.
The success of both COOPEX and continuing daily operations hinged upon the vigilance and discipline required of personnel to minimize exposure and COVID-19 transmission. In many cases, there was a reduction in manning, 50% of personnel were teleworking, social distance had to be upheld in secure spaces and daily sanitization stand downs were conducted in all workspaces as an additional measure to fight COVID-19.
Throughout the exercise, different NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka sites had to respond to different kinetic events such as arson, cyber-attacks, chemical, biological and radiological attacks and more. For example, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Okinawa, under these scenarios had to explore how to shift its contracting support to other locations to ensure its critical functions could continue.
The main objective of COOPEX was to review NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s readiness in support of major theater operations plans, establishing connections between operational departments across the NAVSUP enterprise, with the intent to facilitate partnership and redundancy building. As the training scenarios progressed, a series of analyses were conducted in teams, followed by the development of action items and a realignment of priorities to improve readiness in response to the kinetic events.
Preparations for this exercise began as early as June 2019, starting with a review of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s mission essential requirements and functions needed from each department in response to multiple scenarios during hypothetical emergencies.
Many of FLC Yokosuka’s COOPEX participants indicated the exercise was challenging due to its nature and the ongoing COVID-19 constraints, but ultimately allowed them to view theoretical difficulties that may arise in contested atmospheres from a variety of perspectives and are actively developing standard operating procedures and enhancing communication methods moving forward. In the event that NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka loses any of its capabilities, it is prepared to hand off those lost functions to other fleet logistics centers to continue its missions.
COOPEX is part of a larger NAVSUP effort to drive operational awareness of what a fleet logistics center could look like under an escalated environment.
Commander, NAVSUP and 49th Chief of Supply Corps Rear Adm. Peter Stamatopoulos believes exercises like COOPEX are a pivotal ingredient to warfighting success. “We must continuously test and assess our logistics capabilities, supply strategies, acquisition tools and training needed for a high-end fight and be surge ready, poised to respond quickly to crises, contingencies and threats to the homeland,” said Stamatopoulos. “Continuous evaluation of our approach to logistics ensures our Navy’s readiness.”
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka is one of eight FLCs under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP's mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter.