The Marine Corps Mission Assurance Program was developed to modernize concepts for execution of protection related programs, as well as evolve decades-old processes of how the Marine Corps assessed the protection and security of its’ bases, operational tenants, supporting protection programs and activities.
The Mission Assurance Program foundation is based on a singular focus on our ability to execute and sustain our warfighting missions, core capabilities and functions. That ability to execute and sustain missions is analyzed through a rigorous risk-based assessment process.
Mission Assurance is executed as an integrating activity, leveraging the strengths of multiple protection programs such as Antiterrorism, Critical Infrastructure, Physical Security, CBRN defense, Emergency Management, Information Assurance, Cyber Defense and Law Enforcement to support development of a strategic and holistic view of risk to mission. The Mission Assurance Assessment integrates multiple assessment programs requirements into a single risk-based process that focuses on mission. Three key risk components comprise the Marine Corps Mission Assurance Assessment methodology:
- Criticality Assessment. This is done through Mission Analysis of individual units and commands residing on an installation or in a forward operating area. This is a key process that is executed to capture “criticality” of missions, functions and tasks. Mission analysis leads to the identification assets and infrastructure that are critical to mission execution, i.e., those assets that will cause failure or severe degradation of the mission if not available. Mission analysis allows the Marine Corps to identify and prioritize both critical assets and infrastructures, as well as their supported missions. This mission-based prioritization methodology also supports identifying priorities for allocation of protection and other sustainment resources in a constrained environment.
- All Threat and Hazard Assessment. This second leg to the risk assessment methodology identifies and prioritizes the threats and hazard environment where Marine Corps assets are located and missions are executed. Extensive analysis is undertaken to routinely develop a threat/hazard picture for 30+ individual threats and hazards. For each threat or hazard, a “likelihood” or “probability” of occurrence is provided based upon historical analysis of event occurrence and other metrics utilized by the intelligence community. The threat/ hazard assessment is then utilized to determine vulnerabilities to individual assets, infrastructure or personnel, but also to determine specific remediation/ mitigation strategies based on the effects that would be produced from the most likely threats and hazards.
- Vulnerability Assessment. This third leg of the risk assessment methodology assesses discrete asset vulnerabilities to the effects of discrete threats or hazards. The analysis is specific to the assets characteristics, weaknesses or defects in the asset when subjected to the effects of a specific threat or hazard. As an asset may not be vulnerable or impacted by some threats or hazards, yet will be significantly impacted by other threats or hazards, the vulnerability assessment methodology documents “degrees of vulnerability” for each asset and infrastructure critical to mission execution. Knowing which threat or hazard has the ability to impact or degrade an asset - as well as the probability of that threat or hazard occurring - is invaluable in determining an effective mitigation or remediation course action to protect the asset from such threat or hazard.
An equally important component to the Marine Corps Mission Assurance Program is the ability to document and share – in near real time – information on our missions, critical assets and the risk that could impact execution of the missions and core capabilities. This information sharing is done through the Marine Corps Critical Asset Management System (MCCAMS) (MAC II level system). MCCAMS is an accredited system residing on the SIPRNET that accessible not only to approved users in the Marine Corps, but its information is also available to, and shared within the Joint environment with other supported DOD Components.
The Mission Assurance Program has had a significant impact not only on the Marine Corps, but on DOD as well. DOD has leveraged Marine Corp Mission Assurance policy and methodology to initially develop a DOD Mission Assurance policy and program. In terms of the Marine Corps, Mission Assurance has had dramatic impacts in multiple areas, including but not limited to:
- Moving to a risk-based assessment program, vice a vulnerability-based program where every vulnerability must be addressed and resources expended, allows commanders to make risk-based decisions, and where warranted to accept risk to their missions.
- Tying missions and mission impact to assets and infrastructure that are critical to mission execution has also focused where the Marine Corps should be expending resources to preserve mission capability. For example, annual Marine Corps FSRM priorities for projects and funding are informed by the Mission Assurance Assessment data made available to decision makers.
- Mission Assurance concepts, processes and methodologies have been utilized, for the first time, to provide analysis and recommendations in MILCON process for constructing new installations (e.g. MCB Guam / DPRI Program) and facilities before they are built. Concepts of resiliency, energy security and operational sustainment requirements are brought to the foreground in planning, design and construction efforts.