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109 The primary mission of an airport staff is to ensure continuous, safe, secure, and efficient operation of everything within the physical boundaries of the airport, including runways, terminals, roadways, support facilities, perimeters, and critical infrastructure. A good work- ing environment is critical to bringing about the clear, direct, and coherent communica- tions necessary to achieve this goal. The function of an ACC (and its personnel) is to collect, record, transmit, log, identify, analyze, and communicate information to facilitate smooth operations. ACC staff must do so through various circumstances and situations, from normal everyday functions to periodic irregular operations, to catastrophes that may occur only a few times in a career. For ACC personnel, knowledge of the airportâs rules, regulations, and standard operat- ing procedures, coupled with a deep understanding of the systemic ability to transmit and receive information effectively through various means, is the key to successful communica- tions. An operational understanding of the language and unique terminology/jargon used by all airport departments is essential to ensure that everyone communicates in a consistent manner. Staff is routinely tasked to pull together systems, equipment, personnel, resources, and material to resolve unusual situations, and to test, drill, and exercise skills so as to be prepared for almost anything. When an operational anomaly occurs, effective communica- tions often makes the difference between a successfully concluded incident and one with a negative effect. 8.1 Management Oversight A critical element in maintaining the effectiveness of the ACC (once it is implemented) is to ensure that ACC evolves with changes in the airport organization, structure, and mission. Major changes in the airportâs operations (e.g., a shift to a fully common use airport or the opening of a new runway or terminal) will seriously affect the ACC. Even the smallest change can affect systems, processes, and procedures, so ACC management must make appropriate modifications to ensure that changing conditions have been properly reflected in all of the ACCâs supporting documentation (including the CONOPS, situational awareness templates, policies, and stan- dard operating procedures). Depending on the structure that the airport director has chosen for ACC management, responsibility for management oversight falls on the shoulders of the ACC manager or a com- mittee of those organizations represented in the ACC. Whatever the management structure, changes must be accurately reflected in a timely and accurate manner consistent with the opera- tional change. S E C T I O N 8 Operations
110 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers 8.2 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) The CONOPS embodies the intended mission and functionality of the ACC. As the number of systems increases and the complexity of the systems grow, it is more important than ever for all ACC personnel to fully understand the CONOPS. The CONOPS provides the operational guid- ance that dictates how the systems should be used, the information that will be provided, proper maintenance of the system, and how the system will complement their own skills and expertise. This operational guidance is also outlined in the Airport Certification Manual (ACM), which is required as part of the airportâs governmental operating certification under Part 139. The ACM provides a guide for an organized and orderly approach to all operational matters at the airport, as well as a consistent training tool for ACC personnel in all the areas of operational knowledge and situational awareness in which they will be expected to function. Although each ACM will be unique to its airport, ACMs will address the physical layout and function of all facilities, the terminal and airfield, signals and markings, emergency and security programs, lighting, NAVAIDS, air traffic and meteorological services, and cargo and general aviation, among other topics. Once the entire airport physical and operational environment is documented, the airport must develop SOPs for normal daily activity as well as anomalies and irregular operations that may occur. The basic outline for the SOPs will be established during the development of the CONOPS, during which stakeholders determined each ACC function, the information needed for that function, the decision-making process, and the parameters available on which to make decisions and achieve the desired outcome. Two sets of operational guidance will evolve as the airportâs decision-making process matures. The first will address the larger and broader issue of how management operates the airport; the second will address how to operate the ACC most effi- ciently and effectively to support the smooth operation of the entire airport. The latter supports the former by demonstrating how all the facets interact and providing the means of communica- tions to facilitate the flow of information among them. The ACC SOPs are based on the CONOPS. Virtually every function listed in the CONOPS will have at least one (and likely many) corresponding SOPs. The ACC SOP document will consist of step-by-step information on executing specific ACC tasks. The airport operator probably already has a comprehensive document or at least a number of policies and procedures. It may be that the airportâs primary goal is to compile all the existing procedures, re-write them in a common format, and publish this as its SOP document. The three essential steps in the SOP process are developing a format, writing individual SOPs, and reviewing and testing draft SOPs before they are formally issued. It is important to develop a format standard that is routinely followed. No SOP format is better than any other (Appendix E provides a sample template that an airport can use if it has not already adopted one). If the airport operator wants to create its own template, the following options should be considered: â¢ A simple step format works well for routine procedures that are short and have few possible outcomes. This type of SOP is really just a bullet list of simple sentences telling ACC person- nel exactly what to do (although the SOP should include necessary documentation and safety guidelines). This format is usually used when little or no discretion is allowed. â¢ A hierarchical step format can be useful for long procedures (i.e., with more than ten steps, involving multiple decisions, clarifications, and terminology). This is usually a list of main steps all with sub-steps in a particular order. â¢ A flowchart format. If the procedure is particularly complex with multiple possible decisions, a flowchart will likely be necessary.
Operations 111 Three main factors to consider before writing an SOP: â¢ The terminology used should be consistent with the terminology used in the airport. For example, if the physical access control system has been given a local name, such as ACAMS (access control and monitoring system) rather than the more commonly used PACS (physical access control system), the local name should be used. â¢ If the SOPs will be used by non-airport personnel, who may not be familiar with airport terms, the SOPs should use little or no jargon. â¢ If the SOP is used outside of the ACC elsewhere in the airport, ensure that it is consistent with operations in both places. The SOP should have a specific function in mind, and that function should be reflected clearly in the language used. To achieve this, answer these questions: â¢ Is there a specific reason why this SOP is necessary? â¢ Will this SOP be mandated as a strict policy or will there be discretion available to those using it? â¢ How does it relate to the ACM? â¢ Does it need to stress safety measures and should it be coordinated with the airportâs public safety organization? â¢ Are there specific compliance measures that govern this SOP, such as Part 139? â¢ Is it used for training or on a daily basis? The second step is actually writing the individual SOP. In general, SOPs will consist of the following elements: â¢ The Title Page, which will include (1) the title of the procedure, (2) an SOP identification number, (3) date of issue or revision, (4) the name of the airport/division/branch the SOP applies to, and (5) the signatures of those who prepared and approved the SOP. â¢ A Table of Contents, which is only necessary to ensure ease of reference if the SOP is long. â¢ Authorization. Quality assurance/quality control for each SOP is essential. A through vetting of the SOP is essential if you expect everyone in the organization to follow the requirements. Authorization of the SOP by an authorizing official is critical, as well as the concurrence of any airport department to which the SOP applies, should be included on the SOP. â¢ References. All cited or significant references must be listed. If other SOPs are referenced, include the full SOP reference information. For each SOP, at a minimum, address the following: â¢ Scope and applicability. Describe the purpose of the SOP, its limits, and how it is used. Include standards, regulatory requirements, roles and responsibilities, and inputs and outputs. â¢ Method and procedures. List all the steps with necessary details, including references to sys- tems and equipment as needed. Cover sequential procedures and decision factors. Address the âwhat ifsâ and the possible interferences or safety considerations. â¢ Clarification of terminology. Identify acronyms, abbreviations, and all phrases that may not be common for the airport. â¢ Public safety considerations. This should be its own section and relevant items should be provided alongside the steps where such items may be an issue. â¢ Equipment and supplies. Provide a complete list of what is needed and when, where to find equipment, standards of equipment, and so forth. â¢ Risk assessment. Identify potential issues that may affect the successful completion of the SOP. Develop mitigating steps for each possible risk. â¢ Writing that is concise and easy to read. Because an SOP may be referred to in emergency or crisis situations, the SOP should be clear, to the point, and easy to read. Unless great detail is essential, an SOP should be considered a quick reference.
112 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers â¢ Control document notation. The SOP is one of many SOPs; therefore, each SOP must be accurately cataloged using a taxonomy system similar to the guidance provided in Section 2.1 of this Guidebook. Each page should have a short title or ID #, a revision number, date, and âpage # of #â in the upper right-hand corner (for most formats). The third step is reviewing and testing the draft SOP. Involving personnel in developing the SOP will make it more likely that they will accept the SOP. The review process before the SOP is formally issued is as important as writing the SOP. Every SOP must be thoroughly vetted by management and especially by the staff who will execute the SOP. The SOP must be tested. Ideally, have someone with a limited knowledge or even no knowledge of the process use the SOP to guide them through the steps. Look for inaccuracies, areas that are ambiguous, and especially anything that could affect the safety of the public or airport personnel. It is a best practice to have multiple personnel test the SOP because different individuals will have different issues, thereby ensuring a wider variety of comments. 8.3 Human Resource Management Managing ACC personnel is a big challenge in the airport environment. Depending on the functionality of the ACC, the size of the staff, the number of systems, and the level of activity in the airport, the stress level of ACC personnel can be high, especially during irregular operations and emergency conditions. Airport management must strive to eliminate unnecessary stress so that personnel can focus on the issues at hand without distraction. This Guidebook presents recommendations for airport management to consider in its efforts to alleviate stress. 8.3.1 Stress Management Airport management needs to understand that working in the ACC, especially soon after it is established, will increase the stress levels of the personnel. New procedures, new physical work- ing environment, new coworkers, and, especially, new lines of communications will all increase the level of stress in the environment. Furthermore, as the ACC moves into an operational state, some systems will not work exactly as planned and will need to be adjusted and SOPs may have some flaws. Job stress results from the interaction of the personnel and the conditions of work. Each employee will respond to the new working environment differently. What is stressful for one person may not bother someone else. Airport management must be sensitive that the âone-size- fits-allâ approach may not be effective for a highly active ACC. Conditions that may lead to stress include the following: â¢ Poor task design (e.g., heavy workload, infrequent breaks, long work hours, hectic and/or routine tasks with little inherent meaning) â¢ Ineffective management style (e.g., lack of participation by staff in decision-making, poor communication in the organization, and lack of employee-friendly policies) â¢ Poor interpersonal relationships (e.g., poor social environment and lack of support or help from coworkers and supervisors) â¢ Unclear and/or inappropriate work roles (e.g., conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility, too many âhats to wearâ) â¢ Environmental issues (e.g., unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions, such as crowding, noise, air pollution, or ergonomic conditions) â¢ Technology overload. (e.g., the number of communication systems presentâcell phones, email, the Internet, and all of the airport systems that converge in the ACC make it increas- ingly difficult to focus).
Operations 113 8.3.2 Management Role Airport management plays an important role in ensuring that the ACC environment is as stress-free as possible by engaging in employee-friendly activities that promote an atmosphere conducive to carrying out the mission of the airport, as well as attending to the needs of the personnel. Examples of employee-friendly policies and approaches include â¢ Mandated breaks and desk-side exercises. Mandated breaks and desk-side stretching exer- cises have been shown to reduce strain and fatigue when practiced regularly. Breaks allow the operator to ârebootâ mentally, and simple activities like standing, stretching, and bending to touch toes for a few minutes can reinvigorate the body, which also helps to refocus the mind and prevent fatigue. â¢ Employee recognition activities. Rewards for positive behavior encourage employees to find new approaches to difficult tasks. â¢ Employee social activities. Social activities help to create a community feeling in the ACC. This is especially important where the ACC is composed of organizations that formerly did not work in the same physical location. â¢ Developing a sense of community. Use of ACC polo shirts, jackets, hats, and so forth help to convey the ACCâs importance in the airport structure. One of the more effective tools is to create an intra-organizational group within the ACC of employees from each function or organization who can discuss issues and provide recommen- dations to management. Although typically non-binding, these groups can be used to channel employee concerns into positive results. 8.3.3 Pandemic Planning Because ACC personnel play a critical role in ongoing airport operations, the ACC must be fully staffed at all times. A pandemic plan should detail how the airport ACC will continue to operate through a sustained period with significant employee absenteeism. The plan should also specify measures for ânon-pharmaceutical intervention,â which means, essentially, how the airport will minimize the risk of contagion among employees. One of the simplest ways for an airport operator to reduce the spread of contagions is by supplying hand disinfectant and wipes at every workstation in the ACC. It may even be advantageous to allow each employee to have their own keyboards which they can store solely for their use. If the airport has already established a pandemic plan, then the plan simply needs to be modified to include the ACC and any additional provisions for the ACC. 8.4 Staff Training All ACC personnel should be familiar with and trained on all aspects of the ACCâs operations, including the CONOPS, SOPs, and the Facility Security Plan (FSP) (Section 8.7). All airport per- sonnel should receive refresher training in their assigned duties annually. Tabletop exercises are an effective and cost-efficient method of validating the CONOPs, SOPs, and FSP and will help in identifying areas for improvement and soliciting feedback from those who regularly execute these documents. At a minimum, training should be conducted with participation of the ACC and all levels of the airportâs security and facility operations. Additional training should be scheduled whenever there are significant changes to the ACC mission, personnel, or function as identified in the CONOPS. Training of airport staff should be equipment and system specific. Cross-training should be considered whenever possible, especially in medium and small air- ports where a single individual has more than one role.
114 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers 8.5 Facility Operations and Management Ensuring that the ACC maintains a comfortable working environment is critical. Every aspect of the working conditionsâfrom lighting to temperature control to physical spaceâmust be maintained in the most pleasant condition possible. Typically, the airportâs facility management staff will be responsible for the physical nature of the ACC. The following topics should be given special consideration: Environmental issues that need to be addressed include the following: â¢ Temperature and Humidity. Suitable temperature and humidity are extremely important for human comfort and efficiency and to protect equipment. Temperature control is one of the most impactful aspects for an ACC, because temperature can make operators uncomfortable, thus lowering their information absorption and situational awareness and distracting them from their duties. The number one complaint received by facility management (both in ACCs and in general office space) is that temperatures in the space are too low or too high. Temperatures in the ACC need to be controlled effectively, despite the presence of heat- generating equipment that varies in intensity and hours of operationâthis can be difficult if the ACC shares HVAC systems and controls with adjacent spaces. Ideally, the ACC will have dedicated HVAC units and controls. The latest advance in environmental control in ACCs is the installation of heating and cool- ing ducts in consoles. This allows each operator to adjust temperatures to their specific require- ments. This is the most comfortable system for ACC staff, but it also entails a significant cost and requires a raised floor to allow duct distribution. Although it is possible to run ducting from the ceiling to each console, this introduces a âforestâ of ducts that would block sightlines. Humidity control is important to staff comfort and to prevent low humidity (which can cause excessive build-up of static electricity that can damage sensitive electronics) and high humidity (which can cause condensation inside equipment). â¢ Lighting. Lighting is an important physical consideration in an ACC. Lighting must be appro- priate for both monitoring large-screen displays, perhaps from as far away as across a room, as well as for individual workstations. Enabling each employee to manage the lighting at their own individual workstation is important for ergonomic reasons and for increasing employee satisfaction. 8.5.1 Facility Management The ACC facility is an important part of the operational structure of most airports and will vary depending on the size and complexity of the airport and the user requirements as developed in the CONOPS. The ACC may combine several different facility operations with somewhat different functions, built on a common integrated infrastructure to leverage multiple commu- nication links throughout the airport. These functions may include police, fire/rescue, airport operations, and mutual-aid assistanceâall of which may need secure communication chan- nels to federal, state, and local agencies. These communication links may be used for allocating resources, gathering of information, and/or coordinating action. Operational space considerations include the following: In most ACCs, different missions have different profile requirements. Having different func- tions in the ACC will require consideration of how the functions operate in parallel. The most common functions are â¢ The AOC, which focuses mainly on daily airport operations. The AOC manages routine daily work, with occasional emergency response activities. AOCs may also include monitoring building functions such as building automation and asset and maintenance management.
Operations 115 â¢ The EOC focuses on managing emergencies. An EOC is generally not occupied until it is âactivatedâ by an incident. Technology infrastructure should be designed to accommodate unfamiliar outside users from multiple organizations and should be scalable for the sudden influx of people when emergencies occur. â¢ The Security Operations Center (SOC) manages video surveillance, alarms, access control, and other daily security systems. SOCs support routine work and frequent coordination with emergency response activities. SOCs often use large-format video displays for showing multiple video surveillance feeds. â¢ Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) are charged with managing public safety personnel, (e.g., police, fire, and EMS). â¢ Fusion Centers are designed to support the interaction of multiple organizations in a facility that encourages collaboration. Fusion Centers are typically used by government agencies to collaborate on intelligence issues and exchange knowledge not easily communicated via more formal channels of communication. At an airport, Fusion Centers may not be staffed full time. When multiple types of operations occupy the same space, there may be advantages during emergencies, allowing easier communications among emergency managers and representatives of other outside groups who have been called in to coordinate multi-jurisdictional response teams. However, there may be a negative effect if dealing with an emergency is allowed to affect normal daily functions. If properly designed, the ACC should be able to accommodate these emergency management functions without disruption. However, once operational, if the ACC experiences difficulties in housing various functions, some architectural changes may be neces- sary. For example, glass walls and/or doors or movable walls are a simple way to maintain the integrity of each operation, while allowing collaboration when appropriate. Glass walls or doors can also allow visual communications between EOC and AOC/SOC staff and enable sharing of visual resources (e.g., video walls). 8.5.2 System Maintenance Plan System maintenance (e.g., repair, spare parts, technical support, and maintenance) for the installed ACC will depend on whether the procuring authority or a contractor is responsible. In either case, a system sustainment plan should be developed that describes the approach, includ- ing the personnel, equipment, and facility resources required. 8.6 Facility Security The safety and security of the ACC are of critical importance. As the nerve center of the airport operation, the ACC must be able to operate without interruption in the event of any natural or human-made occurrence. The risk assessment (recommended during the project management phase of the project implementation) should thoroughly cover any potential risk that the ACC could face. Revisit the risk assessment regularly, but at least annually, to ensure that risks are correctly listed and mitigation activities remain relevant to the risk. An airport should prepare for the unthinkable when planning the security of its ACC. For example, on April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, OK, was destroyed by a massive terrorist attack, killing 168 people. In addition to the tragic loss of life, the regional offices of six federal agencies housed in that building lost the ability to operate for as long as 2 years after the bombing because of the loss of records, systems, documentation, and other operational tools. Although it is hoped that there will never again be an attack of that magnitude on U.S. soil, some of the lessons learned from that tragic day and the measures later prescribed by the federal government for its buildings are relevant to an airport ACC.
116 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers Perhaps the most important recommendation is the creation of an FSP. The FSP need not be a large document, but it should provide the necessary guidance to ensure that the ACC is pro- tected. An FSP is a critical component of the airportâs overall security program and should be stored in both an electronic format, as well as hard copy for ease of access. Depending on the airport organization, a unit may already be in place which is responsible for ensuring the physical safety and security of all airport facilities. However, where such a group does not exist, the airport may want to create an ACC Facility Security Committee (FSC) respon- sible for addressing ACC-specific security issues and approving the implementation of protective measures and practices. It is a best practice for each FSC to have one individual designated to manage the FSC. That person is most likely to come from the airport organization managing the ACC. Alternatively, a designee may be selected by mutual agreement of all ACC organizations. The selected person is responsible to the airport director for any issues regarding the FSP. Different airport organizations (some even external) are responsible for physical security at an ACC. Each of these organizations should be represented on the FSC. 8.6.1 Facility Security Assessment The FSC is responsible for performing a facility security assessment (FSA) and presenting it to airport management for review and approval. The assessment will include an evaluation of the facility to determine whether the baseline level of protection anticipated for the ACC is adequate or if additional levels of protection are necessary. The assessment will also include a written plan for proposed countermeasures and identify how risks associated with specific, credible threats will be mitigated. This will include developing SOPs for countermeasures where appropriate. The FSA should also include a technology-specific disaster recovery plan and technology busi- ness continuity plan. The airportâs Chief Information Officer or IT Director is responsible for the management, implementation, and usability of information and computer technologies and for contributing the technology portion of the FSA. 8.6.2 Development of the FSP Developing and implementing an effective FSP requires understanding events that could threaten the ACCâs personnel, operations, and information. Assessing and categorizing the consequences of these events is the basic function of a risk management process. Once risks to a facility are accurately assessed, the FSC can determine whether countermeasures in place are adequate to address or mitigate those risks or if additional procedural, programmatic, or physi- cal security countermeasures must be implemented. A step-by-step process to identify key security risks and necessary measures and options to mitigate those risks includes the following: â¢ Perform a threat assessment. A threat assessment is the process of identifying or evaluating entities, actions, or occurrences (natural or human-made) that possess or indicate the poten- tial to interfere with the ongoing operations of the ACC. A threat assessment considers the full spectrum of threats (e.g., natural, criminal, terrorist, and accidental) for the ACC. Threat data has likely already been developed for the airport as a whole. Special consideration for the ACC must be given using this data. â¢ Perform an impact assessment. An impact assessment is the process of identifying or evaluat- ing the potential or actual effects of an event, incident, or occurrence on the ACCâs functional- ity. The results of the impact assessment can also be used to prioritize resources. â¢ Perform a vulnerability assessment. A vulnerability assessment is the process of identifying physical features or operational attributes that may render the ACC susceptible or exposed to identified threats.
Operations 117 â¢ Perform a risk assessment. A risk assessment is the process of collecting information and assigning values to risks for the purpose of informing priorities, developing or comparing courses of action, and informing airport management. A simple approach is to define risk with descriptions ranging from Level I (Low Risk) to Level V (Very High Risk). 8.6.3 Security Countermeasures Security countermeasures identify and describe in detail all current and planned security countermeasures (including floor plans when available) to address all identified threats. A test- ing schedule performed by the airport security team and an SOP for responding to security incidents and emergencies are necessary. 8.7 ACC Backup Site In the event of a catastrophic occurrence that disables the primary ACC site, airport manage- ment should have a business continuity plan in place that enables the ACC to continue operating in an alternate site until the primary ACC has been restored to working condition. For planning, an ACC can be considered in the same manner as a data center and many of the main concepts in data center redundancy planning can be followed. The backup ACC site decision will affect the airportâs ability to communicate in adverse scenarios. Factors to consider include the following: 1. Hot, Warm, or Cold Site. Using terminology typically found in data center backup site selec- tion, an airport needs to decide what level of readiness to seek to maintain, with cost being the primary determining factor. When doing a risk assessment, an airport operator must decide on the likelihood of a major disruptive event and choose an appropriate level of backup. â A hot site is a recovery site that is basically a replica of the primary site. All of the systems, equipment, and functionality are available at a momentâs notice and all that is necessary is a transfer of personnel from the disabled primary site to the backup. Although the most effective when in a recovery mode, this is the most expensive approach because every aspect of the primary ACC must be acquired in duplicate. â A warm site has most of the equipment found in the primary ACC, but requires a short start-up time to be up and running. Activity during this time may include re-directing network resources and phone systems to the new physical location. A warm site is less expensive, but still requires a substantial initial investment. â A cold site is little more than a space identified as a backup site. It will have little to no equipment, will take the longest time to get up and running in an emergency, and is the least expensive option. 2. Distance from the Primary ACC and the Airport. Another factor in selecting a site for a backup facility is the distance between the primary ACC and the backup site, given that dis- tance will affect various factors (e.g., access by personnel, potential for the same issue to affect both the primary and the secondary sites, and the latency and performance of applications). The goal is to locate the backup site far enough from the primary site so that both are not affected by the same event, but near enough to mitigate other potential issues. 3. Seismic Zone Details. A seismic zone is a region where seismic activity is usually constant. An airport probably cannot locate its backup ACC in a different seismic zone, but assessing the likelihood of an event is important for determining the level of investment needed for the type of backup site developed. 4. Environmental Details. Environmental details (e.g., weather) should be assessed for like- lihood and risks should be considered when determining the level of investment needed for the type of backup site developed. 5. Network Latency. For the backup strategy to work, the redundant ACC must be capable of communicating the same way as the primary site. The same level of network communication throughput must be made available at both sites.