Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What is the Technical Resilience Navigator?

    The Technical Resilience Navigator (TRN) is a risk-informed resilience planning tool that helps organizations manage the risk to critical missions from disruptions in energy and water services. It provides a systematic approach to identifying energy and water resiliency gaps, and developing and prioritizing solutions that reduce risk and address other site priorities. The TRN enables organizations to be proactive in identifying and addressing vulnerabilities to their critical energy and water systems to reduce outage impacts, and support continuous mission operations which could result in cost and waste reduction. The TRN also provides resources and links for more in-depth information on relevant topics.

  2. What does it mean to be resilient?

    Resilience refers to the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and to withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions through holistic planning and technical solutions. Highly resilient systems have the ability to prevent disruption or reduce the magnitude or duration of disruptive events caused by hazards. The resilience of a system can be characterized in terms of four key attributes; resourcefulness, redundancy, robustness, and recovery:

    • Resourcefulness, or preparedness, is the ability to prepare for, respond to, and manage a disruption. This includes identifying solutions, business continuity planning, training, supply chain management, prioritizing actions to control and mitigate damage, and effective communication.
    • Redundancy includes back-up resources and islandable onsite generation systems to support primary systems in case of failure, which could include redundant generators serving critical power loads, water storage tanks servicing critical water loads, and reliable redundant and secondary redundant systems that enable the continuity of operations during a disruptive event, such as a utility outage.
    • Robustness is the ability to maintain critical operations and functions during a disruptive event. This includes the building itself, the design of the infrastructure (office buildings, power generation, distribution structures, bridges, dams, levees), or system redundancy and substitution (transportation, power grid, communications networks).
    • Recovery is the ability to return to normal operating conditions as quickly and efficiently as possible after a disruption, which may include carefully drafted contingency plans, competent emergency operations, and having the right people and resources in the right place at the right time.
  3. What are the benefits of using the TRN?

    The TRN provides many benefits, such as:

    • A risk-informed approach that actively assesses site risk and how resilience solutions can lower that risk.
    • A modular approach that allows users to focus on their specific areas of interest.
    • Actionable results centered on solutions that can enhance site resilience.
    • Outputs that can easily be incorporated into resilience plan documentation.
    • A repository of useful resources such as links to best practices, checklists, and other helpful resilience materials.
  4. Why is the TRN focused on energy and water resilience?

    The TRN focuses on energy and water systems for two primary reasons:

    • Energy and water are the two keystone systems on which all other systems rely for proper function. Preserving functionality of these key systems is essential for the maintenance of a site’s ongoing mission during an adverse event.
    • The components that constitute energy and water systems are vast and diverse, often requiring substantial partnership and coordination to manage, providing significant complexity for resilience planning.
  5. What is the relationship between risk and resilience?

    Risk is the “relationship between a particular hazard or threat that might degrade the performance of infrastructure and the consequences that might result from a degradation of performance.1” Risk is determined through analysis of: 1) the probabilities of different types of hazards or threats occurring (H); 2) the probabilities that the site’s vulnerabilities would prevent the site from withstanding those hazards or threats and maintaining critical missions (V); and 3) the consequences should the hazards or threats occur and the site’s protective systems fail (C). At a high level, risk is calculated by multiplying the hazards and threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences:

    Risk (R)=Hazards and Threats (H)*Vulnerability (V)*Consequence(C)

    Resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and to withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions, whatever the cause of that disruption. Resilience is often characterized using attributes such as resourcefulness, redundancy, robustness, and recovery. Enhancing resilience will reduce unacceptable risk by improving one or more of the resilience attributes. An organization that has prepared for and is able to respond quickly to a disruption to reduce the downtime of a mission is more resilient than an organization that has not prepared for such events. The organization could accomplish this by addressing a vulnerability (e.g. increasing the reliability of redundant energy or water systems), reducing a consequence (e.g. creating a work-from-home plan in the event of an outage), or reducing the probability that the hazard (an outage) would occur (e.g. working with the utility to add a new water supply line to the site). In each case, these resilience-enhancing actions reduce risk. A successful resilience solution will reduce unacceptable risk and increase resilience.

  6. What is meant by the TRN’s risk-informed approach?

    A risk-informed approach is one in which quantified risk is among the considerations of decision-makers in managing the design and operations of a system or collection of systems. The TRN takes a risk-informed approach to developing and assessing the effectiveness of resilience solutions. Users will conduct a risk assessment to focus on the hazard and threat scenarios, vulnerabilities, and water and energy loads that contribute most to the outage risk of critical missions. The user can then reassess what the site’s risk would be if a potential resilience solution were to be implemented to determine its risk reduction efficacy. The ultimate prioritization of resilience-enhancing projects in the TRN takes into account not only risk reduction, but also allows for the incorporation of other site and organizational priorities.

  7. How does the TRN deal with sensitive or classified information?

    All information in the TRN worksheets can be stored on user computers behind their own organizational firewalls. All organizational protocols related to sensitive and classified information should be maintained while using the TRN. Please keep in mind that compiling information in one location may turn previously unclassified information into more highly sensitive or classified information. If users aren’t certain about the sensitivity of information, it is important to involve site security to review documentation and provide guidance on handling and protecting information.

  8. How long will it take to complete the TRN?

    The TRN encompasses a broad range of data collection and analysis processes that can be approached with varying degrees of detail. Therefore, the time needed to go through the entire TRN process can vary significantly based on the site size, level of detail incorporated into the process, and amount of staff time allotted to the process.

  9. What kind of support will DOE provide to users of the TRN?

    The TRN is designed to be used independently by sites that are engaged in the resilience planning process. The availability of informational resources are intended to provide the needed background material to understand the TRN process. FEMP is available to answer user questions and provide limited technical assistance on its use. Please contact FEMP at for more information.

Site Level Planning

  1. How does the TRN contribute to existing organizational resilience planning efforts?

    The TRN is intended to complement the existing resilience planning efforts of an organization by providing information and resources that can be included in these activities. For organizations without existing resilience planning processes, the TRN offers a step-by-step approach to help build an understanding of plans, priorities, and baseline conditions related to energy and water systems, and what types of gaps might expose the site to risk. The worksheets contained in the TRN are designed to record foundational information that is needed for resilience planning. Additionally, the TRN provides guidance on moving resilience solutions beyond conception to implementation by providing resources that help to make a business case for implementing those solutions.

  2. What is the difference between a critical mission and a critical function?

    All organizations have missions or objectives that describe what they do and are trying to achieve. The TRN uses the term critical mission to refer to an organizational goal or set of requirements of such high importance that it must be fulfilled. Critical functions are the specific procedures, tasks and decisions that ensure the critical mission will be sustained under all potential operating scenarios (i.e., normal operations, emergency operations, peak or high-tempo operations). Critical functions can include direct mission-support functions (e.g., analyze and provide intelligence, provide prison security, preserve genetic material), as well as operational support functions (e.g. provide emergency response). While the TRN provides a framework for categorizing missions and functions as critical for the purposes of resilience planning, the approach is not prescriptive. Organizations are encouraged to use their existing designations of critical missions and functions if available, or to classify their missions and functions based on the unique characteristics of their site.

  3. What are criticality weighting factors and how are they used in the TRN?

    The outcome of the TRN Risk Assessment is a risk score associated with each energy or water load supporting a critical function. The TRN uses the term “criticality” to refer to the relative importance of a function or energy or water load (end use), given the site’s missions. While multiple functions could support a critical mission, the loss of some functions could have a more dramatic impact on the ability of a site to achieve its critical mission. To ensure that solutions aimed at safeguarding these most critical functions are prioritized, the TRN allows users to apply criticality weighting factors to their critical functions. These critical function weightings can then be applied to each load that supports that function. Note that the risk assessment will favor projects that enhance resilience for critical functions with the highest criticality weighting over other projects with similar risk reduction potential. Large differences in the weights between different functions (e.g. 1, 10, 100) will result in a higher likelihood of prioritization for projects impacting highly critical functions relative to small differences in weights (e.g. 1, 2, 3). In the TRN, the highest numerical weight represents the most critical function (e.g., a function weighted as a 10 will be calculated as more critical than a function weighted as a 1).

Baseline Development

  1. What do I do if my site does not have all of the detailed energy and water use information specified in the Baseline Development worksheets?

    Since all sites do not have the same level of energy and water use data, the TRN is flexible in the level of detail needed to produce meaningful results. It is recommended that sites use the most detailed level of data available to them to complete the TRN analysis. However if data is not available, the user may need to use estimations or educated guesses to approximate the figures needed. Therefore, the availability of data is not meant to serve as a roadblock to further progress, rather it is recommended to use an approximation and move forward, while documenting the data point as an item to potentially revisit in the future. The TRN Resource: Energy and Water Daily Use Estimation Approaches provides suggested approaches for developing estimations of data requested in the TRN.

Risk Assessment

  1. What do I do if my site does not have detailed hazard information for inclusion in the risk assessment?

    In the TRN, there are two ways to identify hazards and threats:

    • “Grouped hazards and threats” which are a group of hazards and threats that may disrupt primary energy or water supply for about the same outage duration but would not affect on-site redundant systems (this is sometimes called an “all-hazards” approach), and,
    • “Dual-impact hazards and threats” that would not only result in loss of primary supply, but may also impact onsite redundant systems.

    Sites with limited information about hazards and threats should use the “grouped hazards and threats” approach. In this approach, rather than identifying specific hazards and threats and their individual frequencies, the user estimates the aggregate frequency of all hazards and threats associated with a given outage duration.

Solution Prioritization

  1. Why can’t I evaluate all of my solutions for risk reduction potential?

    The TRN uses a streamlined risk assessment model that captures a selected number of factors that affect risk quantification. These factors were selected to allow a wide range of resilience enhancement solutions to be tested in the risk model. Solutions that can be tested are ones that are explicitly represented in the inputs to the risk model and can easily be adjusted to assess the risk-impact of a resilience solution. An example of an explicit risk factor is the status of a redundant power system; this is associated with the vulnerability portion of the risk screening score – thus a solution that adds to or improves a redundant system (e.g., via maintenance, testing, or automation) can be modeled as providing risk reduction within the Solution Prioritization module.

    Some solutions affect the vulnerabilities or consequences of risk scenarios, but address implicit risk factors are not included as a model input. An example of an implicit risk factor is having a culture of resilience in an organization; though a culture of resilience improves site resilience (reduces risk), a user could not model the potential risk reduction this solution provides, as the TRN risk model does not contain explicit inputs that can be changed to account for this. Instead the user is encouraged to characterize such solutions within the Solution Prioritization module through qualitative “solution prioritization criteria”, such as how well a solution addresses specific resilience attributes. Both explicit and implicit risk factors should be considered in the identification of resilience solutions.