Preparing for Future Terrorism Responses

 
Terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland are imminent whether they come from within the United States or from outside its borders. Preparing for the next terrorism response means that we must examine the past learn from past lessons. In addition, we should examine those recent terrorist plots to explore what type of terrorist incident our adversaries are pursuing against the United States. One will quickly find that future terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland are likely to involve biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear weapons.
For this assignment, you will review all aspects of this course to map out the threat of biological, chemical, and radiological weapons in the hands of terrorists. Then, you will analyze lessons learned from prior terrorist attacks and recent terrorist plots that involved these weapons.
Conduct research on the following terrorist attacks involving biological, chemical, and radiological weapons:
Chemical Attack – Aum Shinrikyo (2 pages)
Aum Shinrikyo conducted a terrorist attack on a Japanese subway system killing several people and crippling the transportation infrastructure. Examine this attack and answer the following questions:
How did the terrorist group develop the weapon?
What vulnerability did the terrorist group identify?
How effective was the attack from the terrorist point of view?
How did emergency responders react to the attack? Were they prepared?
What lessons can be learned from their response? Did they change any techniques in their actions?
Biological Attack – U.S. Anthrax Attacks (2 pages)
The Anthrax attacks of 2001 caused several deaths, disrupted the mail system, and incited fear nationwide. Examine this attack and answer the following questions:
How did the terrorist develop the weapon?
What vulnerability did the terrorist identify?
How effective was the attack from the terrorist point of view?
How did emergency responders react to the attack? Were they prepared?
What lessons can be learned from their response? Did they change any techniques in their actions?
Radiological Attack – Dirty Bomb in the U.S. (2 pages)
Although it has yet to occur, several Al-Qaeda plotters have discussed the detonation of a radiological device in a major U.S. city. Examine how a “dirty bomb,” as it is popularly known, might be employed by terrorists. Answer the following questions:
How would a terrorist develop and deploy a “dirty bomb”?
What vulnerability is there to a “dirty bomb”?
How would emergency responders react to such an attack?
What special considerations should be taken in the event of a radiological attack?
Terrorism Response Training Plan (2 pages)
After examining the effects of three catastrophic attack scenarios, design a terrorism response training plan and assessment. Imagine you are the Chief of a New York City Fire Department firehouse and identify the following:
Which is the most likely terrorist attack to occur in your district: biological, chemical, and radiological? Explain your answer.
What type of response plan do you envision in terms of managing the response?
Based on your most likely attack, what types of technology would you want and need for detecting, managing, and responding to a terrorist incident?
What do you expect to be the effect on the public health system? What kind of injuries do you expect to encounter?
Which elements of your response plan do you believe to be critical for your department?
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