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Individual Agencies Exercises
The Department of Justice, including the FBI, has many responsibilities related to terrorism, including conducting criminal investigations, arresting individuals who commit terrorist acts, and prosecuting them. The FBI has been designated as the lead federal agency responsible for domestic terrorism crisis management, including responding to terrorist incidents. The FBI has a variety of operational capabilities that it can deploy to respond to a crisis. Its Critical Incident Response Group can deploy additional resources to assist field offices in responding and is also responsible for sponsoring FBI crisis management exercises. The FBI also can establish a Joint Operations Center to provide for interagency participation in managing a crisis. The FBI can also deploy an interagency DEST to advise and assist the FBI special agent in charge.
The FBI's crisis management field exercises provide training in response capabilities to FBI field personnel. The FBI participated in 99 exercises during the 3-year period and led 24 (24 percent) of these exercises. Even though many FBI-led exercises focus on training for FBI response units, the FBI also led some exercises with participation by several other federal agencies. Of the 24 exercises that the FBI-led, 6 (25 percent) had 3 or more federal agencies participating. The other 18 exercises (75 percent) included only the FBI or the FBI and one other federal agency, as well as some other Justice Department organizations. The exercises also included some state and local organizations. FBI-led exercises included 17 (71 percent) field exercises and 7 (29 percent) tabletop exercises. FBI's crisis management exercises had a variety of scenarios and terrorist threats. Thirteen of the scenarios (54 percent) were WMD and the other 11 (46 percent) were conventional.
The FBI's exercises were primarily crisis management field training exercises that focused on training FBI's operational response units, such as Special Weapons and Tactics teams, and evaluating their response plans. FBI's field training exercises are often held at locations where actual crises could occur and include participants from FBI's field offices. These exercises test command and control by establishing command posts and tactical operations centers and include support, such as equipment, communications, and logistics. The FBI exercises had a variety of scenarios, including hostage barricades, aircraft hijackings, terrorist attacks, conventional bombing attacks, threat of WMD, kidnappings, and prison disturbances. The FBI was also a significant player in some exercises that it did not lead. For example, it played a major role in a June 1998 DOD-sponsored exercise and established a Joint Operations Center with representatives from other agencies, such as DOE, FEMA, and HHS.
Individual Agencies Exercises
FEMA is the lead agency for coordinating the federal response to manage the consequences of a domestic terrorist attack. FEMA has various emergency response responsibilities for disasters, including maintaining the Federal Response Plan, which includes a counterterrorism annex. FEMA, using the Federal Response Plan, would coordinate the federal efforts to support state and local governments. The Stafford Act’ provides FEMA with authority to assign missions to any federal agency in the event of a disaster or an emergency declared by the President, including acts of terrorism.
FEMA's counterterrorism exercises focused on its consequence management role, and FEMA also participated in crisis management field exercises led by other agencies. The exercises that FEMA led have generally been interagency tabletops centered on a variety of WMD threats and scenarios. Of the 76 exercises that FEMA participated in, 16 (21 percent) were led by FEMA. Many of the exercises were interagency with 11 of the 16 exercises that FEMA led (or 69 percent) having three or more federal agencies participating. The other five exercises (31 percent) included only FEMA or FEMA and one other federal agency. The 16 exercises that FEMA led were all tabletop exercises. FEMA's consequence management exercises were almost all (94 percent) WMD and had a variety of scenarios and terrorist threats.
The exercises led by FEMA included some major interagency exercises with WMD scenarios. The Ill Wind series of tabletop exercises, which began in September 1996, focused on preparing emergency management personnel to deal with the consequences of terrorism incidents. The scenarios of the exercises involved the use of WMD in the Washington, D.C., area. The FBI and several other agencies provided briefings, and there were participants from many other agencies. More recently, FEMA held consequence management seminars and tabletop exercises for its personnel in each of its 10 regions to highlight terrorism issues, and they included FBI regional participants. The regions chose the scenarios and seven included chemical agents and three included nuclear threats. FEMA also participated in major field exercises led by DOD and FBI to practice planning for consequence management.
142 U.S.C. section 5121 et seq.
Individual Agencies Exercises
HHS has a support role, related primarily to consequence management, to provide the health and medical response to a terrorist incident. HHS can provide a number of services in a terrorist incident, including threat
a assessment, consultation, agent identification, epidemiological investigation, hazard detection and reduction, triage, treatment, decontamination, pubic health support, medical support, pharmaceutical support, overflow hospital capacity, mental health services, and mortuary services. The Office of Emergency Preparedness coordinates the overall HHS support. HHS could activate a number of specialized resources that include the National Disaster Medical System, Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, National Medical Response Teams, and Disaster Mortuary Teams. For biological agents, HHS can help identify the agent and conduct epidemiological investigations through its network of laboratories.
HHS generally participated in tabletop exercises with WMD scenarios that included several federal agencies. HHS led 3 (4 percent) of the 68 exercises it participated in. Of these three HHS-led exercises, two (66 percent) were field exercises, two (66 percent) involved three or more federal agencies, and all had WMD scenarios. Of the 68 exercises that it participated in, 13(19 percent) were field exercises, 65 (96 percent) involved three or more agencies, and 66 (97 percent) had WMD scenarios.
An example of an exercise sponsored by HHS (also cosponsored by DOD and VA) was “Consequence Management 98”, which was conducted in April 1998. This exercise included five HHS Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, focused on the medical aspects of a WMD attack, and included training to
а develop a field medical unit, perform triage, decontaminate patients, and provide additional treatment. The exercise had over 600 participants who practiced their clinical skills in an emergency field setting. HHS officials also stressed the importance of major special events (e.g., inaugurations and sporting events) in exercising their staff's capabilities.