Combating Terrorism: Analysis of Federal Counterterrorist Exercises

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DIANE Publishing, 1999 - 60 pages
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Terrorist attacks against U.S. personnel and interests domestically and abroad highlight the need for effective U.S. efforts to combat terrorism. U.S. policy and implementing guidelines call for robust, tailored, and rapidly deployable interagency teams to conduct well-coordinated and highly integrated operations. Federal agencies enhance their ability to respond to terrorist incidents by conducting exercises that train key personnel and test response plans. We recently briefed your staffs on our analysis of federal counterterrorist exercise data that we had gathered in producing our February 1999 classified report to you. This report summarizes the contents of those briefings. Our objective was to determine the numbers, types, scenarios, and participants involved in federal counterterrorism exercises conducted from June 1995 to June 1998. Presidential directives assign leadership and supporting roles to various federal agencies. Federal agencies' activities to combat terrorism include responding to a terrorist crisis and managing the consequences after a terrorist attack. Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 39, issued in June 1995, required key federal agencies to ensure that their counterterrorist capabilities are well exercised. Counterterrorism exercises include tabletop exercises, in which agency officials discuss scenarios around a table or other similar setting, and field exercises, where agency leadership and operational units actually deploy to practice their skills and coordination In a realistic field setting. One of the highest priorities in the federal government is to prepare for terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

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Page 11 - Team (DEST) to provide advice and support to FBI on-scene commanders. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the lead agency for consequence management of domestic terrorist incidents. Other federal agencies such as the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are designated as support agencies that would assist the lead agencies in crisis and consequence management. Depending...
Page 9 - These presidential directives and implementing guidance divide the federal response to terrorist attacks into two categories—crisis management and consequence management. Crisis management includes efforts to stop a terrorist attack, arrest terrorists, and gather evidence for criminal prosecution. Consequence management includes efforts to provide medical treatment and emergency services, evacuate people from dangerous areas, and restore government services.
Page 9 - President formalized US policy to combat terrorism by signing National Security Decision Directive 207, which primarily focused on terrorist incidents overseas. After the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the President issued Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 39 in June 1995, which enumerated responsibilities for federal agencies in combating terrorism, including domestic incidents. In May 1998, the President issued PDD 62 that reaffirmed PDD 39 and further articulated...
Page 1 - Directive (FDD) 39, issued in June 1995, required key federal agencies to ensure that their counterterrorist capabilities are well exercised. Counterterrorism exercises include tabletop exercises, in which agency officials discuss scenarios around a table or other similar setting, and field exercises, where agency leadership and operational units actually deploy to practice their skills and coordination in a realistic field setting. One of the highest priorities in the federal government is to prepare...
Page 21 - Firearms (ATF) have crisis management exercise programs that periodically test crisis response teams and include field office personnel. The USSS conducts many field exercises related to its mission to protect the President and other key officials and to ensure continuity of operations at the White House. Consequence management exercises generally had domestic scenarios. 2 FEMA sponsored a series of interagency tabletop exercises that focused on interagency and intergovernmental issues. Other federal...
Page 23 - According to intelligence agencies, conventional explosives and firearms continue to be the weapons of choice for terrorists. Terrorists are less likely to use chemical and biological weapons...
Page 53 - ... supporting role as part of the Federal Response Plan and the National Disaster Medical System. VA's Medical Emergency Radiological Response Team is trained to respond to radiological emergencies. VHA also supports the Public Health Service and Health and Human Service's office of Emergency Preparedness to ensure that adequate stockpiles of antidotes and other necessary Pharmaceuticals are maintained nationwide in case of a catastrophic event such as the use of weapons of mass destruction. Additionally,...
Page 3 - Service (USSS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS...
Page 2 - Very few of the exercises included no-notice deployments of personnel and equipment. Over one-half of the exercises dealt with managing the immediate crisis resulting from a terrorist incident, including stopping a terrorist attack, while the others dealt with managing the consequences of the incident, such as caring for the injured. Until recently, very few exercises dealt with the likely situation of both crisis and consequence management occurring simultaneously. More than two-thirds of the exercises...
Page 2 - There was avariety of participants in these exercises. More than two-thirds of the exercises included more than one federal agency and almost one-half of them included three or more federal agencies. Some exercises also included participants of organizations other than federal agencies. For example, one-third of the exercises included state and/or local government participants, almost one-tenth of them had nongovernmental participants, and a few had foreign government participants. Federal agencies...

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