TOPOFF 3 results
| 04.12.2005 | 10:17:34 | Views: 2374 | ID:
April 12 '05: The Department of Homeland Security finished its mock terrorist attack exercise called TOPOFF 3 last week in New Jersey and Connecticut and the exercise was the largest of its kind in the country - using 275 federal departments and agencies, several countries' antiterrorist departments, the private sector and many other international contingencies looking on while the exercise unfolded. At the end of the exercise, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said the "Herculean" effort provided many lessons for DHS and that a "very robust participation from the private sector, and actually very aggressive participation on the part of the government of Canada in its emergency management and counterterrorism functions," helped make the exercise work well.
The exercise, Chertoff said, was "deliberately built ... as a very complex WMD bioterrorism attack in New Jersey, as well as a kind of dual-header in the state of Connecticut in terms of a verhicle-born improvised explosive device, and then a simultaneous chemical attack."Chertoff said the system was strained in ways that it never had been before, and that mid-way through the exercise, another mock attack happened in the United Kingdom. Chertoff said terrorism was not a localized threat, but an international one and the timing of the three simulated attacks helped the US and the UK to understand how the could communicate more efficiently. The five-day exercise also used the National Response Plan, a "series of coordination protocols at the national level" which help communicate messages to local and state levels as well as the private sector. The NRP was used as a tool, Chertoff said, and that intentional gliches were built into the message relay system so that those working on the exercise would be able to understand the way breakdowns in communication work. Overall, Chertoff said, there were four major objectives to the TOPOFF 3 exercise: To manage and respond to double WMD attacks in the US; to better coordinate the information sharing and to understand how that process works in other countries; to test the ability of the private sector's communications, "strategies, protocols and processes" in dealing with a terrorist attack; and to analyze the results of the exercise and make the appropriate changes inside the government.
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