Has U.S. Learned Lessons From Anti-Terror Exercises?


The U.S. will conduct its biggest terrorism exercise next week when three fictional “dirty bombs” go off and cripple transportation arteries in two major U.S. cities and Guam, reports the Associated Press. Details from the previous national exercise held in 2005 have yet to be released — information that’s supposed to help officials prepare for the next real attack. House members are asking why the “after-action” report from 2005 hasn’t been made public.

Next week will be the fourth Top Officials exercise — dubbed TOPOFF. The program costs about $25 million a year and involves the federal government’s highest officials. Plans this year call for a “dirty bomb” to go off at a power plant in Guam; another dirty bomb will explode on a bridge in Portland, Or., and a third bomb will explode at the intersection of two busy routes near Phoenix. A 2006 White House report on Hurricane Katrina criticized the Homeland Security Department for not having a system to address and fix the problems discovered in TOPOFF exercises. “The most recent Top Officials exercise in April 2005 revealed the federal government’s lack of progress in addressing a number of preparedness deficiencies, many of which had been identified in previous exercises,” said the White House.

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-10-03-33457747_x.htm

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