Playas, New Mexico–population 60–is about to be taken over by a university and used as a terrorist response training camp for Homeland Security Department agents, the military, and emergency responders from local and state agencies, reports the Chicago Tribune. It will be the nation’s only anti-terrorism facility that uses a real town for emergency training, say officials with New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, which is buying the town for $5 million from Phelps Dodge Corp.
Long-range plans for Playas call for a research park; it may turn into a lab for testing biological agents and providing security to the food supply.
This summer, Playas will be the mock target of simulated terrorist and suicide bomber strikes. Bombs will be detonated, destroying a house, car, or utility line. The bank could be visited by a suicide bomber. Any of the 259 houses and 25 apartments–most shuttered–could be used for a simulated anthrax attack. The town’s pipelines could provide a case study on how to protect infrastructure.