The largest antiterrorism drill ever undertaken in the U.S. gets under way today with a simulated bio-terror attack at Kean University in New Jersey, the Associated Press reports. The $16 million TOPOFF 3 drill, named for the top-level state and national officials behind it, will simulate a bio-terror attack in New Jersey. At the same time, a simulated chemical weapons attack will take place in New London, Ct. The New Jersey drill is intended to stress the state’s emergency response and medical systems to the breaking point, to expose weaknesses that would become apparent only in a catastrophe as thousands of victims flood the system.
The drill will be so realistic that some officials worry that people who haven’t gotten word that a drill is underway might think the country is under a real terrorist attack. More than 10,000 people will participate in the drills in New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as in Canada and England, where officials will conduct related exercises.