The U.S. military has devised its first-ever war plans for guarding against and responding to terrorist attacks in the United States, envisioning 15 potential crisis scenarios and anticipating several simultaneous strikes around the country, according to officers who drafted the plans. The Washington Post reports that the classified plans, developed at Northern Command headquarters in Colorado Springs, outline a variety of possible roles for quick-reaction forces estimated at as many as 3,000 ground troops per attack.
The possible scenarios range from modest crowd-control missions to full-scale disaster management after catastrophic attacks such as the release of a deadly biological agent or the explosion of a radiological device, several officers said. The war plans represent a historic shift for the Pentagon, which has been reluctant to become involved in domestic operations and is legally constrained from engaging in law enforcement. Defense officials said they intend for the troops to play largely a supporting role in homeland emergencies, bolstering police, firefighters and other civilian response groups. But the new plans provide for the likelihood that the military will have to take charge in some situations, especially when dealing with mass-casualty attacks that could overwhelm civilian resources.