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PA 598 Terrorism and EM . March 25, 2008. Broad questions. What is terrorism Is terrorism a new hazard? Is domestic terrorism a new hazard? What makes terrorism a different hazard from natural hazards? In what ways are terrorist attacks similar to natural disasters?

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PA 598Terrorism and EM

March 25, 2008


Broad questions l.jpg
Broad questions

  • What is terrorism

  • Is terrorism a new hazard?

  • Is domestic terrorism a new hazard?

  • What makes terrorism a different hazard from natural hazards?

  • In what ways are terrorist attacks similar to natural disasters?

  • Did our EM system need to change after 9/11?

  • Next week:

    • Did the changes damage our ability to respond to natural disasters?

    • Does Katrina mean that the system needed to be changed again?


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What is terrorism?

  • "the use or credible threat of violence that is out of the ordinary, for political objectives, with an intended impact broader than the immediate victims (human or otherwise) who were chosen for their symbolic value" (Waugh 1982, 27)

  • FBI: "There is no single, universally accepted definition of terrorism. Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “...the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).“


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Common features of terrorism (from Waugh 2001):

  • The use or threat of extraordinary violence

  • Goal-directed (or rational) behavior

  • the intention to have a psychological impact beyond the immediate victims

  • The choice of victims for their symbolic value


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By these definitions, what kinds of things are terrorist attacks?

The FBI’s list of terrorist attacks: http://www.fbi.gov/publications/terror/terror2000_2001.htm#page_15

US Army: http://www.army.mil/terrorism/

Department of State: http://www.state.gov/s/ct/

Bottom line: Terrorism itself is politically and socially constructed.


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Is Terrorism a New Threat? attacks?

A long history of terrorism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents

  • Terrorism, 1940-1960

  • Terrorism, 1960-1980

  • Terrorism, 1980-1991

  • Terrorism, 1991-present


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Terrorism, 1940-1960 attacks?

  • Israeli actions against Britain in “Israel” (like national liberation)

  • National liberation movements

    • Algeria vs. France

    • Viet Nam

    • Congo

  • Proxy wars


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Terrorism, 1960-1980 attacks?

  • Hijackings

  • Terrorist bombings of airliners on the ground (1970)

  • The Munich attack (1972)

  • The Entebbe hijack and raid (1976): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Entebbe \

  • The Iran Hostage Crisis (1979)

  • Bottom line: the modern roots of Islamic extremism


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Terrorism, 1980-present attacks?

  • Beirut 1982

  • World Trade Center 1993

  • Oklahoma City 1995

  • Apprehension of Ahmed Ressam, the “Millennium Bomber” in Port Angeles, WAhttp://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/archives/2005_press_releases/072005/07272005.xml

  • September 11, 2001

  • Anthrax, 2001

  • Europe: the Madrid and London transit bombings


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What’s missing from this list? attacks?

  • Racial violence

  • School violence

  • ELF and similar groups (ecoterrorism)


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What makes terrorism different from natural hazards? attacks?

  • “Dread”

  • Purposive

  • Goal oriented

  • Symbolic value

  • What places are more likely to see terrorist attacks?


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How did existing policies and practices cope with September 11

  • Failures or Shortcomings:

    • Loss of the EOC in New York: Why? How was this overcome?

    • Problems communicating among different levels of government

  • Successes:

    • ICS in the Pentagon attack. Why?

    • Improvisation and flexibility: disaster management over disaster command

  • Bottom line: what was it about 9/11 that suggested we needed to change our entire EM system?


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Methods for preventing terrorism 11

  • Addressing root causes

  • Treating terrorists as law breakers—use law enforcement

  • Negotiating with terrorists to avoid escalation (although publicly claiming never to negotiate)

  • We do a lot of these things, as reflected just in Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, PL 110-53, (H.R. 1).


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Waugh: Applying the Disaster Cycle to Terrorism: Mitigation 11

  • Prevent the event from occurring in the first place

    • Addressing legitimate complaints

    • Treaties to reduce support for terrorists

    • Identify terrorists and targets

    • Monitor and control the movement of people across national borders, particularly when they are suspected terrorists or are traveling to locales that might be targeted by terrorists

    • Monitor large transfers of money and thefts of weapons and other supplies that may presage terrorist violence or be used to support terrorist organizations

    • Secure the most likely targets and reduce the opportunity to attack other potential targets

  • Mitigation efforts

    • Assess the vulnerability of potential targets and facilitate preparedness and mitigation programs

    • Lessen the availability of arms, explosive, and other materials that may be used by terrorists


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Waugh: Applying the Disaster Cycle to Terrorism: Preparedness

  • Provide technical assistance to improve the response and recovery capabilities of responsible agencies

  • Cultivate strong working relationships with individuals, agencies, and governments involved in antiterrorism efforts


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Waugh: Applying the Disaster Cycle to Terrorism: Response Preparedness

  • Any different from the usual EM response system?


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Waugh: Applying the Disaster Cycle to Terrorism: Recovery Preparedness

  • Any different from the usual EM response system?

  • “Recovery is seldom a topic in the discussion of antiterrorism policies. There is a small literature on the emergency medical aspects of terrorist violence, but it is uncertain how that might differ from medical responses to other kinds of disasters (except in terms of scale). Fortunately, there have been relatively few large-scale, mass-casualty terrorist events in the United Stales. The response and recovery efforts following the Murrah Federal Office Building bombing are testament to the adaptability of normal emergency management procedures to terrorist events.”


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What changed after 9/11? Preparedness

  • Increased organizational attention

  • Shift in construction of terrorism as a crime to terrorism as a threat to national security

    • Waugh: the damage from terrorist attacks could be unlimited

  • Aviation security

  • The creation of the DHS: http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/history/editorial_0133.shtm

  • NRP, NIMS, etc. (Harrald)


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Were any of the post-September 11 changes needed or warranted?

  • What were the major issues cited as contributing to the attacks

    • Lax aviation security

      • Check points

      • Cockpits

      • Flight Instruction

    • Poor intelligence gathering and sharing

    • Poor data management systems

    • Poor immigration and border protection systems (allowing the 9/11 perpetrators into the country)

    • Others?


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How were the problems of September 11 addressed? warranted?

  • Lax aviation security

    • Check points

    • Cockpits

    • Flight Instruction

  • Poor intelligence gathering and sharing

  • Poor data management systems

  • Poor immigration and border protection systems (allowing the 9/11 perpetrators into the country)

  • Others?

  • Was there anything about the EM system that failed?


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    “Lessons of 9/11” from the EM perspective warranted?

    • ICS works, if everyone buys in (Arlington Co.)

    • Communication is important (NYC)

    • Don’t put the EOC in a vulnerable place (NYC)

    • Improvisation and management, not command, are important (NYC)

    • Consequence management may be more challenging in terrorism, if the event involves

      • Large amounts of debris

      • Nuclear, Chemical, Biological, Radiological attacks


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    Challenges of EM in the post 9/11 world: warranted?

    • Salience of the hazard: Higher than when Waugh wrote, but how high still?



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    The Problems with the 9/12ers warranted?

    • Is Waugh prophetic?

      • “There is also considerable expertise for hire, to develop preparedness and mitigation programs, and to staff antiterrorism units. But, it is important to be sensitive to the nature of the antiterrorism industry and its vested interests in both the definition of the problem and the policy options considered. Former military and law enforcement officers, as well as entrepreneurs of other persuasions, offer programs that may or may not address the kinds of hazards that terrorism poses. Experience with the kind of violence that may be anticipated is critical, as is broad civilian emergency management experience.”

      • “Terrorism gets the public's attention. As a rule, overreaction is a bigger problem than apathy.”


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    The Problems with the 9/12ers warranted?

    • Little or no local EM experience

    • Little or no appreciation of local EM needs

    • The command and control model: NRP as a more closed system


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    Jack Harrald and Charlie Hess on the NRP warranted?

    • Agree that “the development process included extensive review and participation by a broad range of partners and stakeholders. It involved all of the federal departments and agencies; state, local, and tribal government stakeholders; and the private sector.”


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    Jack Harrald and Charlie Hess on the NRP warranted?

    • Harrald’s concerns

      • Deadlines too tight:

        • “The initial documents released for review were woefully inadequate. They ignored or eliminated critical elements of the current system, most notably disaster mitigation, FRP emergency support function structure, and the process and structure of the NCP as it pertained to oil and hazardous substance releases.”

      • The academic hazards community was largely absent and uninvolved during the development of this critical national policy framework

        • This community knows that adaptive systems work better than overly structured ones

        • This community also knows that the system requires training just to navigate the acronyms


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    Response Organizations warranted?

    This move is the result of post-9/11 actions




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    Flaws in this system warranted?

    • The 2004 Hurricane Experience

    • The Katrina/Rita/Wilma experience

    • These are the subject of next week’s seminar