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The weapons of mass destruction terrorism

The weapons of mass destruction terrorism

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The weapons of mass destruction terrorism

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  1. The weapons of mass destruction terrorism COL.ENGR.JANOSTOMOLYAPhD

  2. Defining WMD Weapons that have a relatively large-scale impact on people, property, and/or infrastructure. (A) any destructive device , incendiary, or poison gas(i.e. explosive device); (B) any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors; (C) any weapon involving a biological agent or toxin • any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life. CBRN weapons: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear

  3. 1) Chemical Weapons Chemical Weapons use the toxic properties of chemical substances to cause physical or psychological harm to an enemy Many different kinds, including: • Choking and blood agents (like chlorine, phosgene, fentanyl gas) cause respiratory damage and asphyxiation • Blistering agents (like mustard gas and lewisite) cause painful burns requiring immediate medical attention • Nerve gases degrade the functioning of the nervous system, causing a loss of muscle control, respiratory failure, and eventually death Can be delivered through bombs, rockets, artillery shells, spray tanks, and missile warheads

  4. Chemical Agents • Intended to kill, seriously injure, or incapacitate people through physiological effects • Incidents demand immediate reaction from emergency responders • Can be introduced through aerosol devices, breaking containers, or covert dissemination

  5. Types of Chemical Agents

  6. Characteristics of an Incident Involving a Chemical Agent • Effects mostly local to release site but may be distributed beyond release site by wind and contamination • Area may be marked by unusual clouds, haze, mist, odors, tastes, droplets, etc. • May be persistent in environment

  7. Indicators of Possible Chemical Agent Use • Stated threat to release a chemical agent • Initial unexplained casualties and illnesses • Unusual liquid, spray or vapor • Suspicious devices or packages

  8. 2) Biological Weapons • Biological weapons intentionally disseminate agents of infectious diseases to harm or kill others. • Key considerations include infectivity, virulence, toxicity, pathogenicity, the incubation period, transmissibility, lethality and stability. • * Bacteria (like Anthrax, Brucellosis, Tularemia, Plague) • * Viruses (Smallpox, Marburg, Yellow Fever) • * Rickettsia (Typhus fever, Spotted fever) • * Fungi (the molds that cause stem rust of wheat and rye) • * Toxins (like Ricin, Botulinum and Saxitoxin) aka “midspectrum” • * Infectious Pathogens: • Emerging threats; SARS, Avian Influenza • ‘Old’ threats: TB, HIV, Malaria - Relatively cost-effective weapons - Considered by many to be the most insidious type of weapons

  9. Biological Agents • Recognition of a biological hazard can occur through identification of a credible threat, discovery of bioterrorism evidence, diagnosis, and detection • Delay between exposure and onset of illness • Victims may serve as carriers of the disease with the capability of infecting others • Could affect agricultural commodities over a large area

  10. Types of Biological Agents

  11. Characteristics of an Incident Involving a Biological Agent • Immediate effects mostly local to release but may be expanded distribution through human transmittal • Possible persistence in environment • Possible geographic contamination

  12. Indicators of Possible Biological Agent Use • Stated threat to release a biological agent • Initial unexplained deaths and illness possibly beginning a day or more after an incident • Unusual occurrence of dead or dying animals • Unusual casualties • Unusual liquid, spray or vapor

  13. Bioterrorism The intentional or threatened use of microorganisms or biological toxins to kill or incapacitate people, animals or crops. Create terror, panic, uncertainty/uneasiness Advance political/ religious/ apocalyptic beliefs Asymmetrical response AKA “even the playing field” Doable and affordable Effective

  14. Criticality Chemical Effects are immediate and obvious Victims localized by time and place Overt Illicit immediate response First responders are police, fire, EMS Biological Effects are delayed and not obvious Victims are dispersed in time and place Covert No first responders Unless announced, attack identified by medical and public health personnel

  15. Advantages of biological weapons Relatively easy to obtain Relatively inexpensive to produce Potential for dissemination over large geographic area Creates panic Can overwhelm medical services Perpetrators escape easily Incubation period

  16. 3) Radiological weapons • A radiation emission device (RED) or a radiological dispersion device (RDD) – also known as a “dirty bomb” – is a bomb to cause panic and mass disruption; areas with severe radioactive contamination would be uninhabitable for many years. • Built using radioactive material (such as cesium 137, cobalt 60, strontium 90, plutonium oxide and uranium oxide), which is dispersed by the detonation of conventional explosives. • Myriad sources of radioactive material could be used for this purpose, like medical/educational facilities, atomic waste storage reservations, commercial sites, etc. • Many lack strong security, especially medical facilities, educational institutions • Can also acquire radioactive materials via mail order or Internet

  17. Radiological Sources Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator: Used in the Former Soviet Union to power light houses in remote locations. Many have become orphaned sources and are unaccounted for. RTGs can contain activity levels of ~30,000 curies of Strontium-90 Seed Irradiators: Used in the Former Soviet Union were mounted on trucks and used to irradiate seeds in order to kill fungus and inhibit germination. Each irradiator has activity levels of over 1,000 curies of cesium-137 in powdery form.

  18. Radiological Sources Source activity: up to 10 kCi (370 TBq) 60Co. Teletherapy Device (Cobalt-60 and Cesium-137)

  19. 4) Nuclear Weapons • Unique in their explosive energy, derived from nuclear fission: splitting the nuclear of an atom, usually of highly enriched uranium or plutonium, into two or more parts by bombarding it with neutrons, and causing a chain reaction • Destructive power up to 50 megatons • 1,000 tons of TNT = 1 kiloton • WWII nukes = 15-22 kilotons • 1,000 kilotons = 1 megaton • 2 types: Gun-type and Implosion

  20. First major use in modern warfare (April 22, 1915);during World War I, the German army released chlorine gas in an attack against the French in Ypres, Belgium About 124,000 tons of chemical weapons were used by all sides during World War I, inflicting over a million casualties (90,000 fatalities). WWII examples of WMD include: Italy used mustard gas against Ethiopians Japan used intestinal typhoid bacteria to poison a Soviet water supply Japan used air cargo drops of rice and wheat mixed with plague-carrying fleas over China and Manchuria The History

  21. During the Cold War Bipolar international system Monopoly of WMD by strong, powerful states International treaties signed to curb WMD proliferation Stringent security surrounding atomic material in US/USSR, mostly due to concerns about spying, espionage The Post-Cold War threat environment has changed Nuclear proliferation in South Asia, N. Korea, Middle East The Non-Proliferation Regime’s crisis of legitimacy Fears of CBRN proliferation after Soviet collapse Major advances in biotechnology The Changing Environment

  22. Terrorists and WMD “Dozens of identified domestic and international terrorists and terrorist groups have expressed their intent to obtain and use WMD.” - Denis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, 2010 “There is a high likelihood of some type of WMD terrorist attack by the year 2013.” - Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism, 2008

  23. History of use by non-state actors includes: 1984, The Dalles, Oregon: Rajneeshes poison locals with salmonella June 1990, Sri Lanka: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) used chlorine gas in its assault on a Sri Lankan Armed Forces camp at East Kiran Japan, 1994-1995: AumShinrikyo uses Sarin gas in Matsumoto and Tokyo U.S., October 2001: anthrax attacks through U.S. mail Russia, 1995: Chechen rebels planted a dirty bomb in Moscow's Ismailovsky Park The History

  24. June 2003, a JemiaahIslamiah weapons storage facility in Malaysia is found to contain various kinds of chemicals April 1985, a compound of the Sword, the Covenant and the Arm of the Lord is found to have a 55-gallon barrel of cyanide January 2003, an apartment in north London is found to have raw ingredients for making cyanide and ricin, as well as instruction manuals January 2004, seven pounds of cyanide salt are found during a raid on a Baghdad house reportedly connected with al Qaeda November 2004, a “chemical laboratory” is discovered in Fallujah containing potassium cyanide, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid Emerging Threat Indicators

  25. Contemporary threat vectors include: The transfer, theft and detonation of an intact nuclear weapon (INW) by a terrorist group like al Qaida WMD designs, instruction manuals available online The theft or purchase of fissile material (by states or terrorists) to fabricate and detonate a crude nuke – an improvised nuclear device (IND) “Pre-positioned WMD” Nuclear power plants Chemical storage facilities Bio-technology labs Dams, water protection infrastructure (e.g., Katrina) Urban transportation of toxic chemicals The Changing Environment

  26. A Model for Analysis Intentions High High Capabilities & Opportunities Low Low

  27. Motivations A Spectrum of Ideologies Threshold of catastrophic violence Nonviolent Protests Apocalyptic Terrorism Groups that want to change the world, but reject the need for violent means Groups that want to change the world, and see a need for violent means Groups that want to destroy the world, for various reasons,possibly with WMD

  28. Weapon Effects Different interests according to weapon type • Biological and chemical weapons can be deployed silently. Effects produced by chemical and biological weapons are usually delayed and spread over time. • Radiological weapons involve both explosion and long-term effects • Nuclear weapons are unique in their explosive energy (derived from fission) which can cause catastrophic damage and long-term radiation • Terrorists prefer spectacular, massive impact, instant worldwide publicity, shock & awe effect • Thus, nuclear or radiological may be more likely, but are more significantly more difficult

  29. Differences Between WMD Incidents and Other Incidents1 • Situation may not be recognizable until there are multiple casualties • There may be multiple events • Responders are placed at a higher risk of becoming casualties • The location of the incident will be treated as a crime scene • Contamination of critical facilities and large geographic areas may result

  30. Differences Between WMD Incidents and Other Incidents1 • Scope of the incident may expand geometrically and may affect mutual aid jurisdictions • There will be a stronger reaction from the public than with other types of incidents • Time is working against responding elements • Support facilities are at risk as targets • Specialized State and local response capabilities may be overwhelmed

  31. Types of Terrorist Threats to Transportation Facilities • Structural/functional damage/destruction resulting from portable, truck-or boat-borne explosives and fire damage • Casualties from blast or fire • System shutdown via exposure and contamination from biological and/or chemical WMD, e.g., introduced through tunnel vents • Collateral damage to other lifelines, e.g., telecommunications, power, and pipelines carried along bridges or tunnels

  32. Radiological Agents/Nuclear Weapons • An attack may be difficult to detect - the presence of radioactive material may or may not be obvious • Different devices may be used to launch an attack: • Improvised Nuclear Device (IND) • Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) • Simple RDD

  33. Alpha Particle PAPER LEAD SKIN Beta Particle Gamma Rays Types of Nuclear Radiation Emitted From Radioactive Materials • Alpha Radiation • Internal hazard • Beta Radiation • Slight or Internal hazard • Gamma Radiation • Acute hazard

  34. Indicators of Possible Radiological Agent/Nuclear Weapon Use(e.g., dispersion of radioactive material by non-nuclear explosion or pressurized gas, nuclear detonation with radioactive fallout) • A stated threat to deploy a nuclear or radiological device • Unexplained deaths and illness • The presence of nuclear or radiological equipment (e.g., spent fuel canisters or nuclear transport vehicles) • Nuclear placards or warning materials along with otherwise unexplained casualties

  35. Characteristics of an Incident Involving a Radiological Agent or Nuclear Weapon • Effects mostly local to release but may be some distribution via, e.g, wind beyond release site • Persistence in environment • Geographic contamination • Extensive radioactive fallout • Radioactive poisoning of foodstuffs, water sources and long-term illnesses • Large-scale infrastructure destruction • Conventional explosive used for dispersal may cause additional effects and explosions

  36. Conventional Explosive Devices • Easiest to obtain and use • May be used to cause massive local destruction or to disperse chemical, biological or radiological agents • Characterized as being explosive or incendiary, employing high or low filler explosive materials to explode and/or cause fires

  37. High Explosives • RDX • ANFO (Ammonium nitrate fuel oil solution) • Potassium Chlorate • Nitrostarch Explosives • Picric Acid (Tri-Nitro-Phenol) • Ammonium Picrate (Explosive-D) • Lead Azide • Dynamite

  38. Relative Destructive Forces of Explosives

  39. Vehicle Bomb Explosion Effects Source: Federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency website

  40. Proliferation of WMD (or CBRN weapons) is among the world’s most daunting security challenges U.S. and International community struggling to contain the spreading availability of WMD No IAEA-like watchdog for chemical or biological weapons Multiple countries are seeking to expand their WMD capabilities Scientific expertise and dual-use technological equipment become more readily available through globalization New technologies make some weapons easier, cheaper to make; possible implications for terrorists or other violent non-state actors to acquire and use them Summary

  41. Final Thoughts • The threat is real, but within narrow parameters • Most important dimensions for terrorists: • Motivations • Materials availability • Knowledge • Opportunities • Weapons attributes

  42. References • “Guide for All-Hazard Emergency Operations Planning”, State and Local Guide (101), Chapter 6, Attachment G- Terrorism, FEMA, April 2001 • “Emergency Response to Terrorism, Self-Study”, FEMA/USFA/NFA-ERT:SS, June 1999 • “Surface Transportation Vulnerability Assessment”, U.S. DOT, RSPA, Volpe Center, Oct. 25, 2001 • “A Guide to Highway Vulnerability Assessment for Critical Asset Identification and Protection”, • FEMA: Concept of Operations Plan – Situation, • Various other WMD related websites

  43. Questions? UNCLASSIFIED