Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Preparedness: Are We REALLY Sure?

It's hard to see the justification behind this:

The nation is preparing for its biggest terrorism exercise ever next week when three fictional "dirty bombs" go off and cripple transportation arteries in two major U.S. cities and Guam, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.

Yet even as this drill begins, details from the previous national exercise held in 2005 have yet to be publicly released — information that's supposed to help officials prepare for the next real attack.

"The challenge with TOPOFF is not the exercise itself. It's to move as quickly as possible to remedy what perceives to be the problems that are uncovered," former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in an interview with AP this week.
Yes indeed.
Ridge, who launched his own security consulting company on Monday, said he's a big fan of the TOPOFF exercises. But he said "it's not acceptable" that the review from the 2005 exercise is still not released publicly.

The after action report from TOPOFF 3, which deals with issues that came up in the 2005 exercise, is supposed to identify areas for improvement. That report is still going through internal reviews.
If one were feeling snarky, one might wonder if al Qaeda uses a similar review process.
According to a brief summary of the 2005 exercise — marked For Official Use Only, but obtained by AP — problems arose when officials realized the federal government's law for providing assistance does not cover biological incidents.
Hmm ... no clear authority for biological incidents. That sounds familiar.

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