War on Terrorism

Friday, August 28, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, August 28, 2009

Michigan Security Network formed to accelerate growth of homeland security business in the state
"Sixteen leading Michigan companies, universities and other groups have joined forces to create the Michigan Security Network as a platform to accelerate technology development, investment and jobs for the state in the fast growing homeland security sector. […] 'We have huge advantages in research and development, human resources, even geography that make Michigan companies ideally suited for a bigger slice of the $113 billion homeland security market,' [said Leslie Touma, president of the Michigan Security Network]. […] The Michigan Security Network has identified three key areas offering the greatest potential within homeland security: cyber security, border security and biodefense. […] Michigan Security Network will build a comprehensive homeland security database and leverage its market research, expertise and business networks to bring funding and investment to the state. […] 'Michigan's international border with Canada and our well-established centers of excellence in software, defense, medical and biotechnology research provide a strong foundation we can build upon,' Touma said. […] The Michigan Security Network is planning its first technology conference on November 4, 2009 at the Dearborn Hyatt. The conference will provide Michigan companies the opportunity to showcase their products and technologies with homeland security experts, meet decision makers and leadership from key federal agencies, and hear presentations on the opportunities available in cyber security, biodefense and border security." (Fox Business; 25Aug09)

RTM [Representative Town Meeting] approves $ for town health services [Fairfield, CT]
"Working to improve Fairfield's public health profile by strengthening the town's ability to provide adequate health services, the Department of Health and the First Selectman's office requested several budget increases for a variety of programs at Monday night's Representative Town Meeting [RTM]. The requests covered the health care spectrum including those related to substance abuse, Medical Reserve Corps, weight management and nutrition and public health emergencies. […] The final request from the Health Department was for $61,839 to cover the costs of Fairfield's continued planning and response to bioterrorism, pandemic influenza and other public health emergencies. The town expects to continue to develop the Local Bioterrorism and Public Health Emergency Response Plan along with its mass dispensing plan. This year a portion of the grant money will go to the dispensing of the H1N1 vaccine." (Fairfield Minuteman; 27Aug09; Brigid Quinn)

FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] issues report on personal preparedness in America
"The Federal Emergency Management Agency has released a new report titled 'Personal preparedness in America: findings from the 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey' that offers data on the public's thoughts, perceptions, and behaviors related to preparedness and community safety for multiple types of hazards. FEMA says the report's findings are particularly relevant as the nation prepares for a possible pandemic flu outbreak, hurricane season, and other hazards. Results from the national survey have important implications for the development of more effective communication and outreach strategies to achieve greater levels of preparedness and participation, the agency says. […] Communications to the public should convey a more realistic understanding of emergency response capacity and emphasize the importance of self-reliance. FEMA concludes that messaging should thus speak to a shared responsibility and stress that everyone has a role to play in preparedness and response. […] The survey results indicate that […] only 7 percent of individuals felt that nothing they did would help them handle a natural disaster, whereas 35 percent felt nothing they did would help them in an act of terrorism, such as a biological, chemical, radiological, or explosive attack. […] The report […] says it is important to emphasize the survivability of manmade disasters and the relevant protective measures for these hazards." (Occupational Health and Safety; 27Aug09) http://ohsonline.com/articles/2009/08/27/fema-on-personal-preparedness.aspx

Anti-terrorism fight has local connection, could bring jobs [Elkhart, IN]
"More than 100 new jobs could be headed to Elkhart in the coming years because of efforts to stop bio-terrorism. Thermodyne, an Elkhart research and engineering firm, produced technology that kills things like anthrax [bacteria] on delivered mail. […] Now the company has its hands in anti-terrorism with the Mail Defender. 'This is only the core of the machine that uses three major technologies that eradicates anthrax [bacteria], ricin, botulism [sic], AIDS [virus] and any other pathogen that could be harmful through the mail system,' [Patrick] Heller [product design engineer in Elkhart] explained. […] Removing toxins is as simple as using a microwave oven. 'You put the letter in,' Heller said, 'then you take it out.' The machine's combination of heat, microwave and ultraviolet technology makes harmful pathogens non-existent. 'It doesn't detect anything,' said Heller. 'If there is something in there, it kills it.' It comes at a time when federal mandates from HSPD-7 (Homeland Security Presidential Directive) demand all federal buildings find and develop methods of protection against bio-terrorism threats. […] Heller said the price tag is less than $100,000." (WSBT News 22; 26Aug09) http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/55138377.html

New method needed for assessing disease dangers, [New Approaches to Biological Risk Assessment] report says
"Faced with a host of biological threats and limited by finite resources, policy-makers must find a better way to determine which risks demand their greatest attention, a panel of high-level experts said in a recent report. In February, the British Royal Society and the International Council for the Life Sciences brought together representatives from a number of disciplines […] for a one-day workshop in London. The resulting report, New Approaches to Biological Risk Assessment, was published last month. The document calls for creation of a new system to assess the 'full spectrum' of disease-related dangers, from those found in nature to those produced intentionally to cause harm. […] The report acknowledges the difficulty of preparing a singular methodology given the varying hazards included in the spectrum and the limited data available on some threats, particularly biological terrorism. However, a failure to scour the vast array of potential threats might mean that a serious risk goes undetected, according to workshop participants. […] 'The risk of bioterrorism should not obscure concerns that states may remain interested in or consider revisiting biological weapons, given the history of numerous military programs that developed biological agents as weapons against humans, animals and plants,' it reads. State interest in development of nonlethal incapacitating agents for law enforcement or counterterrorism might lead to production of materials that could be considered biological threats. […] The report is first a call to action, but it also offers ideas for dealing with the biological threats it addresses. The best strategy to combat all forms of biological threats is through augmented public health capabilities, [Terence] Taylor [president of the life sciences council] said." (Global Security Newswire; 28Aug09; Chris Schneidmiller) http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/ts_20090828_1624.php

White House, scientists discuss biological threats
"The Obama administration recently convened the first in what could be a series of meeting with dozens of biological scientists and research analysts in an effort to bolster the White House's evolving strategy on bioterrorism, Global Security Newswire has learned. The Aug. 13 meeting at the White House Conference Center brought together roughly 40 participants to discuss 'policies to prevent intentional biothreats,' according to one international analyst who attended the session and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The discussion was led by Laura Holgate, the National Security Council's senior director for WMD terrorism and threat reduction, and James Petro, a top official in the office, one expert told GSN early last week. Participants said the discussion focused on three broad themes: biological threats to the nation, existing international initiatives used to combat bioterrorism, and the role nongovernment organizations could play in the administration's strategy. The conversation also addressed ways the White House could approach the Biological Weapons Convention and its 2011 review conference, including reaffirming adherence to the principles of the treaty or finding pragmatic alternatives to the compact. 'The administration is trying to think through what the agenda will be for addressing the challenges of bioterrorism,' Brian Finlay, a senior associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center who attended the meeting, told GSN. […] The discussion was not intended to address specific plans for biological defense." (Global Security Newswire; 28Aug09; Martin Matishak) http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/ts_20090828_3718.php

Consigli [Construction Co. Inc.] wins Navy emergency facility construction contract [NH]
"Consigli Construction Co. Inc. of Milford has been awarded a $9 million contract for the construction of an emergency control center at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire. The project includes a three-level, steel-framed reinforced concrete facility with a below-ground first level to support radiological emergency responses. The building will house the shipyard's radiological emergency response organization and will serve as its command center during an emergency. It will also support responses to other emergencies, such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks. […] The project is expected to be completed by April 2011. The contract was awarded by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command based in Norfolk, Va." (Worcester Business Journal; 28Aug09; Matthew L. Brown) http://www.wbjournal.com/news44397.html

Terrorism disaster drill readied: response to simulated attack expected to tie up traffic on monday [Charleston, SC]
"Traffic around the Naval Weapons Station on Monday is expected to be tied up for a disaster drill involving a simulated terror[ist] attack. The drill will run from 8 a.m. until noon. […] Officials are not releasing what the terror[ism] scenario will be ahead of time, but as many as 80 actors who will be playing dead or injured people are expected to be involved. […] The exercise will be conducted in its entirety on Naval Weapons Station Charleston. It is designed to let personnel from the base, as well as various local, county, state and federal agencies, demonstrate their training and ability to react to a disaster. Businesses around the area are also being informed of what to expect. Scheduled to participate in the exercise are the Berkeley County Emergency Preparedness Department […] and Berkeley County's COBRA Team (Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, Radiological, Assessment)." (Post and Courier; 28Aug09; Schuyler Kropf) http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/aug/28/terrorism-disaster-drill-readied/

RI Nat. Guard to hold WMD exercise [Newport, RI]
"A unit from the Rhode Island National Guard specializing in attacks involving weapons of mass destruction will hold a three-day public exercise. […] The Newport and Providence Police Departments, along with fire departments from both cities, will also take part in the exercise being conducted by the National Guard's 13th Civil Support Team (CST). The multi-agency drill will focus on National Guard support of police and fire departments in the wake of a chemical, biological, or nuclear attack. The exercise, which will be centered at the U.S. Coast Guard's Castle Hill Station, will use several other locations in and around the Newport Harbor area. Officials from the National Guard said the exercise is designed to improve the readiness level and relationship between the 13th CST and two of the larger first response agencies in the state. Evaluators from the U.S Army Northern Command (NorthComm) will also assess the CST unit during the exercise. The exercise will take place from Tuesday, August 25 through Thursday, August 27." (WPRI Eyewitness News; 24Aug09; Ann-Marie Nicholson) http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_wpri_RI_National_Guard_to_hold_WMD_exercise_20090824_avn

Gap exercise tests WMD response [Fort Indiantown Gap, PA]
"Debris littered the street and smoke wafted through the air Thursday after an explosion caused a partial building collapse. […] This was a weapons-of-mass-destruction and emergency-response exercise at Fort Indiantown Gap. The exercise […] was led by the Pennsylvania National Guard and was held at the Gap's Combined Arms Collective Training Facility. It involved more than 190 National Guard members. […] The exercise was designed to test such areas as initial response, search and rescue, evacuation, crime-scene preservation and mass decontamination. […] 'Law-enforcement officers and local fire departments responded, but they were unable to fully mitigate the situation, so they called for our assistance,' said Maj. Mark Thomas, commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard's chemical /biological/radiological/nuclear/high-yield-explosive Enhanced Response Force Package, or CERFP. After a recon of the 'hot zone,' search-and-extraction team members in full protective suits located survivors and carried them to a casualty-collection point. The casualties were then taken to a decontamination line, where they were thoroughly cleaned. Once cleaned, the survivors were triaged by medical personnel and sent for medical care. To add realism, smoke and 'flash-bang' concussion grenades were constantly set off during the exercise." (Lebanon Daily News; 27Aug09; Brad Rhen)

Science and technology keeping Canadians safe
"Russian encroachment in the north, rapidly spreading pandemics and international terrorism are just some issues Canada's Centre for Security Science monitors when tackling national public safety. The centre is a joint endeavor between Defence Research and Development Canada and Public Safety Canada. Its primary goal is to use cutting edge science and technology to make sure Canada can respond rapidly and properly to any security threat. […] The country currently has a number of tools at its disposal that could be rapidly deployed in the event of a catastrophic breach of national security. Some of those tools include mobile biological and chemical detection and treatment stations, advanced antibodies in development for fighting toxins such as ricin and computer models that show how toxic clouds from a nuclear plant or oil refinery fire could spread through a city. 'We've made large investments in the process and methodologies of identifying risk,' [Mark] Williamson [the centre's deputy director general] said, saying those investments were crucial to advancing the science and technology needed to keep residents safe. Williamson also outlined key priorities the centre has identified as crucial to protecting public safety in Canada, as well as areas that are currently receiving funding to help develop the science and technology necessary for protecting that safety. One of the priorities includes protecting against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats. […] Williamson said one of the keys to ensuring that public security was adequate in Canada was to realize the changing scope of security in an increasingly international and interconnected world, and to make sure public security Canada was adapting to increasingly more complex and dangerous threats." (New Brunswick Business Journal; 27Aug09; John Shmuel)

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