War on Terrorism

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Three-Day National Level Exercise Continues with Successful ‘Rendering Safe” of Improvised Nuclear Device at Los Angeles Coliseum

May 18, 2010 - The FBI is coordinating a training exercise among multiple government and law enforcement organizations at the national and local level, to exercise response capabilities relative to a terrorist attack involving an improvised nuclear device. The exercise will take place Monday, May 17th through Wednesday, May 19th.

The exercise scenario involves the use of “national assets” deployed to respond to a notional improvised nuclear device at a sports complex in Los Angeles, California.

According to the scenario, law enforcement at various levels will be challenged with detecting the device, as well as multiple secondary devices, in Los Angeles, after learning that an initial device has already detonated in another part of the country. Responding local and national agencies will attempt to render the device safe and transport the device to a secure facility, using their collective resources and equipment.

Below are descriptions of roles for many of the various agencies that would respond in the event of a suspected improvised nuclear device:


Current federal laws and Presidential Directives assign the FBI with investigative and operational responsibility for threats and incidents involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Therefore, the FBI maintains investigative and technical resources capable of assessing WMD threats and responding to suspect devices. In addition to Joint Terrorism Task Forces and FBI field offices, WMD coordinators and Special Agent Bomb Technicians are responsible for coordination with partner federal and local agencies. It is critical that agencies work together to leverage resources for successful resolution.

Steven Martinez, FBI Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said, “Los Angeles is a global destination for commerce and tourism and home to world class attractions and symbols of American freedom. Therefore, law enforcement at all levels must train for the possibility that Los Angeles may be targeted for terrorism. Threats involving weapons of mass destruction are complex, and confronting them must be practiced constantly.”


The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) provides trained personnel and highly specialized equipment for radiological search, render safe, and consequence management. NNSA on-call duty teams deploy to support law enforcement during the search for and/or rendering safe of a potential terrorist device. Other on-call NNSA teams deploy in support of States/locals in mitigating the consequences of a real or possible release of radiological material. NNSA also staffs "Home Teams" which provide 24-hour reachback support and are available within 15-30 minutes of notification. These teams consist of scientists from the NNSA National Laboratories that are the Nation's experts in the identification of suspect radioactive materials, and in predicting the consequences of the release of radioactive material.

"Partnering with our federal, state and local responders to exercise our collective capabilities is an important part of the National Nuclear Security Administration's national security mission," said NNSA Associate Administrator Joseph Krol. "With more than sixty years of expertise in handling, securing and detecting nuclear material, NNSA is uniquely equipped to share expertise and emergency response assets to ensure we can prevent and respond to nuclear and radiological incidents."


“While our colleagues in intelligence and law enforcement work to make sure that our county never suffers a nuclear attack, Public Health is preparing to minimize casualties in the event that one occurs” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “We have the capability to deploy radiation monitors throughout Los Angeles County and, in the event of a nuclear explosion or radiological event, we will immediately begin providing life-saving guidance to residents and first responders.”


The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has a robust Preventative Radiation / Nuclear Detection (PRND) consisting of patrol capabilities as well as specialized units equipped with vehicle, boat and aerial mounted detection systems. The program is designed to assist our federal, state and local partners locate illicit nuclear materials and weapons prior to their use by terrorists or criminals. In the event that a Radiological Dispersal Device or Nuclear Weapon is located, Sheriff's HazMat Detail and Bomb Squad personnel have specialized equipment and training to begin the mitigation process until federal assets arrive to bring the incident to a successful conclusion.

Chief Michael Grossman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security Division, said, “This exercise gives us the opportunity to collaboratively test the skills of our technicians within a multi-agency environment and evaluate the advanced technologies that will ultimately assist us in mitigating a nuclear threat.”


Los Angeles Chief of Police Charlie Beck said, "A scenario involving a weapon of mass destruction would require incredibly refined coordination among organizations, be them large, small, public or private. Finding out what works and what doesn't work in a simulated high-stakes exercise makes us better prepared for real-world scenarios."


"In this region, we are proud that agencies and officials work together on a daily basis to prevent man-made crises and prepare for natural disasters," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "Today, this collaboration and cooperation represent government at its best. We understand that public safety is our number one priority – and we’ll never waiver in the effort to protect our residents from either man-made or natural disasters…And today, this collaboration and cooperation… represent government at its best…”


Our radiation detection equipment provides Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with a passive, non-intrusive means to screen trucks and other conveyances for the presence of nuclear and radiological materials. These systems are capable of detecting various types of radiation emanating from nuclear devices, dirty bombs, special nuclear materials, natural sources, and isotopes commonly used in medicine and industry. Non-intrusive Inspection (NII) technologies are force multipliers that enable CBP officers and agents to scan or examine larger portions of the stream of commercial traffic for contraband while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade, cargo and passengers. As the nation's primary border enforcement agency, CBP must do everything in its power to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, from entering this country.

Christopher Perry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Acting Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles, said, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations in Los Angeles, is pleased to provide support to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on the radiological screening component of this national exercise. Over the last several years, Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technologies have become a key component in CBP’s layered enforcement strategy. Technologies deployed throughout this exercise include large-scale X-ray and gamma-ray imaging systems as well as a variety of portable and hand-held technologies.”


Federal Air Marshal VIPR Team: Our main involvement in the exercise will be to deploy our VIPR (Visible Intermodal Protection and Response Team) and assigned with an FBI Team seek out illicit radiological sources that may present a threat to the public.


Matthew Bettenhausen, Agency Secretary for the California Emergency Management Agency, said, “In the event of an IND within the State of California, CalEMA will work to coordinate resources and make sure our local partners have the support they need to respond and save lives. While we have substantial capabilities to respond to the aftermath of a nuclear detonation, we believe the critical focus must be on the prevention of such an incident. The local, state and federal capabilities we have in the State of California are the best in the nation. The protocols and operating procedures we have developed and implemented here in the state are leading a national effort. We will use every opportunity we have to exercise our protocols so that we continue to improve how we work together to prevent and respond to a nuclear detonation."


Chief George R. Centeno of the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department, said, ”The Los Angeles Airport Police has enhanced its patrol deployments and has activated a heightened Airport access plan called DRAPE. We will remain on red alert until further direction from the Department of Homeland Security. We have provided support to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles Police Department and have intelligence officers assigned to the Joint Regional Intelligence Center based in Los Angeles, California. Our resources will continue to work closely with these agencies to readily provide assistance when needed. In addition, Los Angeles Airport Polices' Critical Infrastructure Protection mission is an element used in the nation-wide preventative radiation/nuclear detection effort. Our detection program is coordinated with our local, state and federal partners who are involved in the interdiction of illicit radiological materials. Specially equipped and trained Airport Police officers are available to support the regional detection effort upon the request from federal, state or local authorities.”


Laura Eimiller; 310 420-6441; laura.eimiller@ic.fbi.gov

Alternate FBI:

Lourdes Arocho (Spanish Speaker); 310 628-2023; Lourdes.arocho@ic.fbi.gov

PIO Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:

Deputy Nicole Nishida; (323) 810-1973; Office (323) 267-4815; nnishida@lasd.org

Alternate LASD: Deputy Byron Ward Deputy Ward; (323) 810-2418; bkward@lasd.org

PIO Customs Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security:

Jaime Ruiz; (202) 534-8622; Jaime.i.ruiz@dhs.gov


Robert J. Harvey; (310)615-8680 Office; (310)849-3063 PDA; robert.j.harvey@secureskies.net

PIO NNSA, Department of Energy:

Casey Ruberg; Cell: 240-751-2972 Main; 202-586-7371; Casey.ruberg@nnsa.doe.gov


John Romero; 213-840-7803; john.romero@lapd.lacity.org

PIO Public Health Los Angeles County:

Robert Perkins; (213) 989-7011; rperkins@ph.lacounty.gov


Sgt. Belinda Nettles, 310 337-5006; bnettles@lawa.org

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