THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
LESSONS LEARNED FROM NATURAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL DISASTERS
FEBRUARY 28 – MARCH 1, 2002
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
A SUMMARY TO THE
NATURAL DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE
JULIE L. DEMUTH, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
FOREWORD BY RUTHERFORD H. PLATT, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS
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Countering Terrorism: Lessons Learned from Natural and Technological Disasters THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES COUNTERING TERRORISM: LESSONS LEARNED FROM NATURAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL DISASTERS FEBRUARY 28 – MARCH 1, 2002 WASHINGTON, DC NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES WASHINGTON, DC A SUMMARY TO THE NATURAL DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE BY JULIE L. DEMUTH, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL FOREWORD BY RUTHERFORD H. PLATT, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS
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Countering Terrorism: Lessons Learned from Natural and Technological Disasters NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this summary was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This summary is available on the internet from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418, (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); internet <http://www.nap.edu>. This report is supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (EMW-2001-SA-0051); Institute for Business and Home Safety; the National Academies; National Aeronautic and Space Administration (W-24245); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Task order 56-DKNA-0-95111); Pacific Gas & Electric; and US Environmental Protection Agency (X-82953601-0). The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of these agencies or any of their subagencies. Supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, under assistance award No. 00HQAG0205. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the author and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CMS-9981962 and 0126041. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author and do not reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Countering Terrorism: Lessons Learned from Natural and Technological Disasters THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to theNation onScience,Engineering, andMedicine National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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Countering Terrorism: Lessons Learned from Natural and Technological Disasters THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to theNation onScience,Engineering, andMedicine National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council NATURAL DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE The Natural Disasters Roundtable (NDR)1 seeks to facilitate and enhance communication and the exchange of ideas among scientists, practitioners, and policymakers concerned with urgent and important issues related to natural disasters. Roundtable meetings are held three times a year in Washington, DC. Each meeting is an open forum focused on a specific topic or issue selected by the NDR Steering Committee. The NDR Steering Committee is composed of 5 appointed members and sponsoring ex officio members. Appointed members are: Rutherford H. Platt, Chair, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; James P. Bruce, Global Change Strategies International, Inc., Ottawa, Canada; Wilfred D. Iwan, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena; Stephen P. Leatherman, Florida International University, Miami; and Mary Fran Myers, University of Colorado, Boulder. Ex officio members are: Lloyd S. Cluff, Pacific Gas & Electric; Frank Goodman, EPRI; Timothy Gubbels, NASA; Robert Hirsch, USGS; Margaret Lawless, FEMA; James Makris, USEPA; James Russell, Institute for Business and Home Safety; Dennis Wenger, NSF; and Helen Wood, NOAA. For more information on the Roundtable visit our website: http://national-academies.org/naturaldisasters or contact us at the address below. Natural Disasters Roundtable The National Academies 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 Phone: 202-334-1964 Fax: 202-334-1961. 1 The National Research Council defines a “roundtable” as a type of convening activity of the National Academies that provides a means for representatives of government, industry, and academia to gather periodically for the identification and discussion of issues of mutual concern. In contrast to National Research Council study committees and other committees of the National Academies, roundtables are intended solely to enable dialogue and discussion among key leaders and representatives on a particular issue. They provide a valuable forum for exchanging information and for the presentation of individual views. However, because roundtables are not subject to institutional requirements concerning conflicts of interest, composition, and balance that apply to NRC committees, roundtables are prohibited by the National Academies from providing any advice or recommendation.
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Countering Terrorism: Lessons Learned from Natural and Technological Disasters FOREWORD When, where, and how will the next shoe fall? Since the cataclysmic attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 (“September 11”), the United States has held its collective breath awaiting the next acts of premeditated and wanton terrorism. While political attention has focused on international threats, acts of terrorism also originate domestically, as the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City attests. And the medium of choice for the next terrorist attack could be slow and insidious rather than explosive. The anonymous mailing of anthrax spores to selected human targets shortly after September 11 demonstrated the vulnerability of our most basic daily support systems to biological, chemical, or radiological disruption. In response to the September 11 attacks and the anthrax outbreak, the National Academies (the Academies) promptly offered to assist national leaders in assessing the scientific and technical dimensions of terrorism. A meeting of the National Academy of Sciences President Bruce Alberts and other distinguished scientists on September 26, 2001 led to the formation of the Klausner-Branscomb Committee to develop a comprehensive science and technology agenda for counter-terrorism. Within the Academies, responsibility for the inventory and coordination of terrorist-related activities of various units was assigned to Dr. Douglas Bauer, Director for Counter-Terrorism Coordination. Beyond documenting work already completed or in progress, the National Academies has sponsored a variety of ad hoc initiatives to better apply national expertise in science, engineering, and medicine to countering terrorism. Within weeks after September 11, proposals were solicited from units of the National Academies for special short-term projects relating to terrorism to be funded internally by the Academies President’s Office. Dr. William Anderson, Director of the Natural Disasters Roundtable (NDR), successfully requested funds to support a two-day forum on “How Natural Disaster Research Can Inform Response to Terrorism.” This program, held on February 28-March 1, 2002, was organized by Dr. Anderson and NDR Staff Associate Patricia Jones Kershaw in collaboration with the NDR Steering Committee. Together, they selected an interdisciplinary group of 24 speakers and panelists (see Appendix A for the agenda and Appendix B for speaker biographies; additionally, see Appendix C for related links and Appendix D for a list of attendees). This report summarizes the discussions of that forum. The Natural Disasters Roundtable (NDR) was established by the National Academies in 2000 to promote communication and knowledge transfer concerning natural hazards among researchers, governmental agency staff, political decision makers, and the interested public. The NDR membership includes a steering committee of natural hazard experts from various disciplines and representatives from participating federal
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Countering Terrorism: Lessons Learned from Natural and Technological Disasters agencies. Prior to its terrorism forum, the NDR had organized three public forums at the National Academies headquarters building on selected topics of immediate public interest: (1) Urban-Wildland Fires; (2) Energy Policy and Natural Disasters; and (3) Sea Level Rise and Coastal Disasters. Unlike committees and boards of the National Academies, a roundtable is intended to facilitate communication among various sectors, but not to prepare a formal report or offer recommendations. This summary therefore is simply a synopsis of the various speakers and discussion without recommendations for public policy. The NDR Forum on Countering Terrorism was not designed to repeat truisms and conventional wisdom Instead, it was intended as a unique opportunity for researchers on natural and technological disasters to draw on and share their research in order to help us better understand how to confront and respond to terrorism. The forum also allowed responders who were on the scene in New York or Arlington, Virginia, to provide an account of their experiences, with the intent of suggesting worthwhile lines of research that may help them meet future terrorist threats and attacks. The issue of causation is crucial: deliberate causing of harm (terrorism) obviously differs from an impersonal “Act of Nature” (e.g., earthquake, flood, ice storm, drought). An airplane crash or toxic waste spill may be terrorist-induced or may result from factors unrelated to terrorism. Making the distinction is important. Terrorism is cold-blooded, calculated, and criminal. Its manifestations are largely unpredictable as to form, location, and magnitude. Secondary effects from terrorism – economic, social, and emotional – may spread more rapidly and widely than in the case of many natural or technological disasters. Moreover, the site of a terrorist act must be treated as a crime scene as well as a disaster scene. Nevertheless, there are many commonalities between deliberate human-caused disaster and unintentional human- or natural-caused disasters. Each type of disaster may require incident command organization, information technology, warnings, communications, evacuation, special needs populations, feeding and sheltering, volunteers, emotional counseling, and stability of lifelines. The four core componets of emergency management are: (1) Preparedness, (2) Response, (3) Recovery, and (4) Mitigation. These apply equally to terrorist threats, with the possible addition of detection of threats, and prevention (or interdiction). Clearly, there is much work to be done in relating knowledge about human response to natural and technological disasters to the threat of terrorism. The NDR Forum was a first step in what should be a longterm collaboration between natural hazards researchers and responders, and terrorism researchers and responders. I believe that each group will learn from each other, to their mutual benefit and that of the nation as a whole. Rutherford H. Platt, Chair Natural Disasters Roundtable