DoD and Consequence Management: Mitigating the Effects of Chemical and Biological Attack   [open pdf - 36KB]

The threat of chemical and biological weapons attack against U.S. forces and population centers, as well as those of our allies, is real and growing. Mitigating the effects of such an attack--consequence management--is an essential part of responding to the threat. Many state and local governments have improved their capabilities to deal with this challenge. While progress is being made at the federal level, several departments and agencies, including the Department of Defense (DoD), are struggling to develop and coordinate effective responses. DoD organization, planning, and funding for consequence management fail to reflect the complexity of today's security environment, including: the potential for asymmetric warfare, the vulnerability of military facilities at home and abroad, and the indiscriminate character of chemical and biological weapons when used against military facilities near civilian population centers. Within DoD, effective consequence management is constrained by the presence of arbitrary conceptual and organizational divisions that inadequately define the response according to the nature, location, and target of the attack. The lack of an integrated DoD approach to many similar and overlapping consequence management activities involving the same resources and units contributes to poorly-defined mission requirements, organizational confusion, and inefficient resource allocation. These problems lead to unrealistic planning assumptions regarding the ability of DoD to conduct overseas operations in case of a major chemical or biological attack in the United States.

Report Number:
Strategic Forum No. 169
Public Domain
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