Improving Strategies to Prevent and Prepare for Radiological Attack   [open pdf - 472KB]

"The threat of radiological attack against the United States is viewed as credible, imminent, and capable of inflicting lasting negative impacts on domestic society. The United States is pursuing detection/denial and public preparedness strategies in order to prevent and minimize the effects of a possible radiological terrorist attack. This thesis surveys the prevalence of radiological material in society, as well as major U.S. programs to secure international trade, U.S. borders, and radiological material, and to prepare the public in order to determine their effectiveness against the threat of radiological attack. The research conducted indicates that U.S. government strategies against the radiological threat favor costly and problematic technological detection programs over public preparedness strategies, which are not optimized or resourced to address the general public's fear of radiation, fatalism toward terrorism preparedness, and skepticism of the government as a credible source of information on terrorism and radiation. This thesis concludes that the government should empower the Weapons of Mass Destruction czar with strategic oversight and technology funding-approval authority to de-conflict and streamline technological detection programs at the national level. It should also improve public education outreach resourcing and capabilities to increase public preparedness, thereby developing the public into a national security asset."

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