Federal Response to a Domestic Nuclear Attack   [open pdf - 261KB]

"The United States government needs to plan for and prepare against terrorist attacks. Terrorism, when combined with weapons of mass destruction, increases the planning complexity. In the event of a nuclear terrorist attack, the government will need to conduct consequence management in the affected areas, govern the non-affected areas, and prevent future attacks. This paper examines what actions, following a nuclear terrorist attack on domestic soil, produce the broadest and deepest results and what options the President has to address such a national emergency. The federal government must address the national effects caused by the attack itself as well as the anticipated results caused by communities enacting protective measures at the detriment of their neighbors. To produce the list of coordinated actions and options, this paper uses a scenario where a terrorist loads a 10-kiloton (kt) weapon into a truck, drives it to the nation's capital, and detonates it. After detonation, the government must attempt to mitigate the weapon's real and perceived effects. A review of the mitigating responses reveals that some actions are nearly impossible without prior planning and coordination. Additionally, the government must operate within a framework of constitutionally granted authorities. Continuity of government is assumed sufficient to exercise command and control and is beyond the scope of this paper. It is also beyond the scope of this paper to present more than a cursory overview of preventing a subsequent attack."

Report Number:
Counterproliferation Papers, Future Warfare Series No. 46
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
United States Air Force: http://www.au.af.mil
Media Type:
Counterproliferation Papers, Future Warfare Series No. 46
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