Combating Biological Terrorism: Is Department of Defense Prepared to Support U.S. Government Interagency Quarantine Operations   [open pdf - 971KB]

The threat of biological terrorism, long ignored and denied, has heightened over the past few years as illustrated by the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo sarin attack in the Tokyo subway system. Many experts in the field of combating terrorism state that it is not "if" but "when", a terrorist will detonate a biological weapon(s) in the United States. If this is the case, is the Department of Defense prepared to support the U.S. Government's interagency effort to establish, maintain and enforce a quarantine operation? Specifically, is current doctrine, policy, and interagency infrastructure (specifically DoD) adequate to respond to an incident of biological terrorism (to support quarantine operations) in a major U.S. metropolitan city? As a result of this heightened threat, President Clinton announced a series of sweeping combating terrorism policy initiatives during his remarks at the United States Naval Academy Commencement on May 22, 1998. These initiatives included the signing of Presidential Decision Directives 62 and 63 (follow-up to PDD 39) which among other aspects, set-up the office of the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism within the National Security Council. This was a watershed step in the Federal government's ability to finally assert a collective and coordinated (Interagency) effort in the area of combating terrorism. These land mark initiatives definitely went a long way to solidify the U.S. government's national commitment to protect the nation's critical infrastructure and population from the effects of terrorist's attacks involving weapons of mass destruction to include nuclear, chemical, and biological threats.

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