America's International Ports and Intermodal Transportation System: Ill-Prepared for Biological Weapons of Mass Destruction   [open pdf - 79KB]

"Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005 was an alarming wake-up call on how unprepared America is for a national disaster. Whether a natural disaster as Katrina, or a bioterrorism disaster as September 11, homeland defense is our nation's top issue in the 21st century. This paper focuses on the state of bioterrorism preparedness in America's international ports. It reviews America's ability to assess, counter, and respond to weapons of mass destruction (WMD), specifically biological weapons. America's international ports, based on Katrina's impact on New Orleans and the terrorist attacks of 9/11, are ill-prepared for disasters. Current strategic plans for the international ports are inadequate. Local agencies have not worked with states, and states have not worked regionally or nationally to provide security for Americans living in port cities. To close the gap between the threat and the capability of coping with the threat will require collaboration on the assessment and development of a strategy for disasters. Federal, state, and local agencies must ensure citizens of their readiness for a national disaster. A coherent strategy for assessing, countering, and responding to weapons of mass destruction is essential. This strategic framework must be rooted in the National Strategy for Homeland Security."

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