Timeline of Homeland Security Events and Milestones

2017

Thomas Fire

(Credit: NASA)

December 4, 2017: A quick-moving wildfire began north of Santa Paula, CA south of Thomas Aquinas College, and burns over 280,000+ acres, becoming the largest wildfire in California history.

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2017

Texas Church Shooting

November 5, 2017: Devin Patrick Kelley of nearby New Braunfels, killed 26 and injured 20 others in a shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

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2017

New York Truck Attack

(Credit: Gh9449, Own work)

October 31, 2017: Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov drove down a crowded bicycle and pedestrian path near the World Trade Center in Manhatten, New York. He drove on the pathway for several blocks, striking numerous people.

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2017

Tubbs Fire

(Credit: Phoenix7777/wiki commons)

October 8, 2017: A fast-growing fire broke out near Tubbs Lane in Calistoga, CA and would continue to burn for 23 days, becoming the most destructive wildfire in California history.

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2017

Las Vegas Shooting

(Credit: Mariordo)

October 1, 2017: Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, fired hundreds of rifle rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel on a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, leaving 58 people dead and 546 injured.

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2017

Hurricane Maria

Fallen Ficus Tree Earns Painter's Reward

(Credit: Lee Snyder)

September 19, 2017: The category 4 hurricane “Maria” caused widespread devastation to Puerto Rico’s transportation, agriculture, communication and energy infrastructure.

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2017

Hurricane Irma

(Credit: J.T. BLATTY / FEMA)

September 10, 2017: “Irma” made landfall as a category 4 hurricane at Cudjoe Key, Florida after devastating the U.S. Virgin Islands – St. John and St. Thomas – as a category 5 storm.

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2017

Soda Springs, ID Sequence Earthquakes

(Credit: USGS)

September 2, 2017: following a magnitude 5.3 earthquake east of Soda Springs, Idaho was a sustained and highly active sequence of aftershocks.

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2017

Hurricane Harvey

(Credit: 1st Lt. Allegra Boutch)

August 25, 2017: “Harvey” made landfall as a category 4 hurricane near Rockport, Texas causing widespread damage. Extreme rainfall produced historic flooding across Houston and surrounding areas.

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2017

Charlottesville Rally Protest

(Credit: Brennan Gilmore/wikicommons user)

August 11-12, 2017: Prior to an Alt-Right rally,  a man drove his car into a crowd of protesters, killing one person and injuring 19 more.

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2017

Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting

January 6, 2017: Near a baggage claim in Terminal 2 at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, Iraq war veteran, Esteban Santiago, opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol in a crowd of travelers.

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2016

Ohio State University Attack

November 28, 2016: Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan, drove a vehicle into a courtyard deliberately striking pedestrians, then began attacking students with a knife after crashing the vehicle.

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2016

St. Cloud Mall Stabbing Attack

September 17, 2016: 10 people were injured in a stabbing attack at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud Minnesota. The attacker, Dahir Adan, was fatally shot by an armed off-duty police officer on the scene.

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2016

New York and New Jersey Bombings

(Credit: FBI)

September 17, 2016: Ahmad Rahami conducted two bombings and attempted additional bombings in various locations in New York City and New Jersey on September 17, 2016, and September 18, 2016.

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2016

Dallas Police Shooting

July 7, 2016: Micah Xavier Johnson began shooting at the end of a protest in Dallas, Texas. Five law enforcement officers were killed; nine were wounded, including seven law enforcement officers. The shooter was killed by a bomb-carrying robot.
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2016

Pulse Nightclub Shooting

(Credit: White House, David Lienemann)

June 12, 2016: Omar Mir Seddique Mateen began shooting patrons inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine people were killed; 53 were wounded.

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2016

Western/Southeast Wildfires – Summer/Fall 2016

Widlfire, Great Smoky Mountains - NPS

(Credit: National Park Service)

June-December 2016: Drought conditions contributed to an active wildfire season with over 5.0 million acres burned nationally. A devastating firestorm impacted Gatlinburg, Tennessee when hurricane-force wind gusts in extremely dry conditions created volatile wildfire behavior.

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2015

San Bernardino Shooting

December 2, 2015: Husband and wife, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik began shooting at coworkers of one of the shooters at an event in the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. Fourteen people were killed; twenty-two were wounded.
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2015

Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting

November 27, 2015: Robert Lewis Dear, Jr. opened fire at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing 3 and injuring 9.

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2015

Umpqua Community College Shootings

October 1, 2015: Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer began shooting classmates in a classroom on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Nine people were killed; seven were wounded.

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2015

Lafayette Movie Theater Shooting

July 23, 2015: An assailant opened fire at the Grand 16 theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. With a history of mental problems, he legally purchased a gun from an Alabama pawn shop.

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2015

Chattanooga Shootings

July 16, 2015: Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez began shooting at the Armed Forces Career Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, wounding a U.S. Marine. The shooter then drove to the Navy and Marine Reserve Center, where he killed 4 U.S. Marines and wounded a law enforcement officer and a U.S. navy sailor who died a few days later.

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2015

OPM Data Breach

Credit: U.S. Navy)

July 9, 2015: The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) “concluded with high confidence that sensitive information, including the Social Security Numbers (SSNs) of 21.5 million individuals, was stolen from the background investigation databases.” — OPM

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2015

Charleston Church Shooting

June 17, 2015: Dylann Storm Roof began shooting at prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people were killed; no one was wounded.
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2015

Western and Alaskan Wildfires – Summer/Fall 2015

Sockeye Wildfire, Alaska 2015

(Credit: CDC)

June-November 2015: Wildfires burned over 10.1 million acres across the U.S. in 2015, surpassing 2006 for the highest annual total of U.S. acreage burned since record-keeping began in 1960.

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2014

Five Cybersecurity Bills Become Law

December 18, 2015: In the 113th Congress, five significant cybersecurity bills were signed by President Barack Obama.

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2014

South Napa, CA Earthquake

(Credit: Erol Kalkan/ US Geological Survey)

August 24, 2014: A magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit in South Napa, California. It was the largest earthquake to hit the San Francisco Bay Area in 25 years.

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2014

Las Vegas Police Ambush

July 8, 2014: Two Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers were ambushed and killed by two assailants. The assailants went on to instigate an active shooter situation, killing a Good Samaritan civilian who attempted to intervene.

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2014

Isla Vista Rampage

May 23, 2014: Elliot Rodger began shooting in the first of 17 locations in Isla Vista, California. After stabbing 3 inside his apartment earlier that day, the shooter began driving through town, shooting from his car.
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2014

2014 Fort Hood Shooting

(Credit: U.S. Army/Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle)

April 2, 2014: Ivan Antonio Lopez-Lopez began shooting inside an administrative office on the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas. The active-duty soldier then moved from one location to another, firing inside and outside buildings. Three soldiers were killed; 12 were wounded. — FBI, Active Shooter Incidents

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2014

Flint Water Crisis

(Credit: Ray Crayton/ USAF)

April 2014: Flint, MI loses access to safe, reliable drinking water when the city switched its water source from Lake Huron to Flint River, which has been found contaminated with high concentrations of lead.

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2014

Oso Landslide

Oso Mudslide

(Credit: Jonathan Godt, USGS)

March 22, 2014: Four miles east of Oso, Washington, a massive landslide claimed 43 lives, and destroyed 49 homes and other structures.

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2014

NIST releases First Cybersecurity Framework

February 12, 2014: “Created through collaboration between industry and government, the voluntary Framework consists of standards, guidelines, and practices to promote the protection of critical infrastructure. The prioritized, flexible, repeatable, and cost-effective approach of the Framework helps owners and operators of critical infrastructure to manage cybersecurity-related risk.” — National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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2013

West Fertilizer Company Fire and Explosion

(Credit: CSB)

April 17, 2013: The fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Company (WFC) in West, Texas was described as “one of the most destructive incidents ever investigated by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB).”

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2013

Boston Marathon Bombings

April 15, 2013: At the annual Boston Marathon, 282 people were injured and four were killed, including an MIT police officer, when two pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the crowded finish line.

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2013

Christopher Dorner Shootings and Manhunt

February 3-12, 2013: Former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner began a manifesto-fueled rampage, targeting civilians and law enforcement alike. The incident left four dead and several wounded across multiple counties and involved law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions.

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2013

Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013

January 29, 2013: President Barack Obama signed into law the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA) of 2013 and the accompanying Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013.

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2012

Sandy Hook School Shooting

(Credit: Aviano AFB)

December 14, 2012: In the space of several minutes, Adam Lanza killed 20 elementary school children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragic event heightened growing concerns about school security and gun control laws.

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2012

Hurricane Sandy

(Credit: NASA/GSFC/William Putman)

October 22, 2013: “Superstorm Sandy” formed off a tropical wave in the Caribbean Sea. It would end up killing 233 people over the span of eight countries, with 159 deaths in the U.S. alone. Total damages resulting from the storm exceeded $70 billion.

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2012

Benghazi Attack

(Credit: Senior Airman Steele C.G. Britton/ USAF)

September 11, 2012: the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya was attacked by members of Ansar al-Sharia. The group launched a mortar attack at a CIA annex the next morning, approximately one mile away.

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2012

Sikh Temple Shooting

August 5, 2012: Wade Michael Page began shooting outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Six people were killed; four were wounded, including one police officer.
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2012

Aurora Century 16 Theater Shooting

July 20, 2012: During a midnight screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, James Eagan Holmes, dressed in tactical clothing, set off teargas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms. Minutes later, responding police arrested Holmes outside the theater. — U.S. Dept. of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services
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2012

2012 U.S. Drought/Heatwave

January-December 2012: The 2012 drought is the most extensive drought to affect the U.S. since the 1930s. Moderate to extreme drought conditions affected more than half the country for a majority of 2012.

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2011

Mineral, VA Earthquake

(Credit: USNPS)

August 23, 2011: A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck near Mineral, Virginia. It was the largest earthquake in the eastern U.S. since 1944.

 

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2011

EF-5 Tornado – Joplin, MO

Destruction from Joplin tornado

(Credit: Jace Anderson/FEMA)

May 22, 2011: An EF-5 tornado devastated the city of Joplin, MO, leaving an estimated 157 people dead. It is the deadliest single tornado since modern record-keeping began in 1950 and is ranked as the 7th deadliest in U.S. history.

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2011

International Strategy for Cyberspace

May 16, 2011: The International Strategy for Cyberspace: Prosperity, Security, and Openness in a Networked World, released by the Barack Obama White House, “marks the first time any Administration has attempted to set forth in one document the U.S. government’s vision for cyberspace, including goals for defense, diplomacy, and international development.” — CRS

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2011

2011 Tornado Super Outbreak

Tornado sweeps across plains

(Credit: Amanda L. Hill, NOAA)

April 25-28, 2011: An outbreak of 362 tornadoes occurred over just four days, surpassing the previous record for all of April by nearly 100, but also accounting for almost half of the confirmed tornadoes during the month. (On This Day: 2011 Tornado Super Outbreak).

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2011

Shooting at Gabrielle Giffords’ ‘Congress on Your Corner’ Event

January 8, 2011: Jared Lee Loughner began shooting during a congressional town hall meeting sponsored by U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords outside a Safeway store in Tucson, Arizona. Six people were killed; 13 were wounded, including Rep. Giffords.
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2010

San Bruno Pipeline Explosion

(Credit: MisterOh/wiki user)

September 9, 2010: A PG&E pipeline ruptured and exploded in the Crestmoor residential neighborhood of San Bruno, CA.

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2010

Stuxnet Worm

June 2010: Discovery of the Stuxnet worm exposes the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and computer systems to attack. Countries known to have been affected by the Stuxnet worm include Iran, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Germany, China and the United States.
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2010

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

(Credit: U.S. Coast Guard)

April 20, 2010: The Deepwater Horizon Macondo oil well drilling platform explodes and starts the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history. Millions of barrels of oil is released into the Gulf of Mexico over a span of 87 days.

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2010

Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster

(Credit: Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin)

April 5, 2010: A coal mine located in Montcoal, West Virginia suffers a massive coal dust explosion started as a methane ignition.

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2010

Austin Plane Crash

(Credit: Jasleen Kaur)

February 18, 2010: Andrew Joseph Stack deliberately flew his small single engine aircraft into the Echelon I office building which housed an IRS office in Austin, Texas.

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2009

2009 Fort Hood Shooting

November 5, 2009: Nidal Malik Hasan began shooting inside the Fort Hood Soldier Readiness Processing Center in Fort Hood, Texas. Thirteen people were killed; 32 were wounded, including one police officer. — FBI, Active Shooter Incidents
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2009

Binghamton Shootings

April 3, 2009: The American Civic Association Shooting, in Binghamton New York,  was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. — Broome County AAR
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2008

Tennessee Ash Spill

(Credit: Tennessee Valley Authority)

December 22, 2008: an ash pond dike broke, which released 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash. The spill covered over 300 acres of Watts Bar Reservoir.

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2008

2008 Cyberattack on United States DoD

October 2008: DOD experienced a wake-up call in October 2008 when an intrusion into military networks extended to the classified realm. — DoD News

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2007

9/11 Commission Act of 2007

2007

I-35 Bridge Collapse

(Credit: Clindberg/Flikr user)

August 1, 2007: The Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, MN collapses into the river with no warning. Approximately 120 vehicles went down with the 40-year old bridge, including a school bus full of children.

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2007

Western Wildfires – Summer 2007

(Credit: NASA)

June-August 2007: Drought conditions and high winds over much of the western U.S. resulted in numerous wildfires. National acreage burned exceeded 8.9 million acres, and over 3,000 homes and structures were destroyed in southern California alone.

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2007

Virginia Tech Shooting

(Credit: Eric Draper/White House)

April 16, 2007: “Seung Hui Cho began shooting in a dormitory at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Two-and-a-half hours later, he chained the doors shut in a classroom building and began shooting at the students and faculty inside.

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2006

SAFE Port Act of 2006

October 13, 2006: Public Law 109-347: Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006 is signed. Many of the SAFE PORT Act’s provisions relate to programs designed to secure the United States’ sea ports and shipping lanes.

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2006

Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006

October 4, 2006: The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (PKEMRA) provided important provisions, including the key principle that after a major disaster or emergency declaration, accelerated Federal assistance could be sent by FEMA, in the absence of a specific request by a State, to save lives and prevent suffering. — FEMA

 

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2006

Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006

July 11, 2006: Public Law 109-241: Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006 addresses U.S. Coast Guard issues, shipping and navigation, hurricane response, and a number of other issues.

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2005

Hurricane Katrina

(Credit: Lt Cdr. Mark Moran, NOAA Corps)

August 25-31, 2005: Hurricane Katrina created a path of destruction across southern Florida, and caused devastation into parts of southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

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2004

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act

December 17, 2004: This act created a Director of National Intelligence to coordinate the work of 15 federal intelligence agencies and established a National Counter Terrorism Center to analyze intelligence information – ‘connecting the dots’ so the government could take effective action to detect, prevent, and disrupt terrorist activity. — 9-11 Commission, Homeland Security, and Intelligence Reform

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2003

California Fire Siege 2003

(Senior Master Sgt. Dennis W. Goff/USAF)

October 2003: Dry weather, high winds, and resulting wildfires in Southern California burned over 3,700 homes. Over 750,000 acres burned in 14 major fires.

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2003

National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace

February 14, 2003: The George W. Bush White House released the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace as part of an overall effort to protect the Nation and to “to engage and empower Americans to secure the portions of cyberspace that they own, operate, control, or with which they interact.”

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2002

Homeland Security Act of 2002

November 25, 2002: Public Law 107-296: The Homeland Security Act of 2002 established the Department of Homeland Security and set forth the primary mission of the Department.

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2002

Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002

November 25, 2002: Public Law 107-295: Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 is enacted to raise port security standards and protect the nation’s ports and waterways from a terrorist attack.

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2002

Beltway Sniper Attacks

event

(Credit: FBI)

October 2002: John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo began a series of sniper shootings that would paralyze the National Capitol Region for almost three weeks until October 22, 2002.  Thirteen people were shot, ten of whom died from their wounds.

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2001

Aviation and Transportation Security Act

November 19, 2001: President Bush signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act into law. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is created to oversee security in all modes of transportation. — TSA

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2001

USA PATRIOT Act

(Credit: Eric Draper/White House)

October 26, 2001: The USA PATRIOT Act is signed into law.

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2001

“Amerithrax” Anthrax Attacks

(Credit: FBI)

September 18, 2001: “Soon after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, letters laced with anthrax began appearing in the U.S. mail. Five Americans were killed and 17 were sickened in what became the worst biological attacks in U.S. history. The ensuing investigation by the FBI and its partners — code-named ‘Amerithrax’ — has been one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement.” — FBI

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2001

September 11, 2001 Attacks

(Credit: Robert J. Fisch/Flickr User)

September 11, 2001: Two passenger airliners crash into the World Trade Center Towers in New York, one would hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and another crashed in a Pennsylvania countryside, but was headed for Washington, D.C.

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2000

USS Cole Bombing

(Credit: FBI)

October 12, 2000: Suicide terrorists exploded a small boat alongside the USS Cole—a Navy Destroyer—as it was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden. The blast ripped a 40-foot-wide hole near the waterline of the Cole, killing 17 American sailors and injuring many more. — FBI

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2000

Y2K

(Credit: Matthew Hurst/Flickr user)

January 1, 2000: Widespread fear and panic centered on the turn of the century and the idea that a technological bug would leave nations scrambling to counteract damage done to technological infrastructure.

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1999

Columbine High School Massacre

April 20, 1999: Two subjects walked into Columbine High School and opened fire on both students and staff, as well as detonated explosive devices, some of which were planted in and around the school prior to entering.

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1998

US Embassy Bombings, East Africa

(Credit: USDS)

August 7, 1998: Bombs detonated in front of two American embassies; one in Nairobi, Kenya and the other in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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1996

Centennial Olympic Park Bombing

July 27, 1996: During the Summer Olympic games in Atlanta, GA, Eric Rudolph planted a backpack containing a bomb in crowded Centennial Olympic Park. While many spectators were evacuated, the bomb detonated before all could leave.

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1996

“Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski Arrested

(Credit: Jeanne Boylan/FBI)

April 3, 1996: Theodore Kaczynski is arrested. Also known as the Unabomber, Kaczynski sent primitive, untraceable, homemade explosives to a number of random targets that left the FBI puzzled for nearly two decades.

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1995

Oklahoma City Bombing

(Credit: FBI)

April 19, 1995: A bomb ripped through the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in downtown Oklahoma City, set by Timothy McVeigh.

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1993

Midwest Flooding

On August 1st, 2013, the Mississippi River at St. Louis crested at 49.58 feet, the highest stage over recorded.

(Credit: National Weather Service)

July 2, 1993: Persistent heavy rains and thunderstorms caused severe, widespread flooding in the central U.S. This is the most costly non-tropical, inland flood event to affect the United States on record.

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1993

Waco Siege Ended

(Credit: FBI)

April 19, 1993: The 51-day Waco Seige standoff ended when the the Branch Davidian compound was engulfed by fires set by the Davidians, after the FBI used tear gas in an attempt to force the occupants to leave.

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1993

World Trade Center Bombing

(Credit: FBI)

February 26, 1993: A bomb exploded in a rented moving truck that was parked in the garage beneath the World Trade Center that resulted in a 100-foot crater that was several stories deep and several stories higher.

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1991

Oakland Firestorm

Ground level photo of Oakland Hills fire.

(Credit: NASA/DART)

October 19-22, 1991: The largest dollar fire loss in United States history occurred in the East Bay Hills, within the California cities of Oakland and Berkeley, in October 1991. Twenty-five lives were lost and more than 3,000 structures were destroyed.
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1990

1990 California Freeze

December 20, 1990-January 3, 1991: Fourteen days of subfreezing temperatures crippled California, particularly within the Central Valley where citrus and other crops suffered damage, and thousands of workers were left jobless.

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1989

Loma Prieta Earthquake

eventOctober 17, 1989: A magnitude 6.9 earthquake occurred northeast of Santa Cruz, CA, approximately 60 miles from San Francisco. It was the largest earthquake to occur on the San Andreas fault since the great San Francisco earthquake in April 1906.

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1989

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

(Credit: NARA)

March 24, 1989: Oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling more than 11 million gallons of crude oil. The spill was the largest in U.S. history and caused marine life, communities, and industries to suffer.

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1988

Pan Am 103 Bombing

(Credit: FBI)

December 21, 1988: Pan Am Flight 103 departed from London’s Heathrow Airport, bound for New York City. However, just 40 minutes into the flight, the plane exploded 31,000 feet up in the skies above Lockerbie, Scotland.

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1988

Stafford Act

November 23, 1988: The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, was signed into law, amending the Disaster Relief Act of 1974. The Stafford Act created the system in place today by which a presidential disaster declaration of an emergency triggers financial and physical assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). — FEMA

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1988

1988 U.S. Drought/Heatwave

June-August 1988: A drought across a large portion of the U.S. resulted in very severe losses to agriculture and related industries. Combined direct and indirect deaths due to heat stress were estimated at 5,000.

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1985

TWA Flight 847 Hijacking

(Credit: Ensign Danny Ewing Jr. /U.S. Navy)

June 14, 1985: TWA Flight 847 from Cairo to San Diego with stops in Athens and Rome, was hijacked and held hostage for 17 days, while being subjected to torture and death threats.

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1984

US Embassy Annex Bombing, Beirut

(Credit: Nancy Wong)

September 20, 1984: A suicide bomber detonates a van full of approximately 3,000 pounds of explosives outside of the US Embassy Annex in Beirut, Lebanon. This was the second attack in less than two years on the US Embassy in Beirut.

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1984

Rajneeshee Bioterror Attack

September 1984: “The Rajneesh cult succeeded with the first documented bioterror incident in the United States. […] Their attack hospitalized 45, caused 751 to fall ill, and would serve as a historical benchmark of bioterrorism in the United States.”

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1983

US Embassy Bombing, Beirut

(Credit: US Army)

April 18, 1983: A suicide bomber crashes a truck into the front of the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon before detonating approximately 2,000 pounds of explosives.

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1980

1980 US Heat Wave

June-September 1980: Beginning in June and stretching until mid-September, the 1980 US Heat Wave was a period of intense heat and drought that plagued the central and eastern United States and caused billions in damage.

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1979

Three-Mile Island Accident

(Credit: John G. Kemeny et al/TMI President’s Commission)

March 28, 1979: The Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) reactor, near Middletown, Pa., partially melted down and was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history.

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1978

Creation of FEMA

June 19, 1978: President Carter’s 1979 Executive Order 12127 merged many of separate disaster-related responsibilities into a new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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1975

LaGuardia Airport Bombing

December 29, 1975: The LaGuardia Airport bombing, which killed 11 and seriously injured 74, “was the deadliest attack in New York City since the Wall Street bombing of 1920, which killed 38, until the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.” — Wikipedia

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1974

Disaster Relief Act of 1974

May 22, 1974: President Richard Nixon signed the Disaster Relief Act of 1974, amending a 1970 version of the legislation. The act expanded the assistance the federal government could provide to individuals, states, and local communities suffering from disasters.

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1970

Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster

(Credit: Upike94/wiki user)

December 30, 1970: A blast tore through mine shafts 15 and 16 Finely Mine. Just a month earlier, the Bureau of Mine had declared the mine an imminent danger.

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1970

Dawson’s Field Hijackings

(Credit: Jordanian Press)

September 1970: Four aircraft bound for New York City and one for London, were hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

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1964

Great Alaska Earthquake

(Credit: U.S. Army)

March 27, 1964: A magnitude 9.2 earthquake struck in the Prince William Sound region of Alaska. It lasted for approximately 4.5 minutes, and is the most powerful earthquake recorded in U.S. history.

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1963

Baptist Street Bombing

(Credit: FBI)

September 15, 1963: A dynamite bomb exploded in the back stairwell of the downtown Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The church was well-known as a key civil rights meeting place, so the incident was easily classified as an act of racial hatred.

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1952

National Security Agency Established

(Credit: NSA)

November 4, 1952: The NSA was established by order of President Harry Truman.

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1952

Immigration and Nationality Act

June 27, 1952: “The Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, was created in 1952. Before the INA, a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not organized in one location.” — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

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1951

Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950

January 12, 1951: The Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950 is signed into law.  Prior to this act, there was no comprehensive legislation covering disaster relief. This act established a basic framework for civil defense, with the majority of responsibility vested in the States.
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1949

Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949

(Credit: CIA)

June 20, 1949:  The Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949  is signed. “The CIA was created under the National Security Act of 1947. […] Two years later, President Truman signed the Central Intelligence Agency Act, which authorized CIA to secretly fund intelligence operations and conduct personnel actions outside of standard US Government procedures.” — CIA

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1947

National Security Act of 1947

July 26, 1947: The National Security Act of 1947 is signed. With this act, both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Council (NSC) were created. “In the aftermath of World War II, the National Security Act provided a major reorganization of the U.S. defense and intelligence agencies.”  — U.S. Justice Information Sharing

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1947

Texas City Disaster

(Credit: Alfred S. Gerson/wiki user)

April 16, 1947: Docked in Texas City, TX, the S.S. Grandcamp, loaded with a cargo 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, suddenly and mysteriously caught fire and then exploded. This incident was considered the largest industrial disaster of its time in the U.S.

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1941

Attack on Pearl Harbor

(Credit: Unknown U.S. Navy photographer)

December 7, 1941: Japan launches an attack on Pearl Harbor which goes down as one of the worst attacks on American soil, and catapults the nation into a world war that lasted four years.

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1930

The Dust Bowl

(Credit: George E. Marsh/NOAA)

1930s: Between the years 1930-1940, the Great Plains suffered a severe drought that only further destroyed the already over-farmed and over-grazed land. It would last for nearly a decade, but effects could be felt for years after.

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1928

Okeechobee Hurricane

(Credit: NOAA)

September 17, 1928: A category 4 hurricane tears through Lake Okeechobee area of Florida, piling the water up at the south end of the lake and topping the levee, spreading water several feet deep onto the land below.

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1920

Wall Street Bombing, 1920

(Credit: LOC)

September 16, 1920: A man driving a cart pulled by horse, parked in front of the U.S. Assay Office across from the J. P. Morgan building in the heart of Wall Street. Minutes later, a bomb exploded, devastating the area.

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1918

Influenza Epidemic of 1918

(Credit: U.S. Army)

1918-1919: Known as the “Spanish Flu” or “La Grippe”, the Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919 struck hard and fast, and in just one year dropped the American life expectancy by 12 years.

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1906

San Francisco Earthquake

(Credit: California Historical Society)

April 18, 1906: A magnitude of 7.9 struck San Francisco, CA. Violent shocks lasted approximately 40-60 seconds and was felt from southern Oregon to the south of Los Angeles and inland as far as Central Nevada.

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1900

Great Galveston Hurricane

(Credit: NOAA)

September 8, 1900: A category 4 hurricane strikes Galveston, TX with winds exceeding 135 miles per hour. The storm devastated the port city and to this day remains the deadliest natural disaster in United States history.

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1871

Peshtigo Fire

(Credit: Ruhrfisch/US Census)

October 8, 1871: A devastating forest fire sweeps through northeast Wisconsin and is considered to be the deadliest fire in American history.

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1868

Hayward Fault Earthquake

(Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

October 12, 1868: A magnitude of 6.8 struck the region of San Francisco Bay. It lasted for more than 40 seconds and is considered one of the most destructive earthquakes in California’s history.

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1857

Great Fort Tejon Earthquake

(Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

January 9, 1857: A magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck on the San Andreas Fault from near Parkfield to approximately 300 km away near Wrightwood.

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1811

New Madrid, Missouri Earthquakes

(Credit: USGS)

December 15, 1811: The 1811-1812 New Madrid Sequence consisted of three large earthquakes that spanned from December 15, 1811 to February 7, 1812, followed by hundreds of aftershocks felt throughout the next year.

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