Timeline of Homeland Security Events and Milestones

Entries on the HSDL Timeline of Homeland Security Events and Milestones are related to homeland security and emergency management. Each entry contains a brief description of the event, its significance, and a selection of related resources.

Criteria

Events included in the Timeline have been chosen for their significance in terms of:

  • located in United States or targeting U.S. citizens/property abroad
  • loss of life or injury
  • damage to environment or property
  • monetary loss or economic impact
  • legislative impact or government response
  • historical interest

Filters

The Timeline can be viewed as a whole, or can be filtered to view events in one of four main groupings:

Attacks – significant terrorist attacks, bombings, shootings, and other intentional acts
Natural Disasters – earthquakes, hurricanes, extreme weather, and other naturally occurring disasters
Man-made Disasters – non-intentional, human-influenced disasters and accidents
Milestones – legislation, government actions, and selected documents of particular significance

New events will be considered and added as appropriate.

2024
CrowdStrike Outage
This vectored image portrays a laptop with a blue screen, partially covered by a red triangle with an exclamation showing an alert for a software issue.

A faulty content update caused a system crash for Windows hosts on the CrowdStrike cybersecurity company’s CrowdStrike Falcon® platform. This event affected critical infrastructure worldwide, including airlines, banks, and hospitals. According to CrowdStrike’s blog, the “sensor configuration update that caused the system crash was remediated” within an hour and a…
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Attempted Assassination of Donald Trump
Donald Trump giving a speech.

Former President Donald Trump was shot at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania on July 13, 2024. The attempted assassination left 2 dead and 3 injured, including Trump. Along with the shooter, Corey Comperatore, a former fire chief, also lost his life (AP News). The assailant has been identified as Thomas…
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Hurricane Beryl
Earth,At,Night,From,Orbit,With,City,Lights,And,Huge

As the first major hurricane of the 2024 season, Beryl formed in the Main Development Region of the Atlantic Ocean and ripped through the Yucatán Peninsula and Caribbean as a Category 5 hurricane, with winds reaching over 150 mph (CBS). It was redesignated as a Category 1 before making its…
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2024 Total Solar Eclipse
Total solar eclipse

A total solar eclipse fascinated millions of viewers on April 8, 2024, as they gazed upon a historic event that only occurs approximately every 20 years in the contiguous U.S. Although the majority of the country experienced a partial solar eclipse, other areas in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas,…
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Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse
The MV Dali is underneath the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge. Cranes and shipping containers are also present.

At approximately 1:30am Eastern Daylight Time, the cargo ship Dali reportedly lost power before crashing into a support tower of Baltimore, Maryland’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, a segment of Interstate 695 that spans over the Patapsco shipping channel into the harbor. The crash caused the bridge to collapse in several places. …
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Change Healthcare Cyberattack
Stethoscope and lock on keyboard

As a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, Change Healthcare is one of the largest prescription medication processors and claims to complete 15 billion healthcare transactions each year through its revenue and payment management systems. On February 21, 2024, a cyberattack on Change Healthcare threw healthcare industry operations into arrest as healthcare…
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People’s Republic of China (PRC) State-Sponsored Volt Typhoon Identified by CISA as Cyber Threat Actor
Blue World Map on Computer Screen

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) on February 7, 2024 to alert critical infrastructure organizations about impending cyber attacks from Chinese state-sponsored cyber groups, most notably Volt Typhoon. These groups have infiltrated the IT environments of several organizations focused on communications, energy, transportation, water,…
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2023
Domestic Tension Over Israeli-Hamas Conflict
This image portrays an empty podium with the Department of State emblem and U.S. flag behind it, at the ready for an announcement.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip initiated unexpected assaults on Israel on October 7, 2023, resulting in the deaths of Isralis and foreign nationals, including Americans. Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist organization that is recognized by the U.S. as a foreign…
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Hurricane Idalia
Hurricane Idalia

Hurricane Idalia formed from a low-pressure area across Central America and grew along the Western part of the Caribbean Sea until it became a tropical storm and received its name. The hurricane developed into a Category 4 along the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in Southern Florida at a…
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Maui Wildfires
Maui Wildfires

Dry conditions and high winds from the unseasonably hot weather fueled the August 8, 2023 wildfires on the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Hawaii. This devastating event left extensive property damage, loss of life, and at least 1000 missing persons in the initial days of the fires. President Joseph Biden…
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End of COVID-19 PHE Declaration
End of COVID-19 PHE Declaration

On March 13, 2020, the U.S. federal government declared COVID-19 a national emergency. This declaration enabled several policy changes including mandated COVID-19 data collection, establishing various public assistance programs, and enacting Title 42. Public law 118-3, approved on April 10, 2023, terminated the national emergency declaration (GPO). May 11, 2023,…
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Coldwater, Mississippi Shooting
Coldwater, Mississippi Shooting

On February 17, 2023, at approximately 11:00 a.m., the small, unincorporated community of Arkabutla, Mississippi was devastated by violence at the hands of a lone gunman, Richard Crum. The 52-year-old was arrested and charged for the murders of six people, including his ex-wife and stepfather (USA Today).   Armed with a…
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City of Oakland Ransomware Attack
Close up of a person using a laptop computer with graphic warning sign saying "system hacked"

In early 2023, the City of Oakland reported a cybersecurity incident affecting information technology (IT) systems and resulting in a data breach. According to their press release on August 17, 2023, full recovery of all city systems and operations was achieved by May 2023. Mailed notifications to citizens possibly impacted…
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Half Moon Bay, California Shooting

At 2:22 p.m. PST, San Mateo County Sheriffs were called to the 12700 block of San Mateo Road in Half Moon Bay, CA in response to the report of a shooting at an agricultural facility (KRON4). Four deceased victims along with one critically injured survivor, all due to gunshot wounds,…
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Monterey Park Shooting
Monterey Park Shooting

At approximately 10:22 p.m. PST, police were dispatched to a mass shooting that occurred outside of Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, CA, a city east of Los Angeles. The shooting took place as the city’s predominantly Asian American community was celebrating the Lunar New Year (CNN). Shortly after,…
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2023 Tornado Season
2023 Tornado Season

According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, preliminary data shows that 517 tornadoes have occurred in the United States through April 2023. Tornadoes with ratings from EFU (Enhanced Fujita Scale Unknown) to EF-4 have affected 20 states, including the rare touchdown of an EF-1 tornado in a city just southeast of…
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2022
2022-2023 California Floods
2022-2023 California Floods

According to NOAA, atmospheric rivers (AR) are flowing columns “of condensed water vapor in the atmosphere responsible for producing significant levels of rain and snow, especially in the Western United States” that, when powerful, can result in extreme rainfall and flooding. California experienced atmospheric rivers starting at the end of…
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2022 Winter Storm Elliott
2022 Winter Storm Elliott

Dangerous winter weather conditions swept over the majority of the Central and Eastern U.S., bringing the coldest recorded Christmas in decades to major cities. By December 25, more than 55 million were under wind chill alerts. The storm was responsible for extensive vehicle pileups, and more than 10,000 delayed and…
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Colorado Springs Nightclub Shooting
Colorado Springs Nightclub Shooting

Police officers were dispatched at 11:57 pm MST to Club Q located in Colorado Springs, CO following several reports of gunshots. By 12:02 am the suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, formerly known as Nicholas F. Brink, had been detained. (CNN) Aldrich was found with a semi-automatic weapon, a handgun, and ammunition.…
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Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) started tracking a tropical wave east of the Windward Islands on September 19, 2022. On September 24, 2022, President Biden issued an emergency declaration for Florida.  The wave gained strength and turned into Tropical Storm Ian, eventually hitting Cuba on September 27, 2022 as a…
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January 6, 2021 Hearings
January 6, 2021 Hearings

On July 1, 2021, the January 6 Select Committee was formed to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of the 117th United States Congress to confirm the electoral college count and affirm the next President of the United States. On July 27, 2021, a preliminary…
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Robb Elementary School Shooting
Robb Elementary School Shooting

At roughly 11:00 am CDT in Uvalde, Texas, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos shot his grandmother in their home before driving to Robb Elementary School, crashing a truck in a nearby ditch at 11:28 am. He entered the school through an unlocked side door, carrying with him an assault rifle and a…
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Buffalo, New York Shooting
Buffalo, New York Shooting

At approximately 2:30 p.m. EDT in the Kingsly neighborhood of eastern Buffalo, New York, a gunman shot first outside in the parking lot and then opened fire in a Tops supermarket. Wearing body armor and a helmet, the man live-streamed his attack on the Twitch platform before his feed was…
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1 Million COVID-19 Deaths
1 Million COVID-19 Deaths

From American Hospital Association: “As U.S. COVID-19 deaths today surpassed 1 million, the AHA, American Medical Association, and American Nurses Association continued to urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible. Today we mark an incredibly grim and somber milestone as more than 1…
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2022 Wildfires
2022 Wildfires

As of September 12, 2022, nearly 50,000 wildfires have started and more than 6.5 million acres of land have been burned across the country this year, making 2022 the most active wildfire season in more than 10 years (NIFC). The fire season is continuing to be steady with 21 large…
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2021
800,000 COVID-19 Deaths
800,000 COVID-19 Deaths

From NBC News:  “The United States passed another grim Covid-19 milestone Monday, as more than 800,000 Americans have now died from the virus that’s plagued the country for nearly two years. There have been at least 800,156 confirmed deaths traced to the coronavirus, according to a rolling tally by NBC…
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700,000 COVID-19 Deaths
700,000 COVID-19 Deaths

From AP News:  “The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed 700,000 late Friday — a number greater than the population of Boston. The last 100,000 deaths occurred during a time when vaccines — which overwhelmingly prevent deaths, hospitalizations and serious illness — were available to any American over the age…
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Remembering 9/11 20 Years Later
Remembering 9/11 20 Years Later

On September 11, 2001, members of al-Qaeda hijacked and flew passenger airplanes into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City; the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia; and into a field in Somerset, Pennsylvania, not reaching its destination target in Washington, DC, killing nearly 3,000 people and injuring…
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Hurricane Ida
Hurricane Ida

Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at 11:55 a.m. CT. As a Category 4 with winds of 150 mph, the storm tied Hurricane Laura (2020) and the Last Island Hurricane (1856) as the strongest to ever hit Louisiana. Overall, it brought days of misery and destruction, moving with…
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600,000 COVID-19 Deaths
600,000 COVID-19 Deaths

From Reuters: “The United States on Monday crossed the grim milestone of 600,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to a Reuters tally, as slowing vaccination rates threaten the Biden administration target of having 70% of U.S. adults receive at least one shot and 160 million fully inoculated by July 4. The early…
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San Jose Rail Yard Shooting
San Jose Rail Yard Shooting

Early morning just after 6:30 am (PDT), authorities began receiving calls about shots being fired at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) facility in San Jose, California. “When law enforcement arrived on scene, multiple people had been shot in two separate buildings, the sheriff’s office said, and the shooting…
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2021 Wildfires
2021 Wildfires

Nationally, a total of 58,733 wildfires in the U.S. consumed 7,125,643 acres and destroyed 5, 972 structures. These numbers are similar to five and 10-year averages, however certain geographic areas including Northern California, Northwest and Eastern areas, and the Northern Rockies experienced abnormally high levels of fire activity due to…
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2021 Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack
2021 Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack

On May 6, 2021 Colonial Pipeline, “the largest refined products pipeline in the U.S (Colonial Pipeline),” was a victim of data theft followed by a ransomware attack beginning May 7, 2021 and ending May 12, 2021. Even though the initial requested ransom of 75 bitcoin with an estimated value of…
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Boulder Supermarket Shooting
Boulder Supermarket Shooting

Shortly after 2:30 pm MDT, gunman Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa entered the parking lot at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, and opened fire, killing four people before entering the store and continuing to shoot at employees and patrons, killing five more. Authorities began receiving calls at 2:33 pm…
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Atlanta Spa Shootings

On the evening of March 16, 2021, a man opened fire in three separate spas in Atlanta, Georgia, killing eight people–six of whom were Asian women. This event coincided with an uptick of anti-Asian sentiments in the United States over the COVID-19 pandemic, however, there have been no charges of…
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500,000 COVID-19 Deaths
500,000 COVID-19 Deaths

From TIME: “[T]he COVID-19 virus has claimed more than 500,000 lives in the United States, planting yet another grim milestone in a scourge that has wrecked misery in one of the most developed countries in the world. That equates to 1 in 658 Americans in just under a full year…
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2021 Texas Power Crisis
2021 Texas Power Crisis

In mid-February 2021, three major winter storms struck—Feb. 10-11, Feb. 13-17, and Feb. 15-20—across the United States, Northern Mexico, and parts of Canada, causing blackouts for over 9.9 million people in the U.S. and Mexico, but notably impacting the state of Texas, where over 4.5 million households and businesses were…
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2021 Winter Storm
2021 Winter Storm

A historic cold wave brought several winter storms and an estimated $25.2 billion dollars in damages to various regions of the U.S. Extreme temperatures, alongside snow and ice, resulting in power outages, burst pipes, and even death across multiple states. Texas was most notably impacted with an estimated 210 fatalities…
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900,000 COVID-19 Deaths
900,000 COVID-19 Deaths

From AP News:   “Propelled in part by the wildly contagious omicron variant, the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 hit 900,000 on Friday, less than two months after eclipsing 800,000. The two-year total, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Indianapolis, San Francisco, or Charlotte, North…
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400,000 COVID-19 Deaths
400,000 COVID-19 Deaths

From NBC News: “More than 400,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States, according to an NBC News tally early Tuesday, a milestone that seemed unimaginable at the start of the pandemic a year ago. More than 2 million people have been recorded killed by the virus…
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US Capitol Riot
MAGA Mob scales walls at Capitol Building

What began as a demonstration against the recent presidential election results turned into a violent attack at the Capitol building, with hundreds of supporters of President Trump breaching security and occupying the federal building for hours. Weeks of unsupported claims of election fraud and attempts to overturn the results by…
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2020
2020 Nashville Bombing
Aftermath of bomb in Nashville TN

Early on the morning of December 25, 2020, around 6:30 am, an explosion shook downtown Nashville, TN. A recreational vehicle that had been armed with the explosive was parked outside an AT&T transmission building when it began broadcasting a computerized female voice. The transmission repeatedly warned that people should evacuate;…
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300,000 COVID-19 Deaths
300,000 COVID-19 Deaths

From AP News: The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 300,000 Monday just as the country began dispensing COVID-19 shots in a monumental campaign to conquer the outbreak. The number of dead rivals the population of St. Louis or Pittsburgh. It is equivalent to repeating a tragedy on the scale of…
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SolarWinds Attack
computer hacker server room cybersecurity vulnerability

As early as fall of 2019, cyber attackers began one of the most pervasive and sophisticated campaigns to invade IT supply chain security when it breached the networks of SolarWinds, an American software company. SolarWinds provides network monitoring software to thousands of companies and federal government agencies including many Fortune…
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First COVID-19 Vaccine Approved
A clear vial labeled Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccination filled with clear liquid sits in front of a syringe

On Friday, December 11, 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech. The authorization came just days before the United States topped 300,000 deaths due to the virus. ICU nurse Sandra Lindsay at the Long…
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200,000 COVID-19 Deaths
Closeup of coronavirus, a large red cell with green and blue nodules growing off it, and more cells in the background

From Modern Healthcare: It is completely unfathomable that we’ve reached this point,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher. The bleak milestone, by far the highest confirmed death toll from the virus in the world, was reported by Johns Hopkins, based on figures supplied by state health…
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2020 Western United States Wildfires
2020 Western United States Wildfires

Severe storms coupled with dry conditions and high winds ignited a number of wildfires across the Western United States in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, and Colorado. In the course of several months, over 8.2 million acres have been burned, over 10,000 structures destroyed, and at least 37…
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100,000 COVID-19 Deaths
100,000 COVID-19 Deaths

Statement from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: “Today the number of people in the United States who have died from COVID-19 surpassed 100,000. Families, friends, coworkers, loved ones and community members are grieving for each person who has been lost to this disease. Reaching the milestone of 100,…
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US Civil Unrest
police line and protest line

May 25, 2020-Present: During an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was caught on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for seven minutes and 46 seconds. “The duration was initially given as eight minutes and 46 seconds until Minnesota prosecutors corrected the…
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2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season
2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season was the most active season on record with 31 tropical/subtropical storms, all but one becoming a named storm, and 13 of which became hurricanes.  This is the first time that the Greek names Eta, Theta, and Iota have been used to name storms (the Greek…
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Middle Tennessee Tornadoes
Putnam Co., TN tornado damage

Storms began  late on March 2, 2020 and into the early morning hours on March 3rd. Within that time, seven tornadoes hit Middle Tennessee, with the strongest tornado at an EF-4 tearing across central Putnam County.  The storms claimed the lives of dozens of people and left hundreds more injured.…
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Milwaukee Brewery Shooting
Miller Brewery Exterior

At the  Molson Coors complex in Milwaukee,  51-year-old employee, Anthony Ferrill, opened fire on coworkers at around 2:00pm.  According to authorities, Ferrill  was armed with two handguns, one with a silencer (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). As of March 4, 2020 police have not provided a motive for the shootings, though Milwaukee…
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First COVID-19 Case in United States
First COVID-19 Case in United States

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the State of Washington reported the diagnosis of a patient with the first confirmed case of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) (CDC). A 35-year-old man visited an urgent care clinic in Snohomish County, WA with symptoms of a cough and fever that had…
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2020 Spring Tornadoes
Tornado sweeps across plains

Early January saw the start of a destructive and deadly tornado season for the United States. Over 1,000 tornadoes resulted in >$4.4 billion in damages and at least 78 fatalities. (NOAA) Many of the big storms spawned numerous cyclones, and these tornado outbreaks can span over multiple days and cause…
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2019
COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 Pandemic

Cases of pneumonia with unknown causes were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), with 44 total cases reported by January 3, 2020. The outbreak was tracked and linked to exposure at a fish market in Wuhan City, China and on January 7, 2020 a new type of coronavirus was…
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Puerto Rico Earthquake Sequence
Earthquake locations in Puerto Rico

Since December 28, 2019, Puerto Rico has suffered an ongoing series of over 9,400 earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 1.5-6.4. Initial damage estimates in January 2020 were >$3.1 billion and Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced declared a state of emergency on January 7, 2020. (Disaster Philanthropy) Thousands of people have been…
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Impeachment of President Trump
Impeachment of President Trump

Donald J. Trump was impeached for the first time on December 18, 2019, and the second time on January 13, 2021. He is one of three presidents to be impeached and the only president to be impeached twice. The first impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress was…
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Jersey City Shooting
Jersey City Shooting

At a kosher grocery store in Jersey City, NJ, two assailants opened fire, killing three people inside the market and wounding two officers in a shootout that lasted over an hour. Prior to arriving at the store, the assailants shot and killed a Jersey City police detective who had approached…
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West Texas Shooting

Around 3:13 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, 2019, Texas Department of Public and Safety troopers attempted to pull over a vehicle for a minor traffic violation in Midland, Texas. The driver grabbed a rifle and began firing at the patrol car before heading towards Odessa. Along his route, the shooter,…
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Dayton Shooting

Early on the morning of August 4, 2019 at approximately 1:09 am, a gunman opened fire on the popular nightlife Organ District in downtown Dayton, Ohio. The gunman, Connor Betts, was reported to be wearing body armor and carrying high-capacity magazines as he shot into the crowd. Within 30 seconds…
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El Paso Shooting

On the morning of August 3, 2019 just before 10:40am in El Paso, Texas, a gunman, Patrick Crusius, opened fire at a Walmart Supercenter at Cielo Vista Mall.  Witnesses claim he began shooting at random before entering the “at capacity” store and continued his barrage.  Officials say Crusius drove 650…
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Virginia Beach Shooting

At a municipal center in Virginia Beach, VA, a disgruntled employee opened fire indiscriminately on all three floors of the operations building, carrying “two handguns and plenty of ammunition” in extended magazines, purchased legally (NYT).  The shooting was reported at 4:08 p.m., on the same day he had emailed in…
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2019 California Wildfires
2019 California Wildfires

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the state of California has recorded 6,660 wildfires that have scorched 252,685 acres in 2019 so far. Some of the more destructive fires include the Sandalwood fire in Riverside County that resulted in 1, 011 acres burned and two civilian…
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Aurora, Illinois Shooting

Not long after 13:00, Gary Montez Martin, a disgruntled former-employee of manufacturing company Henry Pratt, “opened fire during a meeting to terminate his employment at the company, authorities have said” (Chicago Tribune). The first emergency call was received at 13:24, and by 13:30, officers were moving into the building. Four…
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2018
2018 Government Shutdown No. 2 (FY 2019)
2018 Government Shutdown No. 2 (FY 2019)

Presidential administration: Donald Trump According to Wikipedia, the December 2018-January 2019 shutdown, which was the longest in U.S history to this point, resulted from a disagreement between President Donald Trump and Democrats over the funding for Trump’s proposed Mexico-U.S border wall. Trump demanded an appropriation bill including $5.7 billion for…
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Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire
Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire

California’s most deadly and destructive wildfire in the history of the state, the Camp Fire, began on Camp Creek Road in Butte County. Within the first day, the communities of Paradise and Concow were essentially decimated. Because the fire spread so rapidly, many residents were unable to evacuate to safety…
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Thousand Oaks Shooting

At the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA, at approximately 11:20 pm,  a gunman opened fire in the building packed with hundreds of patrons. He first shot the unarmed security guard outside, and then went in and continued shooting, injuring other security workers, employees, and patrons. He was armed…
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Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting
Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

October 27, 2018: While morning services were being held at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, a gunman opened fire on the congregation of 60-100 people in an anti-Semitic act of violence. It is the deadliest shooting on the Jewish community to take place in the United States in…
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October 2018 Mail Bombing Attempts
October 2018 Mail Bombing Attempts

Beginning on October 22, 2018, 15 packages containing improvised explosive devices were received at multiple locations in New York, Washington, D.C., Florida, Delaware, California, and Georgia. Packages were delivered to prominent critics of President Trump including: Billionaire investor George Soros; Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Former President Barack Obama;…
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Hurricane Michael
Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael was the strongest in terms of maximum sustained wind speed to strike the contiguous United States since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  The National Hurricane Center monitored the broad area of low pressure as early as October 2, 2018 in the Caribbean, and by October 7th, detected an organized convective pattern to classify the system as…
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Hurricane Florence
Hurricane Florence

At 16:00 UTC on September 10, Florence again became a Category 4 hurricane, later reaching a new peak intensity with 1-minute winds of 140 mph. It lessened to a Category 1 by the time it made landfall on September 14, 2018, but a high-pressure ridge slowed Florence’s forward motion for several days, all the…
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2018 California Wildfires
2018 California Wildfires

Beginning early in the year, 2018 faced a particularly active wildfire year. With nearly 50 wildfires that burned 1,000 acres or more (16 of those fires burning more than 10,000 acres) dry conditions, coupled with wind, brought an estimated 1 million+ acres burned in the state of California. (US Forest…
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Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting
Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting

On February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 19 year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire on staff and students. Prior to the incident, the FBI had received a tip learning of Cruz’s intentions on the FBI’s Public Access Line, but an error kept the information from…
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2018 Government Shutdown No. 1 (FY 2018)
2018 Government Shutdown No. 1 (FY 2018)

Presidential administration: Donald Trump According to Dylan Matthews and Andrew Prokop of Vox, motivated by external activists, Democrats aimed to pressure both the Trump Administration and Congress into safeguarding participants of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival). This policy prevented the deportation of unauthorized immigrants who had arrived in the…
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2017
Thomas Fire
Thomas Fire

A quick-moving wildfire began north of Santa Paula, south of Thomas Aquinas College. Due to the unusually strong Santa Ana winds of over 60mph, the fire spread fast, reaching the city of Ventura, where over 500 residences were destroyed overnight. It is the largest wildfire in California history. The cause…
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Texas Church Shooting

“At the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, […] 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley of nearby New Braunfels, killed 26 and injured 20 others. He was shot twice by a male civilian as he exited the church. Fleeing in his SUV, Kelley crashed after a high-speed chase and was found dead with…
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New York Truck Attack
New York Truck Attack

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. He was finally brought to a halt when his truck collided with a school bus. He was shot and…
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Tubbs Fire
Tubbs Fire

A fast-growing fire broke out near Tubbs Lane in Calistoga, CA. Pushed by strong wind, the fire spread about 12 miles in just over three hours. The Tubbs fire was one of more than a dozen wildfires that had broken out in October in Northern California. The fire would last…
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Las Vegas Shooting
Las Vegas Shooting

“A gunman opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, leaving 58 people dead and 546 injured. Between 10:05 and 10:15 p.m. PDT, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, fired hundreds of rifle rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor…
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Hurricane Maria
Hurricane Maria

As category 4 hurricane, Maria “made landfall in southeast Puerto Rico after striking the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix. Maria’s high winds caused widespread devastation to Puerto Rico’s transportation, agriculture, communication and energy infrastructure. Extreme rainfall up to 37 inches caused widespread flooding and mudslides across the island. The…
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Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma

“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. “The Florida Keys were heavily impacted, as 25% of buildings were destroyed while 65% were significantly damaged. Severe wind and…
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Soda Springs, ID Sequence Earthquakes
Soda Springs, ID Sequence Earthquakes

Following a magnitude 5.3 earthquake east of Soda Springs, Idaho was a sustained and highly active sequence of aftershocks that were not typically present after earthquakes of this size. The earthquake was due to normal faulting found in the Intermountain Seismic Belt.—(USGS) Date of event: September 2, 2017 Impact: No fatalities…
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Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey

“Harvey” made landfall as a category 4 hurricane near Rockport, Texas causing widespread damage. “Harvey’s devastation was most pronounced due to the large region of extreme rainfall producing historic flooding across Houston and surrounding areas. More than 30 inches of rainfall fell on 6.9 million people, while 1.25 million experienced…
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Charlottesville Rally Protest
A grey car drives into a crowd of protesters carrying colorful signs, sending two men airborne while onlookers rush to the scene

On August 12 a planned Unite the Right rally was scheduled to take place in Charlottesville, VA. On August 11, before the rally, hundreds of White nationalists, White supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazi demonstrators marched and violently engaged with counter-protesters at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. On August 12, the…
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Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting

Iraq war veteran, Esteban Santiago, opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol in Terminal 2 baggage claim at Fort Lauderdale airport.  He withdrew the gun and began shooting at his victims’ heads until he had exhausted his ammunition. He was then confronted by a Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputy who placed him…
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2016
Ohio State University Attack

A car driven by Abdul Razak Ali Artan raced onto a sidewalk and struck multiple people near the corner of West 19th Avenue and College Road. Investigators say Artan also attacked pedestrians with a knife before Ohio State University Police Officer Alan Horujko shot him. — The Ohio State University According…
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New York and New Jersey Bombings
New York and New Jersey Bombings

Ahmad Rahami successfully 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. “A pipe bomb exploded in a garbage can minutes before a Marine Corps charity race began in Seaside Park, NJ. That night, a…
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St. Cloud Mall Stabbing Attack

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. Date of event: September 17, 2016 Related Resources: Fear Thy Neighbor: Radicalization and Jihadist Attacks in the West Ideological…
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Dallas Police Shooting

  “Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, armed with two rifles and a handgun, 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.” — FBI, Active Shooter Incidents…
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Pulse Nightclub Shooting
Pulse Nightclub Shooting

“Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, 29, armed with a rifle and a handgun, began shooting patrons inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Law enforcement officers entered the nightclub and engaged the shooter. The shooter then barricaded himself inside a bathroom with hostages for approximately three hours. Forty-nine people were killed; 53…
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Western/Southeast Wildfires – Summer/Fall 2016
Western/Southeast Wildfires – Summer/Fall 2016

“Western and Southern states experienced an active wildfire season with over 5.0 million acres burned nationally. Most notable was the firestorm that impacted Gatlinburg, Tennessee with hurricane-force wind gusts in extremely dry conditions creating volatile wildfire behavior. These wildfires destroyed nearly 2,500 structures and caused 14 fatalities. The drought conditions…
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2015
Five Cybersecurity Bills Become Law

“Despite many recommendations made over the past decade, most major legislative provisions relating to cybersecurity had been enacted prior to 2002. However, on December 18, 2014, five cybersecurity bills were signed by the President. These bills changed federal cybersecurity programs in a number of ways.” — Congressional Research Service Date of…
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San Bernardino Shooting

Married couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik open fired at a Christmas party at Farook’s place of employment, the Inland Regional Center. Armed with assault rifles, semiautomatic handguns, and body armor, the pair also left behind three different explosive devices that were later disarmed. Hours later, police got a tip…
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Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting

Robert Lewis Dear, Jr. opened fire at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing 3 and injuring 9. Date of event: November 27, 2015 Related Resources: Understanding Lone-actor Terrorism: A Comparative Analysis with Violent Hate Crimes and Group-based Terrorism, Report to the Resilient Systems Division, Science and Technology Directorate,…
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Umpqua Community College Shootings

“Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer, 26, armed with several handguns and a rifle, began shooting classmates in a classroom on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Nine people were killed; 7 were wounded. The shooter committed suicide after being wounded during an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement.” — FBI,…
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Lafayette Movie Theater Shooting

John Russell Houser entered the Grand 16 Theater in Lafayette, Louisiana and opened fired on an audience viewing a screening of “Trainwreck”, killing two people and injuring nine before killing himself. Upon investigation it was found that he had a history of mental health problems, but legally purchased the used…
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Chattanooga Shootings

“Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, armed with a rifle, 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…
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OPM Data Breach
OPM Data Breach

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. This includes 19.7 million individuals that applied for a background investigation, and 1.8 million non-applicants, predominantly spouses or…
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Charleston Church Shooting

“Dylann Storm Roof, 21, armed with a rifle, allegedly began shooting at prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people were killed; no one was wounded. The shooter fled the scene and was apprehended by law enforcement the next day.” — FBI, Active Shooter Incidents…
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Western and Alaskan Wildfires – Summer/Fall 2015
Western and Alaskan Wildfires – Summer/Fall 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. The most costly wildfires occurred in California where over 2,500 structures were destroyed due to the Valley and Butte wildfires with the insured…
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2014
South Napa, CA, Earthquake
South Napa, CA, Earthquake

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 and could be felt as far as 300 km away to the east of Reno, Nevada. Following the earthquake was more than 60 aftershocks that ranged…
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2014 Fort Hood Shooting
2014 Fort Hood Shooting

“Ivan Antonio Lopez-Lopez, 34, armed with a handgun, began shooting inside an administrative office on the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas. The active-duty soldier then moved (sometimes on foot, other times in a vehicle) from one location to another, firing inside and outside buildings. Three soldiers were killed; 12 were wounded. The…
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Las Vegas Police Ambush

“The Las Vegas, Nevada, community and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) experienced a tragic loss […] when two 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. LVMPD officers and…
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Isla Vista Rampage

“Elliot Rodger, 22, armed with a handgun and several knives, 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. He killed 3 and wounded 7 and struck and wounded another 7…
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Flint Water Crisis
Flint Water Crisis

The city of Flint, MI switched its water source from Lake Huron to Flint River. For months, state officials maintained the water was safe to drink, however, a series of independent studies found high levels of lead in the water. Flint residents grew ill, lost hair, developed rashes, and contracted…
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Oso Landslide
Oso Landslide

“A large landslide occurred in northwest Washington[…], leading to tragic loss of life and destruction of property. Landslide debris covered about 40 homes and other structures as well as nearly a mile of State Route 530. It also caused 43 fatalities in the community of Steelhead Haven near Oso, Washington. This…
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NIST releases First Cybersecurity Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides the following background information on the development of the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity: “Recognizing the national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable function of critical infrastructure, the President issued Executive Order (EO) 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure…
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2013
Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy

“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 (See: Hurricane Sandy mortality in the Caribbean and continental North America ). “Sandy’s impact on major population centers caused widespread interruption…
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2013 Government Shutdown (FY 2014)
2013 Government Shutdown (FY 2014)

Presidential administration: Barrack Obama Start date: September 30, 2013 End date: October 17, 2013 Impact:  800,000 federal workers furloughed (Wikipedia) 1.3 million workers required to work without any known payment dates (Wikipedia) Government cost: $2.1 billion (Wikipedia) Related Resource: Impacts of a Continuing Resolution and Sequestration on Acquisition and Modernization,…
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Navy Yard Shooting
Navy Yard Shooting

“A lone gunman, who had a security clearance, entered the Navy Yard’s Building 97 and began shooting randomly. Eventually, he worked his way to an overlook within the building and on to cubicle-filled office floors. The gunman entered the building at 8:15 a.m. and was declared dead at 11:50 a.m.,…
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West Fertilizer Company Fire and Explosion
West Fertilizer Company Fire and Explosion

“A fire and explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Company (WFC), a fertilizer blending, retail, and distribution facility in West, Texas. The violent detonation fatally injured 12 emergency responders and three members of the public. Local hospitals treated more than 260 injured victims, many of whom required hospital admission. The…
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Boston Marathon Bombings
Boston Marathon Bombings

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. Date of event: April 15, 2013 Related Resources: CHDS Alumni Respond: “Boston Strong” Faced Challenges of Marathon Bombings Preventing Another Boston Marathon Bombing:…
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Christopher Dorner Shootings and Manhunt

“The greater Los Angeles area faced an unprecedented nine-day manhunt in February 2013 for a particularly dangerous multiple-murder suspect named Christopher Dorner. A highly armed former LAPD officer who began his rampage by allegedly murdering a couple in the city of Irvine on February 3, Dorner explicitly vowed to continue targeting and killing…
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Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013

“President Barack Obama signed into law the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA) of 2013 and the accompanying Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013.   In many ways, the passage of SRIA represents the most significant legislative change to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) substantive authorities since the enactment of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief…
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2012
Sandy Hook School Shooting
Sandy Hook School Shooting

In the space of several minutes, Adam Lanza, armed with two handguns and a rifle, killed 20 elementary school children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The shooter then committed suicide as police arrived. Prior to the school shooting, Lanza killed his mother while she…
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Benghazi Attack
Benghazi Attack

The American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya was attacked by members of Ansar al-Sharia at 21:40. The group launched a mortar attack at a CIA annex the next morning at 04:00, approximately one mile away. Although the attacks were thought to be caused by a recently released anti-Muslim video, later…
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Sikh Temple Shooting

“Wade Michael Page, 40, armed with a handgun, began shooting outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and then moved inside and continued to shoot. The shooter exited the building and confronted the responding police officer, wounding him. He then fired on a second responding police officer, who…
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Aurora Century 16 Theater Shooting

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 Date of event: July 20, 2012…
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2012 U.S. Drought/Heatwave
2012 U.S. Drought/Heatwave

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. The following states were affected: CA, NV, ID, MT, WY, UT, CO, AZ, NM, TX, ND, SD, NE, KS,…
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2011
Mineral, VA Earthquake
Mineral, VA Earthquake

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck near Mineral, Virginia. Millions of people felt the effects of the quake along the east coast, with reports of minor damage as far away as Charleston, South Carolina, approximately 600 km away. It was the largest earthquake in the eastern U.S. since 1944.—(USGS) Date of…
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EF-5 Tornado – Joplin, MO
EF-5 Tornado – Joplin, MO

An outbreak of an estimated 180 tornadoes struck the central and southern United States over several days in May 2011. On May 22nd, an EF-5 tornado devastated the city of Joplin, Mo., leaving an estimated 157 people dead. The Joplin tornado is the deadliest single tornado since modern record keeping…
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International Strategy for Cyberspace

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 Date of…
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2011 Tornado Super Outbreak
2011 Tornado Super Outbreak

Over the course of four days, an outbreak of 362 confirmed tornadoes occurred over the central and southern states, 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). The…
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Shooting at Gabrielle Giffords’ ‘Congress on Your Corner’ Event

Jared Lee Loughner, 22, armed with a handgun, 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. The shooter was restrained by citizens before police arrived and took him…
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2010
San Bruno Pipeline Explosion
San Bruno Pipeline Explosion

A PG&E pipeline ruptured and exploded in the Crestmoor residential neighborhood of San Bruno, CA. Investigation into the incident found that PG&E had been in violation of regulations and laws regarding the type of piping used for the line.  A 30-inch-diameter segment of the natural gas pipeline (installed in 1956)…
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Stuxnet Worm

Discovery of the Stuxnet worm exposed 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.  “The Stuxnet worm, which was first reported in June 2010 by a security…
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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The oil drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which was owned and operated by Transocean and drilling for BP, operating in the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, exploded and sank. In 87 days following the explosion, approximately 210,000,000 gallons of oil were spilled around 68,000 square miles of the Gulf before finally being capped on…
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Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster
Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster

In a coal mine located in Montcoal, West Virginia a massive coal dust explosion started as a methane ignition. Massey Energy Co. was found to have had multiple basic safety violations which resulted in the explosion and prevented the assured safety of workers. 31 miners were inside the mine when…
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Austin Plane Crash
Panorama of the damaged Echelon office complex in Austin, TX, the day after a man flew his plane into it.

“Andrew Joseph Stack deliberately flew his small single engine aircraft into the Echelon I office building located at 9420 Research Blvd., Austin, Texas. Prior to that, he had set fire to his own residence located approximately two miles from the Echelon I building, drove 15 miles to the Georgetown Municipal…
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2009
2009 Fort Hood Shooting

Army Major Nidal Hasan opened fire at an Army processing center where soldiers were taking care of preparations for overseas deployment. As a matter of practice, soldiers do not carry weapons at Fort Hood, and Hasan is said to have had two handguns with him, one of them a semi-automatic.…
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Binghamton Shootings

14 people were killed and 4 people were injured, at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, New York. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. “On the morning of April 3, 2009, at approximately 10:30 a.m. EDT, Jiverly Wong entered…
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2008
Tennessee Ash Spill
Tennessee Ash Spill

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. Just hours prior, the area had been inspected, and no issues had been reported. Testing on the air, water, and ash began immediately, and the Tennessee…
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2008 Cyberattack on United States DoD

The DoD detected an intrusion into it’s classified networks. The following information about the attack is excerpted from the October 1, 2010 article from DoD News, “Lynn: Cyberwarfare Extends Scope of Conflict”: Information technology, and the world’s reliance on it, has redefined the front lines of national security, Deputy Defense Secretary William…
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Austin Serial Bombings

Over the course of nearly a month, a series of package bombs exploded around the Austin, TX area. The first three bombs were placed at private residences, the next was a tripwire-activated bomb near a road in Travis County, the next two were delivered to two separate FedEx Ground facilities,…
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2007
9/11 Commission Act of 2007

Public Law 110-53: Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 is signed into law. The “9/11 Commission Act” addresses a wide range of the Department’s missions, including cargo security, critical infrastructure protection, grant administration, intelligence and information sharing, privacy, and transportation security. — Dept. of Homeland Security The Act…
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I-35 Bridge Collapse
I-35 Bridge Collapse

The eight-lane bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, MN collapsed during rush-hour traffic, sending 120 vehicles plummeting. After the official investigation, it was revealed that a flaw in the structural design of the 40-year old bridge was the cause of the collapse. People and vehicles fell either into the…
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Western Wildfires – Summer 2007

“Continued drought conditions and high winds over much of the western U.S. (AK, AZ, CA, ID, UT, MT, NV, OR, WA) resulting in numerous wildfires; with national acreage burned exceeding 8.9 million acres (mainly in the west) and over 3,000 homes and structures destroyed in southern California alone.” — NOAA: Billion-Dollar Weather and…
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Virginia Tech Shooting
Virginia Tech Shooting

“Seung Hui Cho, 23, armed with two handguns, 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. Thirty-two people were killed; 17 were wounded. In addition,…
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2006
SAFE Port Act of 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. Date of event: October 13, 2006 HSDL Featured Topic: Maritime Domain HSDL Search: “SAFE Port Act”  

Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006

Among the provisions of Public Law 109-295: Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007, was the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (PKEMRA). This act “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…
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Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 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. Date of event: July 11, 2006  

2005
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina created a path of destruction across southern Florida, and caused devastation into parts of southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The storm then tracked northward into Tennessee and Kentucky and points northeast from there, where heavy rainfall was the main impact of the storm. Total losses as a result…
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2004
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act

Public Law 108-458: Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 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,…
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2003
California Fire Siege 2003
California Fire Siege 2003

Dry weather and high winds contributed to a series of wildfires that broke out in Southern California. There were 14 fires that are part of the October Fire Siege: Roblar 2, Grand Prix/Padua, Pass, Piru, Verdale, Happy, Old, Simi, Cedar, Paradise, Mountain, Otay and Wellman. The first fire (Roblar 2…
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National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace

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.” Date of event: February 14, 2003 HSDL…
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2002
Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002
Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002

“Even before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, government officials and security experts were concerned about the security of U.S. ports. In the fall of 2000, the Interagency Commission on Crime and Security in U.S. Seaports noted the vulnerability of U.S. seaports to terrorism. The report noted that while…
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Homeland Security Act of 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. “Eleven days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was appointed as the first Director of the Office of Homeland Security in…
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Beltway Sniper Attacks
Beltway Sniper Attacks

James Martin was shot and killed, in the first of what would become a series of sniper shootings in Montgomery County, Maryland. The shootings would then spread to Virginia before John Allen Muhammad, and Lee Boyd Malvo were apprehended on October 24th, 2002. Date of event: October 24, 2002 Related…
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2001
Aviation and Transportation Security Act
Aviation and Transportation Security Act

President Bush signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act into law requiring screening conducted by federal officials, 100 percent checked baggage screening, expansion of the Federal Air Marshal Service and reinforced cockpit doors. TSA is created to oversee security in all modes of transportation. — TSA Date of event: November 19, 2001 Impact:…
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USA PATRIOT Act
USA PATRIOT Act

Public Law 107-56: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001 is signed into law. “Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act (the Act) in response to the terrorists’ attacks of September 11, 2001. The Act gives federal officials…
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“Amerithrax” Anthrax Attacks
“Amerithrax” Anthrax Attacks

“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…
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September 11, 2001 Attacks
September 11, 2001 Attacks

19 al Qaeda members hijacked four US passenger airliners. One would hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., another would crash into the Pennsylvania countryside after passengers tried to take control of the plane headed towards Washington, D.C., and two would crash into the Twin Towers in New York. They are…
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2000
USS Cole Bombing
USS Cole Bombing

“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. […] The extensive FBI investigation ultimately determined that members…
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Y2K
Y2K

As the world approached the year 2000, a number of theories revolving around the turn of the century began surfacing. There was widespread fear and panic that our technological infrastructures would become disrupted by a supposed Y2K bug that would leave the world in an apocalyptic state. Among the conspiracies…
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1999
Columbine High School Massacre

Two subjects walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado 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. Initially, they had intended for it to be a bombing on a massive…
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1998
US Embassy Bombings, East Africa
US Embassy Bombings, East Africa

Bombs detonated in front of two American embassies; one in Nairobi, Kenya and the other in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The attacks were linked to members of al-Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, which resulted the the FBI placing him on its ten most-wanted fugitives list. “In the aftermath of the…
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1996
“Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski Arrested
“Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski Arrested

Starting in 1978 and stretching for nearly two decades, Theodore Kaczynski—also known as the Unabomber—sent primitive, untraceable, homemade explosives to a number of random targets that left the FBI puzzled. He often left false clues to throw off authorities, and lived as a recluse in the mountains of Montana. He…
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Centennial Olympic Park Bombing

During the Summer Olympic games in Atlanta, GA, Eric Rudolph planted a backpack containing a bomb in the crowded Centennial Olympic Park. While a diligent security guard, Richard Jewell, was able to start evacuating the crowd, the bomb detonated before everyone could leave. The explosion was just one of four…
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1995
Oklahoma City Bombing
Oklahoma City Bombing

A bomb ripped through the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in downtown Oklahoma City. Timothy McVeigh, and ex-Army soldier and security guard, had manufactured homemade explosives using agricultural fertilizer, diesel fuel, and other chemicals, and set the bombs with a timed fuse. He was arrested just 90 minutes after the…
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1993
Midwest Flooding
Midwest Flooding

“Severe, widespread flooding in central U.S. due to persistent heavy rains and thunderstorms. There was extensive damage to agriculture, infrastructure, homes and businesses in many areas across several states. […] This is the most costly non-tropical, inland flood event to affect the United States on record.”t — NOAA: Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters…
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Waco Siege Ended
Waco Siege Ended

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. “On February 28, 1993, near Waco, Texas, four agents from the Treasury Department’s Bureau of…
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World Trade Center Bombing
World Trade Center Bombing

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. Six Islamic Fundamentalists were later arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life for the attack, with…
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1992
Hurricane Andrew
Hurricane Andrew

Although it spent most of its life as a tropical cyclone, its high winds left extensive damage to the Bahamas, Louisiana, and Florida, making landfall in south Florida as a Category 5 hurricane, with the maximum sustained surface wind speed estimated at about 145 mph. Until Hurricane Irma, it was the most…
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1991
Oakland Firestorm
Oakland Firestorm

“The largest dollar fire loss in United States history occurred in the East Bay Hills, within the California cities of Oakland and Berkeley […]. Twenty-five lives were lost and more than 3,000 structures were destroyed by a wildland-urban interface fire in one of the most heavily populated  metropolitan areas of…
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1990
1990 California Freeze

For fourteen days, California, particularly in the Central and Southern San Joaquin Valley, suffered a severe freeze. With subfreezing temperatures, and even some locations experiencing temperatures in the teens, the record-breaking freeze caused billions of dollars worth of damage to citrus crops, as well as other crops such as avocados,…
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1989
Loma Prieta Earthquake
Loma Prieta Earthquake

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck approximately 10 miles northeast of Santa Cruz, CA, near Loma Prieta peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains (approximately 60 south southeast of San Francisco). Due to the sports coverage of the 1989 World Series, it became the first major earthquake in the United States that…
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Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling more than 11 million gallons of crude oil. Due to the remote location of the spill–it was accessible only by boat or helicopter–cleanup efforts were challenging, and it put current preparedness plans to the test. In the aftermath…
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1988
Pan Am 103 Bombing
Pan Am 103 Bombing

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. Evidence found at the scene of the crash led investigators to two Libyan intelligence operatives, who had…
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Stafford Act

“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…
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1988 U.S. Drought/Heatwave
1988 U.S. Drought/Heatwave

The drought of 1988 was widespread throughout the agricultural regions of the United States and Canada and had significant impacts on agricultural production, forestry, natural ecosystems, and water availability. The potential serious effects of the developing drought initiated a number of federal government responses (The Drought of 1988 and Beyond).…
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1985
TWA Flight 847 Hijacking
TWA Flight 847 Hijacking

TWA Flight 847 from Cairo to San Diego with stops in Athens and Rome, was hijacked by Mohammed Ali Hamadei, along with an armed accomplice. Over the next 17 days crisscrossing the Mediterranean from Beirut to Algiers, the 153 passengers and crew members were subject to beatings and death threats.…
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1984
US Embassy Annex Bombing, Beirut
US Embassy Annex Bombing, Beirut

September 20, 1984, just over a year after the 1983 US Embassy attack, after the United States had relocated embassy operations from West Beirut to Aukar, a Christian suburb of East Beirut, a suicide bomber sped towards the entrance with a van packed with 3,000 pounds of explosives. The driver…
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Rajneeshee Bioterror Attack
Rajneeshee Bioterror Attack

The Rajneesh cult succeeded with the first documented bioterror incident in the United States. “The cult planned to infect residents with Salmonella on election day to influence the results of county elections. To practice for the attack, they contaminated salad bars at 10 restaurants with S. Typhimurium on several occasions before…
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1983
US Embassy Bombing, Beirut
US Embassy Bombing, Beirut

A suicide bomber crashes a truck into the front of the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon before detonating approximately 2,000 pounds of explosives. A Multinational Force composed of U.S. and European military personnel, entered Lebanon to help the Lebanese government maintain stability during the third phase of the Lebanese Civil War,…
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1980
1980 US Heat Wave
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. Many states suffered through record-breaking heat, with Memphis, TN experiencing a 15-day stretch of temperatures over 100°F. Crops were damaged…
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1979
Creation of FEMA
Creation of FEMA

“President Carter’s 1979 Executive Order 12127 merged many of separate disaster-related responsibilities into a new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA was created to: Coordinate Federal emergency authorities, including the administration of disaster response and recovery programs; [and] Assume the role of the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration and assume responsibilities from…
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Three-Mile Island Accident
Three-Mile Island Accident

The Three Mile Island Unit 2 reactor (TMI-2) experienced a partial meltdown and was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history. Luckily,  there were no detectable health effects on plant workers or the public from the small radioactive releases, but the event spurred significant changes to nuclear…
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1975
LaGuardia Airport Bombing

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 Date of event: December 29, 1975 Related Resources: ‘First War on Terrorism?’ U.S. Domestic Counterterrorism During…
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1974
Disaster Relief Act of 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. […] The Disaster Relief Act of 1974 authorized the President to: Establish a program…
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1970
Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster
Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster

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, but had not ceased its operations. After investigations and testimony from three miners it was concluded there had been dynamite and primacord at the…
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Dawson’s Field Hijackings
Dawson’s Field Hijackings

In the month of 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 (PFLP). Three of the aircraft were forced to land at Dawson’s Field, located in a remote desert near Zarka, Jordan.…
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1964
Great Alaska Earthquake
Great Alaska Earthquake

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. It is the second largest earthquake ever recorded and triggered tsunamis with a run-up of more than 100 feet.—(USGS) Date of…
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1963
Baptist Street Bombing
Baptist Street Bombing

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. With a lack of evidence, the case remained unsolved…
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1952
National Security Agency Established
National Security Agency Established

“The NSA was established [….] by order of President Harry Truman. This decision followed the Nation’s important work in breaking German and Japanese codes during WWII, which contributed to Allied success against the German U-Boat threat in the North Atlantic and victory at the Battle of Midway in the Pacific,…
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Immigration and Nationality Act

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. The McCarran-Walter bill of 1952, Public Law No. 82-414, collected and codified many existing provisions and reorganized the structure of immigration law.…
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1951
Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950

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 establishes a “basic framework for preparations to minimize the effects of an attack on our civilian population, and to deal with the immediate emergency conditions which…
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1949
Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949
Central Intelligence Agency Act of 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.” —…
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1947
National Security Act of 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. As amended, the Act…
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Texas City Disaster
Texas City Disaster

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. After failed attempts to extinguish the flames, the cargo exploded, launching the cargo 2,000-3,000 feet in the air and causing a 15-foot tidal wave.  The shock could…
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1941
Attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor

Six Japanese carriers launched 181 planes carrying torpedo bombers, dive bombers, horizontal bombers and fighters. Only 30 minutes later 170 more aircraft launched their attack on the Harbor. The attack was intended to prevent the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with Japanese military actions, but spurred the U.S. into war…
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1930
The Dust Bowl

Following in the wake of the Homestead Act, settlers began populating and farming on the Great Plains, planting an abundance of dry-land wheat to try and keep up with demand. Beginning in 1930 and lasting for nearly a decade, the Great Plains suffered a severe drought that would only further…
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1928
Okeechobee Hurricane
Okeechobee Hurricane

A category 4 hurricane struck the Palm Beach area of Florida bringing storm surges as high as 20 feet crashing into the barrier islands. The storm would rage over Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Pompano Beach,  and Lake Okeechobee. With the high death toll,…
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1921
Tulsa Race Massacre
Tulsa Race Massacre

The Tulsa Race Massacre, also known as the Tusla Race Riots, began with an incident that took place on May 30, 1921, in which Dick Rowland, a young black teenager, entered an elevator at the Drexel office building. The elevator operator, a young white woman named Sarah Page, screamed during…
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1920
Wall Street Bombing, 1920
Wall Street Bombing, 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, before leaving and disappearing into the crowd. Only minutes later, a bomb exploded, devastating the area. A number of people would…
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1918
Influenza Epidemic of 1918
Influenza Epidemic of 1918

In the spring of 1918, the first wave of the influenza epidemic struck in military camps in Kansas and throughout the U.S., but was generally mild. Those who contracted the flu usually recovered after several days of typical flu-like symptoms. However, when the second wave hit in the autumn of…
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1906
San Francisco Earthquake
San Francisco Earthquake

An earthquake with 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. Fires that resulted from broken gas mains raged for three days, and the pipeline…
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1900
Great Galveston Hurricane
Great Galveston Hurricane

September 8, 1900: A category 4 hurricane ripped through the port city of Galveston, Texas with winds over 135 miles per hour. Storm surges rose 15 feet and completely devastated the prosperous and, at the time, one of the biggest cities in Texas, with over 40,000 inhabitants. Galveston would go…
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1871
Peshtigo Fire
Peshtigo Fire

A forest fire that was allegedly started by railroad workers who were clearing land for tracks, swept through northeast Wisconsin. Within an hour of the fire striking, the city of Peshtigo, WI was gone. A number of factors were attributed to the raging fire, including a prolonged drought and a…
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1868
Hayward Fault Earthquake
Hayward Fault Earthquake

An earthquake with 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, regardless of the sparse population of the time. Shaking could be felt as far as Nevada, and…
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1857
Great Fort Tejon Earthquake
Great Fort Tejon Earthquake

A magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck on the San Andreas Fault from near Parkfield to approximately 300 km away near Wrightwood. The quake could be felt from Marysville to San Diego, and east to Las Vegas, with strong shaking lasting from one to three minutes.—(USGS) Date of event: January 9, 1857 Impact:…
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