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Everything happening now was deliberately planned over 20 years

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Dr. Naomi Hunter

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"At this stage, “emerging infectious disease”—although widely taken up as a public health and biomedical issue—was not yet conceptualized as a problem of national security.  This changed over the following decade, as the emerging infectious disease problematic combined with increased anxiety about bioterrorism.  Scenario-based exercises were central to this process.  In the mid-1990s, accounts began to circulate of a massive, secret Soviet bioweapons program that had continued throughout the Cold War, and that had employed scores of scientists whose whereabouts were now unknown.  22  D. A. Henderson was one of the prominent biomedical experts—along with Joshua Lederberg—who linked the new bioterrorist threat to the problem of emerging diseases.  23Henderson argued that a global disease surveillance system would be useful for both types of threat—emerging diseases and proliferating bioweapons knowledge.  In 1998, he founded the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, which became a leading site of knowledge production around the new biological threat.

The CDC developed a number of initiatives in response to the perceived bioterrorist threat—one of which was a program of global disease surveillance, following the prescriptions outlined by the authors of Emerging Viruses.  Another was the Office of Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response, which provided $40 million per year in bioterrorism grants to local public health departments.  However, critics such as Tara O’Toole of the Johns Hopkins Biodefense Center argued that these measures were not nearly enough (O’Toole 2001).  The question was:  how to convince policy makers of the need to address the problem?

This threat was distinct from what public health experts were accustomed to dealing with:  there was no historical record on which to estimate its likelihood of occurrence or to calculate the most effective intervention measures.  Nor was infectious disease a problem that national security experts were accustomed to thinking about.  What kind of experience could convey a sense of urgency and generate knowledge about necessary interventions?

With O’Toole’s lead, the Johns Hopkins Biodefense Center entered into a collaboration with Kupperman’s former think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to design a table-top exercise simulating a smallpox attack on the United States.  24The exercise, called “Dark Winter,” took place at Andrews Air Force Base in June 2001.  It was aimed at influential national security experts and government officials.  Participants played members of the National Security Council(NSC), including Sam Nunn as the President, David Gergen as National Security Advisor, and James Woolsey (reprising the role he had played in the Clinton administration) as Director of the CIA. 

The exercise took place in three segments over two days, depicting a time span of two weeks after the initial attack.  Although designers used historical data on the patterns of smallpox outbreaks to design the exercise, the point of using this epidemiological data was not to accurately model probability but, rather, to create a plausible scenario.  25The first NSC meeting laid out the situation for council members.  There were reports of an outbreak of smallpox in Oklahoma City, assumed to be the result of a terrorist attack.  Initial questions for the council were technical:  “With only 12million doses of vaccine available, what is the best strategy to contain the outbreak?  Should there be a national or a state vaccination policy?    Is ring vaccination or mass immunization the best policy?”  The problem was that there was not enough information about the scale of the attack to come up with a solution. 

By the second meeting, the situation looked increasingly grim.  “Only 1.25 million doses of vaccine remain, and public unrest grows as the vaccine supply dwindles,” read the scenario.  “Vaccine distribution efforts vary from state to state, are often chaotic, and lead to violence in some areas.” International borders were closed, leading to food shortages.  Meanwhile simulated 24-hour news coverage, shown to participants as video clips, sharply criticized the government’s response.  Graphic photographs of U.S. smallpox victims were also displayed.  As vaccine stock dwindled further, the prospect of using the National Guard to enforce containment was broached.  But who had the authority to make emergency decisions?    In one sequence, an NSC member advised the president to federalize the National Guard, as states had begun to seal their borders. 

Governor Keating of Oklahoma objected:  Keating:  “That’s not your function.”  Terwillinger:  “Mr.  President, this question got settled at Appomattox.  You need to federalize the National Guard.” Nunn:  “We’re going to have absolute chaos if we start having war between the federal government and the state government.” Meanwhile civil unrest grew.  “With vaccine in short supply, increasingly anxious crowds mob vaccination clinics,” the scenario continued.  “Riots around a vaccination site in Philadelphia left two dead.  At another vaccination site, angry citizens overwhelmed vaccinators” (Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense et al.  2001:  24).  By the third NSC meeting, there had been thousands of deaths, and the situation was growing still worse.  The exercise ended as the disaster continued to escalate:  there was no vaccine remaining and none was expected for four weeks. 

CSIS Director John Hamre later narrated the final stage:  “In the last 48 hours there were 14, 000 cases.  We now have over 1, 000 dead, another 5, 000 that we expected to be dead within weeks.  There are 200 people who died from the vaccination, because there is a small percentage [of risk], and we have administered 12 million doses. . . .  At this stage the medical system is overwhelmed completely” (U.  S.  House of Representatives 2001).  Political influence worked through a process of dissemination.  At congressional hearings on the exercise, participants reported on their experience of Dark Winter.

For example, Sam Nunn reflected on the debate over using the National Guard:  “It is a terrible dilemma.  Because you know that your vaccine is going to give out, and you know the only other strategy is isolation, but you don’t know who to isolate.  That is the horror of this situation.” As Hamre said, “We thought that we were going to be spending our time with the mechanisms of government.  We ended up spending our time saying, how do we save democracy in America?  Because it is that serious, and it is that big.” The point of the exercise was to give national security officials a feeling of how an unprecedented event might unfold.  Its circle of influence extended outward through a series of briefings featuring a realistic video of the event.

Vice President Cheney, DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, and key congressional leaders were among those briefed.  At a congressional hearing where the video was about to be shown, Representative Christopher Shays asked Hamre about its affective qualities:  Mr.  Shays:  I’m told that some of it is not pleasant.  Mr.  Hamre:  It is not pleasant.  Let me also emphasize, sir, this is a simulation.  This had frightening qualities of being real, as a matter of fact too real.  And because we have television cameras here broadcasting, we want to tell everyone, this did not happen, it was a simulation.  But, it had such realism, and we are going to try to show you the sense of realism that came from that today.  [U.S.  House of Representatives 2001] Indeed, Shays did react strongly to the video, noting afterward how nervous he had felt while watching it:  I felt like I’ve been in the middle of a movie, and maybe that’s why I was anxious.  I wanted to know how it turned out.  And so I asked my staff how did we finally get a handle on it, you know, 12 million vaccines out, the disease spreading?    And the response was we did not get a handle on it.  They stopped the exercise before resolution.  Kind of scary, huh? 

The exercise was successful in that it convinced participants—and later briefing audiences—of the urgent need to plan for a bioattack.  Keating was stunned at the lack of preparedness demonstrated by the exercise:  “We think an enemy of the United States could attack us with smallpox or with anthrax. . . and we really don’t prepare for it, we have no vaccines for it—that’s astonishing.” As Woolsey noted, this was a new type of enemy:  “we are used to thinking about health problems as naturally occurring problems outside the framework of a malicious actor.”  With disease as tool of attack, “we are in a world we haven’t ever really been in before.”  The exercise demonstrated a number of vulnerabilities.

First, officials did not have real-time understanding—“situational awareness” —of the various aspects of the crisis while it unfolded.  As the scenario designers wrote, “this lack of information, critical for leaders’ situational awareness in Dark Winter, reflects the fact that few systems exist that can provide a rapid flow of the medical and public health information needed in a public health emergency” (O’Toole et al.  2002:  980).  Second, without adequate stockpiles of medical countermeasures, leaders could not properly manage the crisis.  Third, there was a gulf between public health and national security expertise:  “It isn’t just [a matter of] buying more vaccine,” said Woolsey.  “It’s a question of how we integrate these public health and national security communities in ways that allow us to deal with various facets of the problem.”

Participants had concrete suggestions for improvement.  Nunn argued for vaccination of first responders in advance of an attack:  “every one of those people you are trying to mobilize is going to have to be vaccinated.  You can’t expect them to go in there and expose themselves and their family to smallpox or any other deadly disease without vaccinations.”  Hauer, a former New York City emergency manager, spoke of the problem of distributing vaccines in cities:  “The logistical infrastructure necessary to vaccinate the people of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago is just—would be mind-boggling.”  But the broader lesson was the need to imaginatively enact the event in order to adequately to plan for it.  As Hamre said, “We didn’t have the strategy at the table on how to deal with this, because we have never thought our way through it before, and systematically thinking our way through this kind of a crisis is now going to become a key imperative.  It clearly is going to require many more exercises.”  TOWARD BIOPREPAREDNESS  The period from 2001 to 2005 witnessed a massive increase in U.S.  civilian biodefense budgets, as part of the government’s response to the attack of 9/11 and the anthrax letters.  26Until 2005, U.S. biological preparedness efforts were mainly focused on specific threat agents such as smallpox and anthrax. 

The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2004, and increasing attention to the prospect of an avian influenza pandemic began to orient biosecurity experts toward a broader range of disease threats.  The process was intensified by the failed governmental response to Hurricane Katrina.  For thinkers of preparedness, Katrina served as a “live action” exercise demonstrating gaps in the nation’s emergency response system.  The disaster also suggested that although homeland security planners had been focused on the threat of terrorism, the problematic of emergency was much broader:  the rubric of “all-hazards planning” that had originally structured federal emergency response returned to the fore (Lakoff 2007).  Washington, D.  C., was in what anthropologist MonicaSchoch-Spana(2006) called a “post-Katrina, pre-pandemic” moment.  As a member of the U.  S.  House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee said, “the pandemic flu scenario is affording us much more time to prepare, but as of today it appears that the nation is poised to repeat a grave error by not heeding the lessons learned from Katrina” (U.S.  House of Representatives 2006b).

The problem of avian flu now appeared in a new light—in terms of the vulnerability of the nation’s public health infrastructure.  For Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Subcommittee on Public Health Preparedness, Katrina “exposed an unstable public health infrastructure at all levels of government during an emergency event” (U.  S.  Senate 2006c).  According to Burr, the challenge at hand was akin to the project of constructing the national highway infrastructure in the1950s.  “For the purpose of national public health and defense we need a national standardized public health system,” he said.

Such a system would have to do more than prepare for known threats:  “The question is, are we smart enough to design a template that enables us to address the threats that we don’t know about for tomorrow?  ” What were the necessary elements of such a system for anticipating the unexpected?    These could be seen through an analysis of current gaps in response.  “There are multiple holes in our capacity to respond,” said Representative Henry Waxman.  “We need to increase our vaccine production capacity, strengthen our public health infrastructure, create adequate hospital surge capacity and draft contingency plans that will ensure the continued operation of important government functions” (U.S. House of Representatives 2006a).  The task was to constitute the elements of a biological preparedness system, based on knowledge of current vulnerabilities. 

According to many officials, the most serious problem Katrina had exposed was that of the locus of responsibility in an emergency situation.  For some, the problem was the incompetence of federal leadership.  For others, it was that local authorities were not up to the task of coordinating response.  Former Homeland Security Advisor Richard Falkenrath argued that state and local health authorities would be incapable of coordinating an adequate response to a catastrophic disease event.  The Health Department, he testified, “is simply not going to be able to meet the American people’s expectation of the federal government in a truly catastrophic disease contingency such as a high lethal pandemic or major bioterrorist attack” (Falkenrath 2006).  He was especially concerned about civil unrest resulting from “shortages in vital, life-saving counter-measures to the disease in question” —the premise of Dark Winter.

Falkenrath focused on the logistics of medication distribution as the central problem:  “I mean something very, very specific, which is to prepare to distribute life-saving medications to extremely large populations, very, very quickly, when they are afraid, because there is a communicable disease out there that they do not know how to deal with.”  Falkenrath cited evidence from scenario-based exercises to validate his claim that government health agencies did not have the operational capabilities to dis-tribute medical supplies in a crisis:  “This extraordinary national deficiency was first revealed during the first TOPOFF exercise in May 2000 at which I was an observer,” and “in a wide variety of smaller scale table top exercises and simulations.” 

He continued:  “The implication is inescapable:  the plans, if put to the severe test of a catastrophic disease scenario in the near future, will fail.”  There was a clear policy implication:  the National Response Plan should be amended to assign Emergency Support Function Number 8 (ESF#8) to the military in a catastrophic disease incident, at the order of the president:  “Only the Department of Defense has the planning, logistics, and personnel resources needed to conduct nationwide medical relief operations in a full-scale catastrophic disease scenario.” The scenario-based exercise thus functioned to authorize knowledge claims in the absence of actual events.

But such claims were not uncontested.  Thus O’Toole drew a different lesson from Katrina:  “What we have to do, and what the main point of planning is, as we have learned in all of the emergency preparedness done so far, is that we have to start talking with each other” (U.S. House of Representatives 2006b).  She disagreed with Falkenrath about the role of the military:  “I think it would be a big mistake to... plan to put DOD in charge whenever we have a big bad thing happening.” Although it is necessary to “rethink federalism,” she argued, the federal role is one of creating infrastructure to enable local response:  “What the feds have to do is create the capacity to plug in and that’s where they ought to be focusing on.  But I don’t think we want the DOD to suddenly become everybody’s responder in cases of dire need” (U.  S.  Senate 2006c).  27One thing that everyone seemed to agree on was that local health agencies should do more exercises.

A representative of the American College of Emergency Physicians said:  “We need to train the hospital and health care workers to more long-term pandemic scenarios.  And then we need to take these lessons learned, the best practices and lessons learned, and disseminate” (U.S. House of Representatives 2006b).  The Commissioner of Health of Duchess County, New York, testified:  “I think over the last five years we’ve built the framework of a system that we can carry forward. . . but we need to strengthen that and continue to have strategic exercises community wide, not just public health departments, but every single community drill to include as many partners as possible so that we can learn from each other” (U.  S.  Senate 2006c).  And a Virginia emergency health official said:  “we have been working very closely with DHS in terms of developing metrics as well as with the CDC and DHHS, but we need to assure that we have the exercises and events to test our plans and that’s really the test of preparedness.  What we’ve done in Virginia is we’ve used every event as an opportunity to test our plans and we’ve had many” (U.S. Senate 2006c).  By the end of the year, Congress had moved to address the problem of bio preparedness in a more sustained, integrated way, with the passage of The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006.

Even critics of the prior year’s plan hailed the bill’s passage as a “milestone” piece of public health legislation (Mair et al. 2006).  The Act included a range of measures, from the reorganization of federal health administration, to funding for local and state health agencies, the training of epidemiological investigators, and a novel biomedical research initiative.  A key issue the Act sought to address was how to create an integrated “system” of biopreparedness, one that extended from disease detection to vaccine production to the relations among the various government agencies that would be charged with response.  This system was focused not specifically on pandemic flu, but on a generic form of biological threat:  the unpredictable but potentially catastrophic disease event.  There was general agreement among biopreparedness advocates that addressing this threat was not simply a matter of public health, but one of national security.

Although the link between national security and public health was not in itself new, what was distinctive about these measures was the attempt to integrate the institutions, forms of knowledge, and techniques of intervention developed in the period of modern public health into a more general system of preparedness, in the context of a broader security problematic that focused on the vulnerability of the nation’s vital systems.  28 CONCLUSION In closing, let me return to the comparison, outlined above, between the 1976 swine flu campaign and the “pandemic preparedness” measures enacted three decades later.

29 Along with the contrast in their scale, the two techno-political responses differed profoundly in their approach to disease threat (see Figure 2).  First, in the way of conceptualizing the threat to be managed:  the 2005–06 measures were focused not only on the specific threat of a new and virulent strain of influenza, but at the generic “catastrophic disease threat.”  Second, the site of intervention differed:  whereas the 1976 campaign was aimed at the national population using classical methods of public health, the later plans were aimed at multiple elements of the“public health infrastructure,” both within the United States and globally, including disease surveillance capacity, the ability to produce and distribute countermeasures, and the administrative organization of response.  And third, the prominent form of knowledge used to authorize expert claims about needed interventions had changed:  rather than the statistical calculation of risk based on the historical incidence of disease, the emphasis of experts was on knowledge gathered through the imaginative enactment of singular events.  We can see in contrasting these two cases that a vital systems approach emerges at the limit point of population security—but that it is constrained in the type of problems it can treat. 

It is not that the two forms of security are necessarily in conflict or mutually exclusive:  rather, vital systems security operates in reflexive relation to population security, working to define its elements as a “critical infrastructure” whose vulnerabilities must be mitigated.  However, if political attention focuses on vital systems security and not on population security, only certain types of problems become visible as possible targets of intervention.  Whereas Laurie Garrett had pointed to global living conditions—such as poverty and the lack of a basic public health infrastructure—as a key source of the threat of emerging infectious disease, the eventual preparedness measures enacted in response to the threat of avian flu focused only on technical response to the potential outbreak.  The ongoing living conditions of populations were outside the purview of a biopreparedness system."

Re: Everything happening now was deliberately planned over 20 years
« Reply #1 on: Mar 31, 2020, 04:09:29 pm »

Dr. Naomi Hunter

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Notice some of the same names showing up in another exercise in a completely different arena--the Internet...:

"SILENT VECTOR" October 2002 CSIS/ANSER terror exercise on infrastructure


SILENT VECTOR was a strategic level exercise designed to simulate possible U.S. reaction to a credible threat of terrorist attack when there is not sufficient information for effective protection. The overall purpose of the exercise was to assist the Administration and Congress in their attempts to improve the effectiveness of response during the pre attack phase of a major terrorist incident.

The United States operates 103 nuclear power plants, is the world's largest consumer of petrochemicals and by-products and continues to import a disproportionate amount of oil from the Middle East. It is reasonable to assume that terrorist organizations have recognized the potential financial, industrial, and public impact of a substantive attack against American energy infrastructure.

SILENT VECTOR challenged current and former senior government leaders to respond to increasingly credible and specific intelligence indicating the possibility of a large scale attack against critical energy and energy-related infrastructure on the East Coast of the United States.

President                                                                   Hon. Sam Nunn
Governor of Virginia                                                   Hon. James S. Gilmore III
Secretary of State Hon.                                           Fred C. Iklé
Secretary of Defense                                                   Hon. John P. White
Secretary of Homeland Security                                   ADM James M. Loy, USCG (ret.)
Secretary of Energy                                                   Hon. Charles B. Curtis
Attorney General                                                           Hon. George J. Terwilliger III
National Security Advisor                                           Hon . R. James Woolsey
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff                                   GEN Wesley K. Clark, USA (ret.)
Director, Central Intelligence Agency                           Mr. Winston Wiley
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation                           Hon. William S. Sessions
Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency           Hon. James Lee Witt
Director, Nuclear Regulatory Commission                           Hon. Shirley Ann Jackson
Director, White House Office of Homeland Security           Hon. Jerome M. Hauer
Director, National Economic Council                               Mr. Stephen Friedman
The President's Press Secretary                                   Hon. Margaret Myers
Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation           Mr. Dale Watson


The role players were summoned to an emergency meeting with the President and the National Security Council at Camp David to address the looming crisis. Based on information from two independent and relatively reliable sources, the national intelligence community determined that there was a credible, conventional, terrorist threat to unspecified elements of energy infrastructure on the east coast of the United States. The attack was expected to occur in two days, however the precise timing was unknown. Given this information, the role players were faced with several key questions:

   1. Is the attack real? How credible is the intelligence?
   2. What is likely to be attacked?
   3. What should our priorities be?
   4. Can anything be done to prevent an attack?

Over the course of the two days leading up to the expected attack (simulated by two 4-hour sessions), role players were presented with specific analyses on threats, vulnerabilities and expected impacts as well as, emergent intelligence and law enforcement data to help formulate a comprehensive response plan. At the outset, the role players determined that the threat was too vague for direct, specific measures but did raise the alert level and installed general protective measures. This in turn led to media leaks and public panic in communities near energy facilities, such as nuclear power plants. The role players then had to face the problem of balancing rising panic with the need for more extreme protective measures.

The day of the expected attack comes and goes, but nothing happens. The role players must confront the silence of the day after the anticipated attack (simulated by one two-hour session). They are faced with not knowing if the attack was foiled, deterred, or a hoax. Role players must determine when it is safe to return to normal life.

In developing the scenario for SILENT VECTOR, CSIS created a threat/vulnerability integration methodology to map likely terrorist capabilities against the vulnerabilities of specific sectors/facilities of energy and energy-related infrastructure. While simplified for the purposes of the exercise, the methodology used to develop a threat/vulnerability integration matrix establishes a foundation upon which to build a system of assigning priorities and allocating resources for homeland security. Currently, no such analytical approach exists for U.S. critical infrastructure.

For more information about Silent Vector, contact Phil Anderson.

This exercise was developed in partnership with the ANSER Institute of Homeland Security and was made possible by grants From the Smith Richardson Foundation and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism

Special thanks to Environmental Systems Research Institute and AIR Worldwide for their invaluable technical support in the planning and execution of Silent Vector.

CSIS would also like to recognize the valuable contributions and support of the following organizations:

Colonial Pipeline Company
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
National Petrochemical & Refiners Association
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division
Nuclear Energy Institute
Sandia National Labs
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of Transportation

2002 Press Releases &
Media Advisories
October 18, 2002

SILENT VECTOR: Energy Terrorism Exercise
Hamre to Share Initial Assessment of Simulation Results, Vulnerabilities

WASHINGTON, October 18, 2002  - CSIS president and CEO John Hamre, CSIS Homeland Security Initiatives Director Phil Anderson, and ANSER Institute Director Randy Larsen, will outline the initial results of a recent simulation exercise of the pre-attack phase of a credible threat to the U.S. energy infrastructure from 12:00 P.M. 1:00 P.M. on Monday, Oct. 21, at CSIS, 1800 K Street, NW, B-1 conference level, room A.

Silent Vector, which was patterned after the 2001 Dark Winter simulated bioterrorist attack, was designed to reveal some of the most pressing issues and vulnerabilities that would arise if the nation were faced with a highly credible, but ambiguous, threat of a terrorist attack on American soil.

This two-day exercise employed a simulated National Security Council of senior policymakers, with former Senator Sam Nunn acting as president. Through the course of the game, participants, largely former senior-level government officials, were given increasingly credible and specific intelligence of a large-scale attack on the nation's critical energy infrastructure. Silent Vector was developed and produced by CSIS in partnership with the ANSER Institute and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. Among the issues examined:

    * What are the critical challenges the federal government would face during the pre-attack phase of a terrorist event focused on U.S. energy infrastructure?
    * What unique challenges would the law enforcement and intelligence communities face when responding to credible but ambiguous threats to the American homeland?
    * What are the fault lines that exist in the interagency community, and among federal, state and local governments during the pre-attack phase of a major terrorist incident?
    * What are the fault lines that exist between the public and private sectors during the pre-attack phase of a major terrorist incident?
    * What are the potential impacts of a credible threat of attack?
    * What are the key vulnerabilities of select critical energy infrastructure?

"As with Dark Winter, we believe that a detailed discussion of this 'real world' energy infrastructure scenario and its effects will serve the nation's national security interests," said Anderson. "We expect that a well-planned and executed simulation focusing on the threat-rather than consequence management-of a major attack on U.S. energy infrastructure could generate a similar level of policy attention and impetus for improved preparation and response by the administration and Congress."

Re: Everything happening now was deliberately planned over 20 years
« Reply #2 on: Apr 01, 2020, 06:55:47 pm »


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