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NCJ Number: 189855 Find in a Library
Title: Military Role in U.S. Response to Terrorism Remains Unclear
Journal: National Defense Magazine  Dated:June 2000  Pages:1-7
Author(s): Stephen Willingham
Date Published: June 2000
Page Count: 7
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article focuses on the United States (U.S.) response to terrorism.
Abstract: Even though major U.S. cities are not prepared to handle a large influx of casualties resulting from a terrorist attack with weapons of mass destruction, authorities can take preemptive action by figuring out how to detect deadly agents and deciding what treatment would be needed for victims. While attacks may be prompted by national policies, “terrorist acts are local incidents with local consequences.” Not only will State and local officials be among the first responders, they will have to deal with effects of the action long after the fact. Surveillance and identification both are critically important yet funding priorities indicate otherwise. Out of the $10 billion that the Federal Government plans to spend on countering terrorism in 2000, only about two percent is slated for public health surveillance and reporting. Novichok is a deadly agent comprised of two benign chemicals that become lethal only when mixed together. It is said to be relatively easy to manufacture and can be readily made from standard ingredients found in most pesticide factories. Whether Novichok poses a significant threat currently is the source of intense debate among experts. However, the weapons that experts believe are more dangerous are biological agents such as anthrax, smallpox, plague and various types of botulism. An important factor in countermeasure efforts is the stockpiling of treatment drugs for vaccinations against a biological agent and antidotes against chemical agents. Developing U.S. expertise for dealing with diseases that normally aren’t found in this country is recommended. The role of first responder would fall to medics, doctors, and hospitals. Yet, local first responders say they aren’t equipped, in either material or training, to handle large-scale disasters. It is necessary for the military to stand in support of civilian first responders until such time as they can afford to acquire their own specialized equipment.
Main Term(s): Domestic Preparedness
Index Term(s): Biological weapons; Crimes against persons; Human rights; Medical Readiness; Subversive activities; Terrorist weapons; Weapons
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