skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 200405 Find in a Library
Title: Weapons of Mass Destruction and Civil Aviation Preparedness
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:72  Issue:5  Dated:May 2003  Pages:1-5
Author(s): Robert Raffel
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: HTML
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article assesses the preparedness of civil aviation in dealing with the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and proposes ways of increasing such preparedness.
Abstract: Biological weapons are natural organisms or diseases used in a harmful or destructive manner (e.g., smallpox, anthrax, and Ebola). Many countries and terrorist groups have the capability of mass producing lethal viruses and distributing them throughout the human population. The pervasiveness of the U.S. civil aviation presence in the world, combined with the vulnerable state of aviation preparedness in combating and responding to biological attacks, creates a significant risk to airports, air carriers, and the American public. During a suspected biological attack, the public health community will have a major role, because it has a more comprehensive understanding of the problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), together with local and State health authorities, will assume part of the decisionmaking process; in noncriminal cases, they may even take the lead. Some of the questions that must be answered before an outbreak of disease can be considered criminal are posed in this article. Only interagency cooperation will ultimately determine whether a biological event requires a criminal investigation. Given the need for trained and expert guidance, the emergency operations center (EOC) may become a unified command post responsible for managing the biological crisis. The EOC gains input via a team of firefighters, medical personnel, police, and airport and air carrier representatives, any of whom could become the key decisionmakers when the need arises. Carrying out a cooperative strategy assumes a high level of training in unified command procedures and a strong partnership with local, State, and Federal public health entities. Tabletop exercises should evolve into planning for full-scale exercises. Air carriers also have a role in defending against these types of incidents beyond their involvement in exercises. Airplane crew training should include information about WMD. Personnel should know what procedures to follow if a biological event occurs, and airlines should develop and implement means to assist with passenger tracking after the conclusion of flights. The entire civil aviation community should establish both preventive and countermeasures against WMD. National-level procedures that focus on "best-risk" airports into which flights may be diverted should be considered. Additionally, partnership opportunities across the civil aviation spectrum should be explored. 9 notes
Main Term(s): Domestic Preparedness
Index Term(s): Airport security; Biological weapons; Emergency procedures; Interagency cooperation; Police emergency procedures; Terrorist weapons; Victim medical assistance
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.