Terrorism: May 9, 2000

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: to steal eight tons of explosives last September.-Stephen V Cole

The Technical Support Working Group is one of the Pentagon's least-known weapons against terrorism. This small team, with its $60 million budget and 100 workers from 13 different agencies, tries to identify and speed the development of technologies that might help in the war against terrorism. The lead agencies are the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and the State Departments anti-terrorism office. The FBI and Department of Energy also sit on the Executive Committee. The eight sub-groups cover:

@ Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear countermeasures (13% of budget).
@ Explosives detection and defeat (15% of budget).
@ Infrastructure protection.
@ Investigative support and forensics.
@ Personnel protection.
@ Physical security (30% of the budget)
@ Surveillance, collection, and operations support.
@ Tactical-operations support.

While the working group includes scientists, it also includes engineers, police, soldiers, members of bomb squads, and "first-responders". As these are the people who would use the new technologies, they are the ones best suited to recognize something originally developed for another application as suitable to anti-terrorist use. The close-knit working group of professionals is reportedly devoid of infighting and internal rivalries. The top priority is the bomb threat, including ways to search vehicles, reduce blast effects, and detect explosives. Next in line is the threat of chemical and biological weapons.--Stephen V Cole


May 6, 2000; The Clinton Administration plans to hold mock terrorist attacks at several locations around the country to test the reaction of emergency services. The first such test, in Cincinnati, showed that local services were not ready for a

 

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