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DHS has completed incident planning for a Moscow-like explosive attack

Moscow subway bombing

DHS has identified 15 hypothetical terrorist attack scenarios, but has completed the incident planning work on only one of those scenarios – referred to as “Terrorist Use of Explosives” – which happens to be the scenario that so-called “Black Widow” female Chechnyan suicide bombers appear to have followed when they detonated explosives in two subway stations in Moscow during the morning rush hour on March 29.

In a report entitled, DHS’ Progress in Federal Incident Management Planning, the department’s inspector general summarized 15 different modes of attack that could occur, and assessed the progress by DHS in developing the strategic guidance statement, strategic plan, concept plan and operations plan for coping with each type of potential attack.

The only scenario for which all four plans have been completed by DHS envisions a situation in which “members of a terrorist organization have carried out a multi-pronged attack using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at a large urban entertainment / sports venue,” according to the IG’s report, which was completed last month. “Three suicide bombers detonated their devices, killing and injuring some people and sending the rest of the large crowd into a frantic rush to the exits, where they are met by the detonation of a large vehicle bomb. Similar detonations also occur near a crowded transportation concourse….”

DHS developed its incident plans for this scenario, No. 12 on its roster, between March 2008 and September 2009. Considerable planning work remains to be completed on all 14 other threat scenarios, the IG report indicates.

“Collectively, the scenarios are designed to focus contingency planning for homeland security preparedness work at all levels of government and with the private sector,” said the IG report, which was described in a news article published by GSN on March 26. “The scenarios form the basis for coordinated federal planning, training, exercises, and grant investments needed to prepare for all types of emergencies.”



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