RealNews

Officials brace for terrorism simulation

Next month, imaginary terrorists will pretend to release killer microbes in the Chicago area, leaving thousands of fictional people dead. This bleak scenario is expected to play out in what officials are calling the largest-ever terrorism drill in the United States. The so-called “Topoff 2” exercise will test top officials in federal, state and local governments in the midst of attacks on northeast Illinois and the Seattle area. “It is designed to test the nation’s ability to respond to multisite, multihazard terrorist events that could occur throughout the country,” Thomas Mefferd, director of DuPage County’s Office of Emergency Management, told the DuPage County Board on Tuesday. The exercise comes three years after the first Topoff drill in which there was a feigned release of pneumonic plague in the Denver Performing Arts Center and six days of imagined antibiotics shortages, civil unrest and hundreds of deaths. Weary public health officials wasted hours on conference calls, according to an assessment by scholars at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies. Topoff 2 is the first federal regionwide exercise since the 2001 anthrax attacks killed five in the United States. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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