The U.S. Department of Justice yesterday released a report titled “Review of the Department’s Preparation to Respond to a Weapons of Mass Destruction Incident,” which outlines five different recommendations for the department to better respond to any potential WMD incident.
A WMD is defined in the report as “any weapon or device that is intended or has the capability to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors; a disease organism; or radiation or radioactivity.” Due to this, response efforts to WMD incidents differ from conventional explosives.
After review, the DOJ found the FBI has taken proper steps to respond to a WMD attack. However, the DOJ as a whole is currently lacking sufficient response plans. One missing key is that DOJ has not assigned an individual or entity as “the leader” of a WMD response. Moreover, other DOJ personnel outside of the FBI staff have not received adequate training for a WMD response effort.
In the winter of 2008, the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction predicted a WMD attack would occur somewhere in the world by 2013, that is, without prevention efforts. DOJ’s new report calls for a comprehensive response plan to ensure safety and security. Specifically, it calls for the department to update its response policies, as well as designate an authority to the response efforts.