Local, State, and Federal Partnerships: Terrorism
For this level, access the following:
- Federal Government Partner Guide of the NRF. The �Partner Guide provides a targeted index to
information in the NRF core document that is specifically pertinent to local [state and federal] government
leaders and emergency management practitioners. The Guide is intended to serve as a ready reference
to assist users in quickly locating sections of the NRF that are applicable to local [state and federal]
partners.� (Source: FEMA.gov)
- National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS works hand in hand with the NRF. NIMS
provides the template for the management of incidents, while the NRF provides the structure and
mechanisms for national-level policy for incident management.
Respond to the following:
- Explain the chain-of-command structure when receiving information about a possible act of terrorism in
your city. The incident is confirmed to be the work of terrorists. Now what?
LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL PARTNERSHIPS: TERRORISM 2
- Review the NRF and the NIMS in reference to terrorism (e.g., explosions, shootings, biological attacks)
and note the locations in these documents.
- What do the documents note concerning biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear terrorism?
- Go to the Texas Department of Public Safety website and find the document regarding the biological
terrorism response plan. Summarize the document�s strengths and weaknesses as a response plan in
light of the prior questions and readings.
LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL PARTNERSHIPS: TERRORISM 3
Local, State, and Federal Partnerships: Terrorism
- Explain the chain-of-command structure when receiving information about a possible
act of terrorism in your city. The incident is confirmed to be the work of terrorists. Now
When a possible incident of terrorism is reported in the city of Los Angeles, California,
patrol officers will be the first on the scene among other first responders who arrive at the scene
with the sole aim of helping the public who may be wounded or in harm’s way. Once the first
responders arrive at the scene, they will radio in the situation to their respective departments for
appropriate response with the police officers radioing the situation to their base station. A senior
officer at the base is usually assigned the case immediately it is reported who then appoints an
incident commander who has special training in emergency response who shall be in charge of
the operation (Kane, 2004). The incident commander quickly takes over and starts gathering
important information from officers who are at the scene while at the same time dispatching an
emergency police unit to the scene. The incident commander also coordinates with the city’s
emergency response center so as to confirm that the incident is actually an act of terrorism after
which the matter becomes a top priority for homeland security, but they will still coordinate with
the police and the emergency response command center.
- Review the NRF and the NIMS in reference to terrorism (e.g., explosions, shootings,
biological attacks) and note the locations in these documents.
According to the NRF document, the references to terrorism are located in the chapters II
and II of the document, which are dedicated to response actions and in case of such incidents.
The term is mentioned between pages 27 in the introduction to page 70 at the close of chapter III.
On page 48, which discuses the role of a Multiagency Coordination System (MACS) whose role
LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL PARTNERSHIPS: TERRORISM 4
is to coordinate events away from the field and allocate resources in high demand within the field
(FEMA, 2008a). Page 53 mentions the role of Homeland Security in staffing counterterrorism
units. Page 54 mentions the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG), which is an interagency
group that develops terrorism prevention measures. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCS)
is mentioned on page 57.
The NIMS document mentions the term terrorism on page 5 all the way throughout the
document up to page 148, addressing all forms of terrorism including bioterrorism and nuclear
terrorism. There is also a definition of terrorism done by the Homeland Security Act of 2002,
which characterizes it as an act that poses danger to human life or has the potential to cause
damage to critical infrastructure. In the U.S, it is a violation of state or federal criminal laws, its
objective is to coerce or intimidate civilians, or to affect the operations of a government by mass
criminal acts (FEMA, 2008b).
- What do the documents note concerning biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear
The NIMs document is very categorical about all the above types of terrorisms attacks,
which should be managed by an Incident Command System (ICS) since they involve multiple
agencies and may cover multiple jurisdictions. The ICS should facilitate the coordination of
response actions by integrating equipment, personnel, facilities, procedures, and communication
system between response teams. The NIMS document also proposes that additional command
staff may be necessary for the above terrorism attacks (FEMA, 2008b). An Area Command is
also recommended for the above types of terrorism attacks, as they require the coordination of
large-scale responses and different types of organizations that are managed by different ICS.
Emergency Operations Centers may also be established in times of such terrorism attacks that
LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL PARTNERSHIPS: TERRORISM 5
have significant lasting effects and will usually include staff from a variety of jurisdictions and
disciplines. The Operations Section discuses the management of terrorism sites so as to save
lives and property, while also establishing control and returning the situation to normal (FEMA,
- Go to the Texas Department of Public Safety website and find the document regarding
the biological terrorism response plan.
The strengths of the Appendix 6 to Annex H (Biological Terrorism Response Plan)
document lie in section IV on situation and assumptions as most of the situation described are
correct and extremely accurate, thus, they represent the situation on the ground in the state of
Texas (TxDPS, 2011). Situations that describe how terrorist may carry out attacks on specific
populations or areas in the state and the motivations for such targeted attacks being to cause mass
casualties or to inflict economic loss are extremely accurate. The situation is quite accurate
because it reflects the definitions of acts of terrorism, which is contained in the NIMs document.
Another appropriate situation is described as a biological terrorism attack that may target critical
infrastructure and vital resources. The assumptions in the document are also appropriate as they
reflect the nature of terrorism attacks, such as in order for a response to a bioterrorism attack to
be successful, accurate information should be released to the public on time so that they can take
appropriate measures regarding public health issues (TxDPS, 2011). Most of the other
assumptions are also quite accurate.
The main weaknesses of the document lie in its description of the concept of operations
and the biological terrorism response strategy and policy, which I find is quite inadequate and
LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL PARTNERSHIPS: TERRORISM 6
might not reflect the true situation on the ground during bioterrorism attacks. I recommend that
the department adopts much faster detection systems such as the use of monitoring drones to
minimize the time lag between the biological attack and its detection. Such measures will ensure
that the response have maximum effect.
LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL PARTNERSHIPS: TERRORISM 7
Kane, J. (2004). The critical incident response manual for supervisors and managers. California:
FEMA. (2008, January). National Response Framework. Washington DC. Department of
FEMA. (2008, December 18). National Incident Management System. Washington DC.
Department of Homeland Security.
Texas Department of Public Safety. (2011, September). State of Texas Emergency Management
Plan. Texas: Texas Department of State Health Services