This is the text version of the PDF file$FILE/The+Problems+of+Preparedness.pdf.
G o o g l e automatically generates text versions of PDF documents as we crawl the web.

Google is not affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its content.







                          The Problems of Preparedness: 
     Challenges Facing the U.S. Domestic Preparedness Program 

                                 Richard A. Falkenrath 

        BCSIA-2000-28                                                             December 2000 


                                 CITATION AND REPRODUCTION 
This document appears as Discussion Paper 2000-28 of the Belfer Center for Science and International 
Affairs and as contribution ESDP-2000-05 of the Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness, a joint 
project of the Belfer Center and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government.  Comments are 
welcome and may be directed to the author in care of the Executive Session on Domestic Session. 
This paper may be cited as Richard A. Falkenrath.  "The Problems of Preparedness:  Challenges Facing 
the U.S. Domestic Preparedness Program." BCSIA Discussion Paper 2000-28, ESDP Discussion Paper 
ESDP-2000-05, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, December 2000. 

                                        ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
Richard A. Falkenrath is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, 
Harvard University.  He completed a three-year term as Executive Director of the Kennedy School's 
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) in 1998. He is co-director of the Executive 
Session on Domestic Preparedness, a DOJ-funded joint project of BCSIA and the Kennedy School 
Taubman Center for State and Local Government.  He is the author or co-author of Shaping Europe's 
Military Order: The Origins and Consequences of the CFE Treaty (1995), Avoiding Nuclear Anarchy: 
Containing the Threat of Loose Russian Nuclear Weapons and Fissile Material (1996), America's 
Achilles' Heel: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Terrorism and Covert Attack (1998), and numerous 
journal articles and chapters of edited volumes. Dr. Falkenrath has been a visiting research fellow at the 
German Society of Foreign Affairs (DGAP) in Bonn, as well as a consultant to the U.S. Department of 
Defense, the intelligence community, several Congressional offices, the RAND Corporation, and a range 
of private companies in the defense sector. He is a member of the Nonproliferation Advisory Panel 
(Central Intelligence Agency), International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Council on Foreign 
Relations, the American Council on Germany, and the American Economic Association. He holds a Ph.D. 
from the Department of War Studies, King's College, London, where he was a British Marshall Scholar, 
and is a summa cum laude graduate of Occidental College, Los Angeles, with degrees in economics and 
international relations. 

The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Belfer 
Center for Science and International Affairs, Taubman Center for State and Local Government, Executive 
Session on Domestic Preparedness, or Harvard University.  Reproduction of this paper is not permitted 
without permission of the Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness.  To order copies of the paper or 
to request permission for reproduction, please contact Rebecca Storo, John F. Kennedy School of 
Government, Harvard University, 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, phone (617) 495-
1410, fax (617) 496-7024, or email 

The Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness is supported by Grant No. 1999-MU-CX-0008 awarded 
by the Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. 
Department of Justice.  The Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, coordinates the 
activities of the following program offices and bureaus:  the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of 
Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency 
Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime.  Points of view or opinions in this document are those of 
the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of 



The U.S. government is now actively engaged in preparing the nation for highly destructive acts of 
terrorism, especially those involving chemical and biological weapons.  This effort involves multiple 
federal agencies and a wide variety of programs.  Collectively known as the "U.S. domestic preparedness 
program," these programs are a very recent innovation in American governance.  The budget of federal 
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) preparedness programs has grown from effectively zero in 1995 to 
approximately $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2000.1  This made the U.S. domestic preparedness program one 
of the fastest growing federal programs of the late 1990s. 
The U.S. domestic preparedness program goes well beyond the modest goal of improving the physical 
security of particularly vulnerable or high-value targets that has always been a part of the traditional 
counterterrorism formula.  Instead, the U.S. domestic preparedness program is motivated by the ambitious 
goal of broadly reducing the vulnerability of American society to large, destructive acts of terrorism by 
improving a wide range of operational response capabilities across the country, at all levels of 
government.2  This effort bears a superficial resemblance to the U.S. civil defense program of the 1950s-
1960s, but is in fact unprecedented in scale and complexity.  Because no other nation has embarked on a 
comparable terrorism preparedness program, the American experience is unique and instructive.3 
Although the U.S. domestic preparedness program is in its early stages, the great difficulty of designing 
and implementing the program has already become apparent.  The purpose of this paper is to sketch the 
general contours and rationale of the U.S. domestic preparedness program, and to identify the most 
significant problems of domestic preparedness.4 The first section discusses the program's origins and 
evolution.  While the basic motivation of the domestic preparedness program has been the perception of a 
rising threat, the specifics of the program have been determined not by any guiding strategic concept but 
by discrete, uncoordinated legislative appropriations and administrative initiatives.  The second section 
elaborates on the basic rationale behind the domestic preparedness program, explaining how these highly 

1. Although there is some disagreement over exactly what constitutes a "weapon of mass destruction," all definitions 
including nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.   
2 . For a comprehensive survey of federal domestic preparedness programs, see Gregory Koblentz, "Overview of 
Federal Programs to Enhance State and Local Preparedness for Terrorism with Weapons of Mass Destruction," 
Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness Discussion Paper, forthcoming. 
3. See Ariel Merari, "Israel's Preparedness for High-Consequence Terrorism," BCSIA Discussion Paper 2000-30, 
ESDP Discussion Paper ESDP-2000-02, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, October 
2000, and General Accounting Office, Combating Terrorism: How Five Foreign Countries Are Organized to 
Combat Terrorism, GAO/NSIAD-00-85, April 2000. 
4 The author would like to thank Geoff Chapin, David Grannis, Gregory Koblentz, and Robyn Pangi for their 
comments and assistance. 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

 specific domestic policy innovations relate to the national security objective of reducing the threat of 
WMD terrorism to America.  The third section describes the major policy and management challenges 
facing the program. 


The U.S. domestic preparedness program began after a series of unusually destructive terrorist incidents 
in 1993-95 caught the attention of many national security leaders and experts.5  The March 1995 nerve 
gas attack in the Tokyo subway was particularly significant, since it demonstrated that terrorist use of 
exotic weapons of mass destruction was no longer purely a theoretical possibility.  This watershed event 
triggered a wide range of analytical and policy activities.  Several think tanks began studying this "new" 
threat.  A handful of leaders in the Congress and their staffs began to look into the issue.  Executive 
branch agencies quietly began to examine their own capacities to deal with a Tokyo-like incident.  A few 
leaders of local "first responder" agencies (mainly in New York City and the Washington, D.C., area) 
began to argue for improved equipment and training, since many unprepared response personnel were 
seriously injured as they tried to help the victims in Tokyo.6  And the media began to run stories on the 
issue, many of which were uncritical, sensational, or poorly informed. 
The Congress moved more quickly than the executive branch in transforming the rising concern over 
WMD terrorism into a practical policy initiative.  In June 1995, the White House laid out the basic 
contours of federal counterterrorism policy in Presidential Decision Directive 39 (PDD-39), but in 
practice this document did little more than clarify certain bureaucratic areas of responsibility.7  PDD-39 
called for heightened federal agency efforts in counterterrorism and preparedness, but directed agencies to 
fund these programs out of existing budgets and did little to strengthen coordination across these 
agencies.  At around the same time, and in direct response to the Tokyo nerve gas attack, the U.S. Marine 

5. For a somewhat more detailed discussion of the perceptual and conceptual origins of the U.S. domestic 
preparedness program, see Richard A. Falkenrath, "Analytic Models and Policy Prescription: Understanding Recent 
Innovation in U.S. Counterterrorism," BCSIA Discussion Paper 2000-31, ESDP Discussion Paper ESDP-2000-03, 
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, October 2000. 
6. The first of these domestic response teams was the Metropolitan Medical Strike Team (now incorporated in the 
Metropolitan Medical Response System) in the Washington metropolitan area, established by the HHS Office of 
Emergency Preparedness in July 1995. Additional programs were established in Atlanta, followed by 70 other U.S. 
metropolitan areas. See "NDMS/OEP Home Page" at  
7. An unclassified summary of PDD-39 is available at 



                                                                                       The Problems of Preparedness 

Corps created a new Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF), which consolidated the 
bulk of the Corps' existing chemical and biological defense capabilities into a single, deployable unit.8  
More significant than PDD-39 or the Marine Corps' new unit was the Defense Against Weapons of Mass 
Destruction Act of 1996, better known as the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici amendment, which Congress passed 
in September 1996.9  This legislation was the result of a series of hearings held by Senators Sam Nunn 
(D-Georgia), Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), and Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) between late 1995 and 
early 1996.10  These hearings highlighted the vulnerability of the United States to various forms of 
terrorism as well as the poor state of preparation and coordination in U.S. capabilities for responding to 
domestic chemical weapons incidents.  The resulting legislation directed that the "Secretary of Defense 
shall carry out a program to provide civilian personnel of federal, state, and local agencies with training 
and expert advice regarding emergency responses to a use or threatened use of a weapon of mass 
destruction or related materials,"11 and made available approximately $100 million in fiscal 1997 for this 
The current $1-plus billion domestic preparedness program emerged from these modest beginnings.  Its 
growth has been disorderly.  While the underlying motive behind the various parts of the domestic 
preparedness program was and remains a shared perception of a rising threat, the specifics of the 
program's development have been dominated by the fragmented politics of federal budget process. The 
program that took shape was the result of a series of uncoordinated legislative earmarks, which permitted 
a succession of relatively minor programmatic initiatives in individual federal agencies. Once established, 
these programs became the objects of uneasy collaborations between individual legislators and executive 
branch agencies, which allowed the programs to grow to their present proportions.  It was, in other words, 
a "bottom-up" rather than "top-down" process, with no guiding strategy, concept, or program 
architecture. To see this, it is useful to briefly review the history of several different components of the 
domestic preparedness program, beginning with the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici program. 
     More information on CBIRF can be found at "Chemical/Biological Incident Response Force," at 
9 . The Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act was part of the Fiscal Year 1997 Defense Authorization 
Act signed on September 23, 1996 (Public Law 104-201). 
10. Senate Committee on Governmental Reform, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Global Proliferation of 
Weapons of Mass Destruction (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1996). 
11. Approximately half of the money was provided to the Department of Defense ($52 million) to conduct training of 
state and local first responders while the remainder of the funding was earmarked for the Department of Health and 
Human Services ($6.5 million), Department of Justice ($17 million), Federal Emergency Management Agency ($15 
million), and Customs ($9 million).  See Section 1412 (A) (1), Public Law 104-201. 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

The executive branch did not request that a domestic preparedness program be established in the 
Department of Defense.  Indeed, the Pentagon and especially the uniformed military did not wish to 
assume responsibility for domestic WMD preparedness or response, which is a distraction from the core 
mission of war-fighting.  The reason the program went to the Defense Department was budgetary politics: 
the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici legislation was an amendment to the FY97 defense authorization bill.  
Moreover, there was substantial uncommitted funding in the fiscal 1997 defense budget ­ and thus room 
for a new small program ­ because the Congress had decided to add on close to $20 billion to the Clinton 
administration's defense budget request in 1996.12  Moreover, the Senators had greater confidence in the 
Defense Department's ability to implement a novel program of this kind than the civilian agencies, which 
lacked the military's substantial resources in chemical and biological defense. 
Because of the Pentagon's ambivalence, the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici legislation contained a provision 
allowing the President to transfer it to another federal agency in two years.  It was assumed in 1996-97 
that this agency would be the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  This was because the 
Nunn-Lugar-Domenici program was essentially preparing local response personnel to manage the 
consequences of a chemical weapons terrorist incident, and FEMA was (according to PDD-39) the lead 
federal agency for "consequence management."  FEMA elected not to take over the program, however, 
and again the reason was essentially budgetary politics.  FEMA has a much leaner budget than the 
Department of Defense ($3.4 billion versus $268 billion in FY2000), with even less discretionary 
authority.13  Since the congressional committees that authorize and appropriate FEMA's budget are not 
the same as those which created the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici program, the agency feared that if it were to 
assume responsibility for the program (an executive branch decision), it would not receive the budgetary 
resources needed to implement it (a legislative decision).   The result would be a severe drain on FEMA's 
limited discretionary resources and, in all likelihood, public criticism for ineffective implementation of an 
initiative regarded as important by many national security leaders and commentators.  Consequently, and 
despite its lead role in coordinating federal consequence management activities, FEMA plays a minor role 
in building preparedness across the country. 

12 . For the Department of Defense's Fiscal Year 1997 budget request and the budget enacted by Congress, see 
13 . The FEMA budget figure is a request; see "FEMA Asks Congress For $3.4 Billion 2000 Budget," at The DoD budget is enacted; see Center for Strategic and Budgetary 



                                                                                         The Problems of Preparedness 

The final institutional location of the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici program was thus unclear for much of 1997-
98.  In 1999, the administration decided to transfer the program to the Department of Justice, effective 
October 1, 2000.14  The Department of Justice had in fact long been central to the federal counterterrorism 
effort, and PDD-39 confirmed this role by designating DOJ (and within the Department, the FBI) as the 
lead federal agency for "crisis management" of terrorist incidents.  Unlike the Department of Defense, 
however, the Department of Justice and the FBI did not possess extensive specialized resources needed to 
conduct or prepare for an effective operational response to an incident of chemical or biological terrorism.  
The institutional foci of the FBI and DOJ are to investigate crimes and prosecute crimes, respectively, and 
these tasks are entirely different from consequence management.  Yet DOJ did possess clear presidential 
direction to take a lead role in federal domestic counterterrorism effort, as well as an established 
apparatus for providing technical and financial assistance to state and local law enforcement and criminal 
justice agencies -- the Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), with a fiscal 1999 
budget of $3.9 billion. 
Initially, the Department of Justice and the FBI were only tangentially involved in the Nunn-Lugar-
Domenici project of providing specialized training and equipment to state and local response agencies.  
Beginning with the April 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, however, the Department 
of Justice began to receive a series of discrete congressional earmarks for specific counterterrorism 
projects.15  In fiscal year 1997, the National Institute of Justice received a congressional earmark of $10 
million to develop new counterterrorism technologies, while the Bureau of Justice Assistance began a 
small training program to equip firefighters and other emergency services personnel in 120 targeted urban 
jurisdictions with skills for handling mass disasters.16  The budget of the BJA counterterrorism program 
expanded further in fiscal year 1998, when Congress earmarked $17 million for a "Special Equipment and 
Training Grant Program" and another $4 for the operation of four major institutions, including Fort 
McClellan, a military chemical defense facility that the Pentagon had planned to shut down.  To 

14. Office of the White House Press Secretary, Memorandum on Emergency Response Assistance Program, "Subject: 
Designation of the Attorney General as the Lead Official for the Emergency Response Assistance Program Under 
Sections 1412 and 1415 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 (Public Law 104-201)," 
April 6, 2000, 
15. Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, April 24, 1996, Public Law 104-132. 
16. Department of Justice, OJP Annual Report for Fiscal Year 1997 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 
1998), p. 19.  The BJA program was called the "Metropolitan Firefighter and Emergency Services National Training 
Program for First Responders to Terrorist Incidents."  The federal government also provides training for firefighters 
and emergency managers through the National Fire Academy and the Emergency Management Institute, 
respectively, but these entities are subordinate to FEMA and thus funded by different authorizing and appropriating 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

accommodate the growing domestic preparedness role of DOJ, a new OJP Office for State and Local 
Domestic Preparedness Support was established for the purpose of implementing this program. The 
mission of this office was effectively identical to that of the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici program.  The FBI's 
counterterrorism budget also increased rapidly in the late 1990s.17  In the case of the FBI, however, the 
additional funding was directed mainly toward augmenting the internal capabilities of the Bureau.18  The 
FBI increased the number of agents assigned to counterterrorism investigations and support functions, 
invested in new specialized capabilities such as the Hazardous Materials Response Unit (established in 
1996), enhanced analytical capabilities for nuclear, biological, and chemical materials at the FBI 
laboratory, and provided specialized WMD training for select FBI special agents.  In October 1998, the 
Attorney General announced the creation of a new National Domestic Preparedness Office (NDPO) 
within the FBI.  The office was to be the single point of contact for state and local agencies seeking 
federal preparedness assistance.19  The NDPO, lacking both funding from Congress and bureaucratic 
clout, has not accomplished this objective. 
Like the FBI, the Department of Defense has also invested in developing its own capabilities for 
supporting domestic WMD response operations.20  In late 1996, the Secretary of Defense asked the 
Defense Science Board to examine the Defense Department's proper role in national efforts to deal with 
"transnational threats," including WMD terrorism.  The resulting DSB study recommended (inter alia) an 
expanded role of the National Guard in this area.21  In March 1998, Secretary of Defense William Cohen 
announced the creation of ten special National Guard teams for WMD support; by 2000, the planned  
number of such teams had risen to 27.22  The Defense Department has also augmented the Pentagon office 
that coordinates military assistance to civilian authorities, and in 1999, established a new command 
structure for active duty military units that might deploy in domestic WMD response operations.23 
17. The FBI's counterterrorism budget has increased from $256 million in 1995 to $581 million in 1998. General 
Accounting Office, Combating Terrorism: FBI's Use of Federal Funds for Counterterrorism-Related Activities (FYs 
1995-98), GAO-GGD-99-7, November 1998, p. 2. 
18. An exception is the State and Local Bomb Technician Equipment Program at the FBI's Hazardous Devices 
School at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. 
19. The decision to create the NDPO was a response to complaints voiced at an August 1998 meeting of federal, state, 
and local "stakeholders" in domestic preparedness.  
20. The Department of Defense stresses that it will only "support" domestic WMD response operations, and only 
when requested to do so by the proper civilian authorities.   
21. Defense Science Board, DoD Responses to Transnational Threats (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 
22. The teams were initially called RAID teams for "Rapid Assessment and Initial Detection."  They were 
subsequently renamed Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams.  Each team consists of 22 soldiers with 
special training and equipment.  See National Guard Bureau, Enhancing the National Guard's Readiness to Support 



                                                                                                                                  The Problems of Preparedness 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) involved itself in domestic preparedness activities 
even before the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici legislation, but until 1999, lacked the budgetary resources to play 
a significant role.  In 1995, immediately after the Tokyo subway attack, the Office of Emergency 
Preparedness ­ a small office within HHS responsible for coordinating federal medical services in major 
disasters ­ began working with the emergency service providers in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., 
area to devise a plan for improving their collective capability for responding to a Tokyo-like incident in 
the capital region.  The result was the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) program, which 
supported municipal efforts to prepare emergency medical providers for the consequences of a chemical 
weapons incident.  The MMRS program was a very small program: between 1995 and 1998, the MMRS 
program provided 27 cities with grants of $350,000 each. HHS was unable to expand significantly the 
MMRS program because of competing traditional demands on the already tight HHS budget, and because 
the Department's authorizing and appropriating committees did not allocate funds for the program, as did 
the committees for Justice and Defense. 
The initial set of federal domestic preparedness programs has been widely criticized for duplication, poor 
coordination, and incoherence.  Numerous officials, government-chartered commissions, and individual 
experts have called for improved coordination at the federal level, and have offered a variety of different 
plans.  The problem is only partially remediable by the executive branch, however, because most of the 
specific components of the domestic preparedness program are controlled by specific legislation, which 
the individual agencies are obliged to implement as directed and with the funds provided in each year's 

Emergency Responders in Domestic Chemical and Biological Terrorism Defense, Report to Congress, July 20, 1999 
and Prepared Statement of Charles Cragin, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Before the 
House Committee on Government Reform, National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations 
Subcommittee, Hearing on Combating Terrorism: The National Guard Rapid Assessment and Initial Detection 
(RAID) Teams, June 23, 1999. 
23. The Pentagon office is the Consequence Management Program Integration Office (COMPIO), which is 
subordinate to the Director of Military Support (DOMS).  The new command structure is the Joint Task Force 
Civilian Support (JTF-CS), which is a subordinate command of Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Virginia.   
For a more complete review of Defense Department programs in the domestic preparedness area, see Koblentz, 
"Overview of Federal Programs to Enhance State and Local Preparedness for Terrorism with Weapons of Mass 
24. This problem was also noted in the July 1999 Report of the Commission to Assess the Organization of the Federal 
Government to Combat the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  "Congressional-executive interaction is 
complicated by the number of congressional committees that now have oversight and budgetary authority over 
proliferation-related programs.  Oversight from at least twenty committees heightens the need for coherent, 
continuous consultation between the branches." (p. 7) 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

In May 1998, in part with these coordination problems in mind, the White House issued PDD-62, entitled 
"Protection Against Unconventional Threats to the Homeland and Americans Overseas."25    This 
document went beyond its predecessor, PDD-39, by upgrading and enlarging the NSC office responsible 
for coordinating federal counterterrorism, domestic preparedness, and critical infrastructure protection 
programs.26  Although this office had no formal authority over the budgets or programs of any federal 
agency, increased attention and activism by the White House appeared to have produced some 
improvement.27  The most important advance had to do with the federal government's efforts to prepare 
for terrorism involving biological weapons, which had languished until the White House became seized 
with the issue in mid-1998.28 
Despite some misleading advertising, the major domestic preparedness programs initiated between 1995 
and 1998 were basically directed against the threat of chemical weapons attacks and did not highlight the 
unique threats posed by a biological weapons attack.  Their emphasis was on providing specialized 
training, protective clothing, medicine and other equipment to the response personnel ­ mainly 
firefighters, police, and emergency medical technicians ­ who would be called up to secure the "scene" 
and rapidly extract, decontaminate, and treat the victims.  There were several reasons for this.  There was 
a tendency to assume that the next WMD terrorist incident would resemble the chemical weapon attack in 
Tokyo subway.  It is also relatively easy to imagine how the emergency services should respond to 
chemical weapons incidents, which have certain similarities to relatively common bombings and 
hazardous materials accidents.  An operational response to a chemical weapons attack would fit into the 

25  An unclassified summary of PDD-62 is available at 
26. This office is directed by Richard Clarke, who has been given the new title of "National Coordinator for Security, 
Infrastructure Protection and Counter-Terrorism." 
27. Furthermore, as a member of the White House staff, the National Coordinator is not accountable to Congress.  
This is produced some frustration on Capital Hill, since no one official is unambiguously "in charge" of the 
government's domestic preparedness or counterterrorism programs.  In the late 1990s, Congress tended to define the 
Attorney General as the leading official responsible for the federal government's programs in this area.  In 1998, for 
instance, Congress required that the Attorney General prepare a "Five-Year Interagency Counter-Terrorism and 
Technology Crime Plan," which was submitted to Congress in December 1998.  The value of this report is not 
obvious, however, because the Department of Justice does not determine or even influence the budgets of other 
agencies, and because the Attorney General's plan does appear to be the same as the White House's plan. See Senate 
Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and State, The Judiciary, and Related 
Agencies,  Counterterrorism and Infrastructure Protection (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1999), 
pp. 29-31. 
28.  President Clinton was reportedly motivated, at least in part, by the novel Cobra Event by Richard Preston, which 
described a bioterrorism incident in New York City. See Judith Miller and William Broad, "Exercise Finds U.S. 
Unable to Handle Germ War Threat," New York Times, April 26, 1998, p. A1. This new initiative was announced 
during a speech by President Clinton at the United States Naval Academy Commencement on May 22, 1998. 
Available at 



                                                                                          The Problems of Preparedness 

familiar "lights and sirens" model, with the differences having mainly to do with the greater scale and 
toxicity of a chemical weapons incident.  Finally, the highly motivated professional leaders of the "first 
responder" community were influential in the early design of the federal domestic preparedness programs, 
especially the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici program and the assistance programs created by Congress in the 
Department of Justice.29 
A biological weapons attack would bear little, if any, resemblance to a chemical weapons attack, and 
would require an entirely different type of operational response.  The key response capabilities in a 
biological attack will be the medical care providers, who will be needed on a massive scale to treat 
infected populations, and the public-health sector, which may provide the first indication of an attack 
through its monitoring of death and illness patterns. Moreover, an act of biological terrorism would have 
no necessary temporal or spatial boundaries: the delayed onset of symptoms coupled with the mobility of 
citizens means that there will be no obvious "scene" of the attack, and the medical consequences of the 
attack may continue for an extended period of time. The nature of biological weapons attacks is not 
widely understood, however, because there is almost no historical experience with these weapons.  There 
is, in other words, no biological analogue to Tokyo.30 
Thus, the U.S. domestic preparedness program was not seriously engaged in improving the capabilities 
most needed for a biological terrorism response because of a lack of understanding, budgetary politics, 
and divided priorities within the executive branch.31  This changed in mid-1998, when White House 
intervention proved decisive.  Since then, there has been dramatic growth in the budget of the HHS 

29. Senate Committee on Governmental Reform, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Global Proliferation of 
Weapons of Mass Destruction (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1996). 
30. The only modern experience with a large-scale aerosolization of a biological weapon was in 1979 when an 
accident at a military facility released anthrax over the city of Sverdlovsk, Russia. See Matthew Meselson, et al., 
"The Sverdlovsk Anthrax Outbreak of 1979," in Joshua Lederberg, ed., Biological Weapons: Limiting the Threat 
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999), pp. 193-209. 
31. The Department of Health and Human Services did not initially attach high priority to preparing for biological 
terrorism.  The reason is that the United States ­ and, indeed, the world ­ faces many pressing health problems, 
virtually all of which are everyday realities rather than worrisome hypothetical scenarios.  These prevailing health 
problems place great demand on the HHS budget, which is considerably leaner than the budgets of many national 
security agencies.  In addition, the Congressional committees that determine the HHS budget did not take the 
initiative in defining biological weapons preparedness as a national security mission, and hence the responsibility of 
other committees.  However, once the Clinton administration embraced the threat of biological terrorism and sought 
substantial HHS funding for preparedness activities in late 1998, the HHS authorizing and appropriating committees 
were willing to meet these requests. 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

biological terrorism program, which is based in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.32    In 
fiscal 1999, HHS received a budget of $161 million to begin development of a pharmaceutical stockpile, 
to conduct research into new vaccines, and to provide assistance to state and local surveillance systems 
and laboratories.  This budget rose to $260 million in fiscal 2000.  Unlike the original Nunn-Lugar-
Domenici program and the Department of Justice's domestic preparedness program, the HHS program for 
biological terrorism preparedness began with a funding request from the executive branch rather than a 
Congressional earmark.33 
In sum, the U.S. domestic preparedness program is composed of multiple loosely coupled component 
programs.  The location, size, and character of these individual programs were not determined by an 
overarching national strategy.  Rather, the programs are the result of the highly fragmented, often chaotic 
policy-making and budget-setting process that is familiar to observers of contemporary American 
governance.  As discussed in greater detail below, the technical requirements of effective domestic 
preparedness essentially require specific capability-building programs to be distributed across multiple 
different agencies and levels of governments.  For this reason, and because each program has a distinct 
statutory basis, the overall domestic preparedness program can at best be only loosely coordinated, even 
by the White House.   This limited coordination has created certain problems and wasted some resources, 
but it is not that unusual a situation for a new national function as ambitious and novel as domestic 
preparedness for WMD terrorism.   
To say that the U.S. domestic preparedness programs did not emerge from an overarching strategy is not, 
however, to say that they have no common rationale.  This rationale is described in the next section. 


Three aspects of the U.S. domestic preparedness program require a somewhat deeper explanation to 
justify the rationale behind the program.  First, domestic preparedness focuses on the event that presents 
the highest consequences, but is the least likely variety of terrorism to occur.  In other words, domestic 
preparedness prepares us for WMD terrorism ­ a low probability, high consequence event ­ possibly at 
the expense of more likely threats.  Second, domestic preparedness is geared toward managing the 

32. In December 1998, the CDC established its Biological Preparedness and Readiness Program (BPRP).  Prior to 
this, CDC was only tangentially involved in domestic preparedness for biological terrorism, with no dedicated office 
or budget. 
33  President Clinton requested a supplemental appropriation to address the threat of bioterrorism in June 1998. Judith 
Miller, "Clinton Seeks Additional $300 Million to Fight Bioterrorism," New York Times, June 9, 1998, p. A16.  



                                                                                      The Problems of Preparedness 

consequences of a biological or chemical weapons attack.  This narrow approach to consequence 
management ignores other activities such as prevention or deterrence.  Third, domestic preparedness 
involves federal investments in capability enhancements at the state and local levels. 
The U.S. domestic preparedness program has been criticized for focusing on the highest consequence, 
lowest probability form of terrorism at the expense of less damaging, but more probable threats like 
conventional bombings and hoaxes.34  There are two basic reasons for the emphasis on WMD terrorism in 
the domestic preparedness program.  The first is that the deficiencies in existing federal, state, and local 
capabilities for dealing with more common, conventional forms of terrorism are small compared to the 
deficiencies in federal, state, and local WMD response capabilities.  As might be expected, the United 
States is generally best prepared for more probable, lower consequence forms of terrorism (such as small 
bombings, hijackings, and hostage-barricade situations), and least prepared for the less common, higher 
consequence forms of terrorism, such as mass-casualty attacks.  Second, compared to conventional 
terrorism, WMD terrorism is much more likely to be a national security threat.  This has to do with the 
extremely high potential consequences of WMD.  It also has to do with the fact that a domestic WMD 
attack might be carried out by a hostile state rather than a non-state actor.  All of America's major 
international adversaries possess some form of WMD capability, and the United States has national 
security interests in reducing its vulnerability to all forms of international aggression, deterrence, or 
coercion involving WMD.  National security is the unique domain of the federal government, so there is 
no reason to expect that state or local governments would take these interests into account. 
There are a limited number of practical options for reducing the threat of WMD terrorism that are not 
already U.S. government priorities.  For this reason, the domestic preparedness program focuses on 
managing the consequences of chemical and biological weapons.  Nuclear, biological, and chemical 
weapons are not easily acquired, and the U.S. government does what it can to make WMD acquisition as 
difficult as possible, such as regulating the transfer of hazardous materials from domestic culture 
collections, enhancing intelligence capabilities, and tightening import controls.  However, despite these 
efforts, weapons of mass destruction are unquestionably growing more accessible with the passage of 
time. Chemical and biological weapons are a particular problem since the materials and equipment 
needed to fabricate them have legitimate civilian applications and are increasingly obtainable.  As a free 
34. See for example, Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of 
Mass Destruction [The Gilmore Commission], First Annual Report to Congress, December 1999,; Jonathan Tucker and Amy Sands, "An Unlikely Threat," 
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, July/August 1999,; and  
Joseph Pilat, "Apocalypse Now-or Never?" Survival, Winter 1998-1999, pp. 171-175. 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

and open society, the United States is enormously vulnerable to all forms of terrorist violence, especially 
in its densely populated urban centers.  While the government can and does provide heightened security at 
a few particularly important buildings and installations, the vast majority of the country's physical plants 
have no significant security.  Valued freedoms ­ such as the freedom to move about and to congregate ­ 
make it impossible to avoid the large concentrations of civilians that are the most likely target of WMD 
terrorism.  Likewise, valued restrictions on government powers, particularly internal surveillance, 
severely limit the government's ability to prevent terrorist attacks, and there is no obvious way to improve 
current deterrence of WMD terrorism.  By process of elimination, therefore, a policy-maker interested in 
reducing the threat of WMD terrorism is left with trying to reduce the consequences of attack. 
Unlike virtually all other weapon types, biological and chemical weapons have physical effects that can 
be substantially mitigated by a prompt and appropriate operational response.  In the case of a chemical 
weapon, this response involves decontamination and medical treatment.  The effects of biological 
weapons can be treated medically, but a key variable in the efficacy of this treatment will be the 
promptness and accuracy of diagnosis, which means that biological preparedness also requires 
enhancements in epidemiological surveillance systems.35  The immediate physical effects of a nuclear 
weapon on a human being cannot be substantially mitigated; hence, the U.S. domestic preparedness 
program has not focused on managing the consequences of a nuclear incident.36  There is, however, a 
substantial opportunity to reduce the country's vulnerability to chemical and biological terrorism by 
developing the specific response capabilities needed to mitigate the weapons' physical effects.  The U.S. 
domestic preparedness program has sought to exploit this opportunity.    
The domestic preparedness program focuses on enhancing the operational capabilities of state and local 
agencies, a relatively unusual task for a federal program, especially a national security program.  The 
reasons are essentially scale, leveraging, and the tenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  A terrorist 
attack can occur in any place, at any time, without warning.  There is simply no way the federal 
government can maintain the necessary operational capabilities across the breadth of the United States, 
particularly for a category of incidents as uncommon as WMD terrorism.  This problem is especially 

35. See Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Biological and Chemical Terrorism: Strategic Plan for 
Preparedness and Response," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 21, 2000; and Chemical and Biological 
Arms Control Institute and Center for Strategic and International Studies, Contagion and Conflict: Health as a 
Global Security Challenge (Washington, DC: CSIS, 2000). 
36. A partial exception to this is the system of radiological emergency response plans that the United States has 
developed for the regions around its nuclear power plants. See Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) website, 



                                                                                         The Problems of Preparedness 

acute when damage-limiting opportunities are greatest at the early stages of the incident, as is often the 
case with chemical weapons. In addition, state and local agencies already possess many of the operational 
systems ­ such as police and fire departments, HAZMAT teams, emergency medical services, emergency  
management, and public health agencies ­ upon which the nation's current preparedness for terrorism and 
other disasters depends.  For reasons of efficiency and practicality, several important components of the 
U.S. domestic preparedness program seek to leverage these existing state and local resources.37   
Lastly, federalism, as practiced in the United States, gives the states extensive rights and responsibilities 
vis-à-vis the federal government for most specific activities that fall under the rubric of "consequence 
management."  An act of terrorism may simultaneously be many things: a national security threat, a 
diplomatic incident, a public health emergency, a local disaster, a criminal case, etc.  Responsibilities for 
dealing with these different aspects of a terrorist incident are distributed across the federal, state, and local 
agencies in a manner determined by American constitutional history and political experience.  Insofar as 
consequence management of WMD terrorism is conceived as a subset of all-hazard emergency 
management, the role of the federal government is essentially to assist and support state governments, 
which have primary responsibility of maintaining order and disaster relief within their borders. This basic 
division of labor is embodied in the legislative cornerstone of U.S. disaster management, the Stafford 


Although domestic preparedness is a relatively new program, it has already become clear that the 
domestic preparedness program is not at all a straightforward government initiative and faces multiple 
challenges.  The program has been extensively criticized by the General Accounting Office, for example, 
for redundancy, lack of a clear problem definition, and poor oversight and coordination.39  The GAO 

37. One of the unresolved issues in the U.S. domestic preparedness program is the extent to which it should be 
integrated into existing, all-hazard emergency management systems, or should be developed as a separate, parallel 
system.  As discussed below, the latter approach is bureaucratically simpler than the former but will probably result 
in capabilities that will be harder to sustain and that yield fewer benefits in preparing for other more common or 
naturally occurring emergencies. 
38. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.). 
39  See for example: General Accounting Office, Combating Terrorism: Spending on Governmentwide Programs 
Requires Better Management and Coordination, NSIAD-98-39, December 1997; General Accounting Office, 
Combating Terrorism: Opportunities To Improve Domestic Preparedness Program Focus and Efficiency, NSIAD-
99-3, November 12, 1998; General Accounting Office, Combating Terrorism: Issues to Be Resolved to Improve 
Counterterrorism Operations, NSIAD-99-135, May 13, 1999; General Accounting Office, Combating Terrorism: 
Need to Eliminate Duplicate Federal Weapons of Mass Destruction Training, NSIAD-00-64, March 21, 2000. 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

makes a common mistake, however, in assuming that the reason for the difficulties facing the domestic 
preparedness program is primarily the absence of sufficiently clear and rigorous analysis by the 
participating executive agencies.  In fact, the reasons have to do with the nature of the threat (a technically 
novel, high-consequence, low-probability attack against a vast and highly vulnerable country; the peculiar 
origins of the program (individual Congressional earmarks without benefit of a top-down strategic plan); 
and the structure of American governance (multiple institutions and layers of government sharing 
powers).  This combination of factors makes domestic preparedness not only an exceptionally difficult 
governmental function, but also an especially interesting one. 
The purpose of this section is to identify precisely the problems before the U.S. domestic preparedness 
program.  There are six: 
             1.           To define the desired end-state and a metric for measuring progress; 
             2.           To cope with the program's enormous technical and institutional complexity; 
             3.           To reduce the uncertainties of real-life response; 
             4.           To manage the legal dimensions of preparedness; 
             5.           To sustain the achievements of the program over time; and 
             6.           To leverage the program to fulfill multiple government priorities. 
A description of these challenges has a certain intrinsic value to the academic study of governance in 
general, but its real use is to help clarify practical problems for the purpose of finding viable solutions, 
and to allow other nations that may emulate the United States in pursuing domestic preparedness 
programs of their own to anticipate the problems that they will confront.  

1.           Defining the Desired End-State and a Metric for Measuring Progress 
The specific objectives of the U.S. domestic preparedness program, to the extent that it has them at all, 
have been determined by the bureaucratic requirement to execute a particular legislative mandate, rather 
than by any sort of broad national determination of just how well prepared the United States should be for 
terrorism.40  This is not surprising given that the program originated not from individual legislative 

40  For example, the requirement to train responders in the nation's 120 largest cities originated not in the Nunn-
Lugar-Domenici legislation, but in the now defunct Senior Interagency Coordination Group (SICG).  SICG was 
established to facilitate coordination among Federal agencies involved in providing domestic preparedness support 
to state and local governments. The number 120 was based on population and geographic criteria (two smaller cities 
were added because of their distance from Federal response assets). See Department of Defense, Domestic 
Preparedness Program in the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction, May 1997, pp. 2, 11-12; House 
Committee on National Security, Subcommittee on Military Research and Development, The Federal Response to 



                                                                                                                                  The Problems of Preparedness 

earmarks rather than from a strategic plan, which would clearly define the aims of the program, and lay 
out the means to achieve them.  The early policy debates over the domestic preparedness program were 
marked only by widespread agreement that the existing level of U.S. preparedness was too low and 
needed to be improved.  There was virtually no discussion of what level of preparedness the United States 
should strive toward, save the occasional warning that perfect preparedness ­ and hence invulnerability ­ 
was unobtainable.  For the purposes of starting the domestic preparedness program, this simple emphasis 
on beginning the process of improvement in preparedness was sufficient.   
This lack of broad but measurable objectives is unsustainable.  It deprives policy-makers of the 
information they need to make rational resource allocations, and renders program managers unable to 
measure genuine progress.  It also suggests endlessly escalating program expenditures, since there is no 
logical end point to a process whose only goal is to improve from current standing.   
To address this problem, the government should develop a new statistical index of preparedness, 
incorporating a range of different variables, such as quantitative measures of special equipment, training 
programs, and medicines, as well as professional subjective assessments of the quality of local response 
capabilities, infrastructure, plans, readiness, and performance in exercises. This index should go well 
beyond the current rudimentary milestones of program implementation ­ e.g., X amount of training and 
equipment provided to Y cities ­ and seek to capture and condense meaningful indicators of how well a 
particular city or region could actually respond to a serious chemical or biological weapons incident.  An 
index of this kind would allow the government to measure the preparedness of different parts of the 
country in a consistent and comparable way, providing a reasonable baseline against which to measure 
progress.41  It would also allow policy-makers to specify meaningfully an end-state toward which the 
program should strive.  And it would allow managers to evaluate the incremental impact of their 
An index of this kind would, of course, only be a statistical proxy for the intangible societal quality we 
call "preparedness."  The term has no agreed definition.  Nor can it.  Properly conceived, preparedness 
has meaning only in specific contexts ­ specifically, in the aftermath of an incident, for it is a measure of  

Domestic Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Status of the Department of Defense Support 
Program (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1998), pp. 31-32.  
41. If developed, an index of this kind would have to be classified so as to avoid calling attention to the country's 
most vulnerable cities. 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

how well one was prepared to deal with the incident that actually happened.  Thus the country's 
preparedness for terrorism can vary enormously with the organizations that become involved and with the 
nature of the attack, its location, the type of weapon used, and the amount of warning time. 
As a byproduct of establishing a desired end-state for the domestic preparedness program, the government 
will also implicitly establish the society's residual level of risk and vulnerability.  This is not unlike 
public health or safety regulations, in which the government simultaneously determines a level of risk to 
health that it is willing to tolerate.42  Conscious decisions to allow risk of harm are politically dangerous 
because of the possibility of extreme outcomes, which, although unlikely, do extensive and highly visible 
harm to a concentrated population.  Yet a studied decision of exactly this sort is essential for sound public 
management for the simple reason that risk abatement is costly. Reasonable limits must be established 
because society cannot invest endlessly in reducing the various risks it faces.  This is especially true when 
the measures needed to reduce a particular risk involve not only financial outlays but curtailed freedoms, 
as is the case with counterterrorism and domestic preparedness.  The tradeoffs for higher levels of 
protection against, and preparedness for, terrorism are not only an expense but also an inconvenience that 
may threaten or appear to threaten peace of mind, aesthetics, public symbolism, personal privacy, and 
freedom of movement.  This is an abstract idea for the nation as a whole, but it is readily apparent at 
specific facilities and events.  For example, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games made a 
conscious decision not to search bags at the entry points to Centennial Park, against the recommendation 
of the security services, because it believed that such a step would undermine the atmosphere it wished to 
create at this venue.  If it had decided differently, the small pipe bombe that killed two and injured over 
100 people on July 27, 1996 may well have been prevented.43 
Finally, the ultimate measure of success for a country's counterterrorism program ­ of which domestic 
preparedness is a subset ­ is the absence of a major terrorist incident.  But the lack of terrorist attacks 
does not mean that preparedness was perfect: it could mean that potential terrorists were deterred, 
preempted, or persuaded to pursue their aims with non-terroristic means.  Conversely, a major act of 
chemical or biological terrorism might overcome a wholly reasonable and well-implemented 
preparedness program and result in extensive casualties.  Ideally, then, the domestic preparedness 
42. Examples include Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessments of levels of harmful molecules in the air 
or drinking water, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards on workplace threats to 
employee health, and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)/ National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 
airplane safety regulations. 
43. John Buntin, "Security Preparations for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games," (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard 
University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, November 1999). 



                                                                                    The Problems of Preparedness 

program would then be judged by its ability to reduce damage to citizens, property, or the economy at 
large, but this is impossible until there is some reasonable baseline of past performance in similar 
consequence management situations. 

2.           Coping with Enormous Technical and Institutional Complexity 
When one examines the problem of domestic preparedness in detail, it quickly becomes apparent that an 
effective response involves a very wide range of technical requirements.  There is no generic template for 
an operational response to WMD terrorism,44 but the major categories of these requirements include the 
             *  Incident command and communications 
             *  Emergency medical treatment 
             *  Decontamination of individuals and facilities 
             *  Security and crowd control 
             *  Arrest and apprehension of perpetrators 
             *  Special weapons and tactics operations 
             *  Evidence preservation and criminal prosecution 
             *  Special weapons disablement and render-safe operations 
             *  Hazardous materials management 
             *  Infectious disease surveillance and control 
             *  Plume analysis 
             *  Mass medical care for victims and "walking well" 
             *  Public affairs 
             *  Mass transportation and logistics  
             *  Legal affairs 
Within these broad categories, the specifics of the incident will determine precisely what needs to be 
done.  For example, communications requirements will depend on the number of agencies responding and 
the communications gear they bring with them; required medical treatment and decontamination 
procedures will depend on the precise weapon used in the attack.  Even without getting into any of the  
44. The U.S. government defined two major phases of an operational response to a terrorist incident: "crisis 
management" and "consequence management."  These labels are inadequate for several reasons, the most important 
of which is that there is no clear temporal line between the two phases.  



Richard A. Falkenrath 

details, it is should be clear that a wide range of general-purpose and specialized capabilities will be 
required to manage a domestic terrorist attack involving a weapon of mass destruction, and especially to 
minimize its effects. 
The United States is endowed with many organizations ­ law enforcement agencies, the fire service, 
emergency medical teams, public health agencies, the military, private businesses, non-governmental 
organizations, etc. ­ which possess an abundance of different practical capabilities.  In a real incident of 
domestic WMD terrorism, these agencies will be called upon to contribute to the operational response 
according to their proximity, relevance, and jurisdiction.  The principal goal of the U.S. domestic 
preparedness program, therefore, is to enhance those operational capabilities that are both important to the 
task of responding to WMD terrorism and deficient in their current form.45  This presents a non-trivial 
analytic problem of understanding the relationship between genuine technical requirements and existing 
but deficient capabilities, but this problem is present in all mission-oriented government services, and is 
relatively familiar to the U.S. national security community. 
The most serious challenge to the implementation of the U.S. domestic preparedness program arises from 
the fact that even though the program originated and is funded at the federal level, the objectives of the 
program cannot be achieved solely by pursuing improvements at the federal level, much less within any 
one agency.  The nation's existing capabilities relevant to WMD response are distributed widely and 
unevenly throughout an extraordinarily complex latticework of : 
             *  functionally organized agencies;  
             *  levels of government (federal, state, county, and local); and 
             *  public, private, and non-governmental actors.   
These organizations have distinct interests, budgetary constraints, and legal authority.  They are, for the 
most part, not hierarchically organized and have overlapping (or even competing) areas of responsibility.  
In many cases, these agencies have no history of routine interaction, and sometimes have powerful 
institutional interests motivating against cooperation with one another or with a new priority imposed by 
the national security wing of the federal government.46   

45. See Richard A. Falkenrath, Robert D. Newman, and Bradley A. Thayer,  America's Achilles' Heel: Nuclear, 
Biological, and Chemical Terrorism and Covert Attack (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1998), pp. 261-336. 
46. For further discussion, see Arnold Howitt and Gregory Koblentz, "Organizational Capacity and Coordination: 
Obstacles and Opportunities in Preparing for Domestic Terrorism," Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness 
Discussion Paper, forthcoming. 



                                                                                   The Problems of Preparedness 

For the federal government to implement the domestic preparedness program, it must work with and 
through this profusion of domestic agencies.  This is a chaotic realm, one that is utterly alien to the rigid 
hierarchies and clean lines of authority so familiar and comforting to the U.S. national security 
community.  Thus a key challenge for the domestic preparedness program is for its overseers and 
managers to understand the unique interaction of technical and institutional factors that governs the 
program's implementation.  There is a tendency to avoid the institutional complexity of working with 
disparate state and local agencies by enacting improvements only in federal capabilities, or only through 
established channels with lower level agencies.  This temptation should be resisted.  To implement the 
domestic preparedness program effectively, the federal government should pay as much attention to the 
institutional distribution of existing capabilities as it does the technical requirements of response, and 
should focus its efforts on improving those capabilities that are most important to response and most 
deficient in their current form. 

3.           Reducing the Uncertainties of Response 
It is important to recognize that preparedness is not an end unto itself.  It is, rather, the available 
intermediate objective.  The real goal is to conduct an effective response if and when an act of WMD 
terrorism actually occurs.  With respect to contingency as uncommon and unfamiliar as WMD terrorism, 
there are substantial uncertainties about how prior preparations will translate into actual performance.  
The U.S. domestic preparedness program should seek to reduce these uncertainties to their achievable 
Three broad types of uncertainty seem to be particularly serious obstacles to the domestic preparedness 
program, though one can be only modestly confident about the determinants of effective response given 
the minimal real-world experience with WMD terrorism. The first is on weapons performance. Compared 
to conventional explosives, very few people have a deep understanding of weapons of mass destruction ­ 
especially biological weapons, which 144 nations have renounced through their ratification of the 1972 
Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.  Moreover, the effects of biological weapons and, to a lesser 
extent, chemical weapons can be highly unpredictable as they are often sensitive to changes in the 
environment, the method of dissemination, and the physical and immunological protection of the victim.47  
A deeper understanding of the technical characteristics of these weapons has broad national security 
significance, and should be pursued with support of the domestic preparedness program and with 
emphasis on the performance of improvised weapons against unprotected civilians in urban areas. 
47 See for example, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, The Problem of Chemical and Biological 
Warfare, Volume II, CB Weapons Today (New York: Humanities Press, 1973). 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

A second type of uncertainty in domestic response operations is warning time. Warning time is a key 
determinant of the readiness and preparation that response agencies are able to achieve before an incident 
occurs.  The government must prepare for the full range of contingencies ­ from a planned high-risk 
event, like the Olympic Games, to a no-notice attack, like the Oklahoma City bombing ­ but should 
increase its efforts to acquire early warning of potential WMD terrorist threats and thus reduce the 
likelihood of the most demanding no-notice scenarios.  This is of course an extremely challenging task, 
but it is also vitally important.  The U.S. government currently relies on investigations and intelligence 
gathering against groups known or believed to present a terrorist threat, which it does systematically and 
often quite effectively.  What the U.S. government does not do systematically, however, is broad-based 
sampling to identify potential threat groups ­ particularly domestic groups ­ that have not already 
presented themselves.  One possible technique for this (described elsewhere) would be to establish a 
system for gathering and processing data on the sale of materials and equipment that could be used to 
fabricate an improvised weapon of mass destruction.48 
The third and probably most significant form of uncertainty in an operational response to a real incident 
of WMD terrorism is the attack's psychological impact.  We have essentially no basis on which to predict 
how the general public would react to chemical or biological attack within their midst.   We do not know 
if people will remain calm and do as instructed by the proper authorities, or if they will panic and behave 
irrationally.49  This concern also applies to the personnel involved in the response operations, many of 
whom will be civilians with no special training in chemical or biological defense.  It is, however, self-
evident that the behavior of the public will be a critical determinant of response effectiveness in a major 
incident of chemical or biological terrorism.  This gives the media great importance in a response, but the 
behavior of the many different media outlets that would be attracted to a terrorist act is unpredictable.   
Moreover, given the uncertainty about chemical and biological weapons performance noted above, in the 
midst of an incident the authorities may not in fact know what they should tell the public to do to mitigate 
the overall severity of the event.50  If perceived by the public, this uncertainty may well exacerbate the  

48. See Richard A. Falkenrath, Philip B. Heymann, and Matthew S. Meselson, "Investigating CBW Acquisition," 
Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness Discussion Paper, forthcoming.  
49. A terrorist event may also cause unexpected departures from normal activities that could hamper response 
activities, such as cessation of airline service. 
50. For instance, if the authorities cannot define the boundaries of the weapon's effects (usually assumed to be a 
plume), or do not correctly understand the physical properties of the weapon's agent, then they will not be able to 
tell the public whether they should stay at home or flee. 



                                                                                       The Problems of Preparedness 

public's reactions.  The domestic preparedness program should attach high priority to developing some 
means of analyzing, modeling, and predicting the reactions of the public in a situation of WMD terrorism, 
and to integrating this improved understanding into response plans. 
An important technique for reducing the uncertainties of response is to conduct exercises and simulations, 
which are already a key part of the domestic preparedness program.  The federal government has 
sponsored many counterterrorism and consequence management exercises since 1995, and they are 
unambiguously valuable.  The exercises have revealed critically deficient capabilities, inadequate 
response plans, and serious inter-governmental conflicts that would emerge in a real situation.  But 
exercises are not a panacea to the uncertainties of response.  Even the most ambitious counterterrorism 
exercise ever staged ­ the TOPOFF Exercise held in May 2000, which simulated a chemical attack in 
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a biological attack in Denver, and a radiological attack in Prince George's 
County, Maryland and the District of Columbia ­ cannot replicate the confusion, fear and possible panic 
that an incident of this magnitude would unleash across the nation.51  The reason is that injecting greater 
realism into exercises poses real public safety risks and also would cause unreasonable interruptions of 
normal life.  Thus, although exercises and simulations should remain an integral part of the domestic 
preparedness program, their significance should not be over-estimated. 

4.           Managing the Legal Dimensions of Preparedness 
Preparedness is not simply a function of a nation's operational response capabilities.  In democracies, the 
legal authority to use these operational capabilities in a manner that is both effective and respectful of a 
society's values is also an element of preparedness.52  To date, the U.S. domestic preparedness program 
has focused almost exclusively on enhancing the capability aspect of the problem.  The only legal aspect 
of preparedness that has received any sustained attention has been the role of the military in domestic law 
enforcement, which is proscribed by the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.53  Despite the frequency with 
which the issue of Posse Comitatus has been raised, however, it is not a particularly significant legal issue 
for the domestic preparedness program because its restrictions are actually quite narrow, and because 

51. For details about TOPOFF, see the website of the Office of State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support which 
co-sponsored the exercise:  
52. I am indebted to Philip Heymann for this point. 
53. Posse Comitatus Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 1385. For more details, see Charles Doyle, The Posse Comitatus Act & 
Related Matters: The Use of the Military to Execute Civilian Law, Congressional Research Service, September 2, 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

even these restrictions may be waived in emergency if the Attorney General lodges a formal request with 
the Secretary of Defense for an expanded military role in support of civilian agencies.54   
The more important legal problems facing the domestic preparedness program concern the powers that 
the government may want to exercise while managing an on-going domestic incident of WMD terrorism.  
What these legal powers will be is not precisely known because the country has so little real experience 
with WMD terrorism, and because the question has not yet been carefully examined by the government or 
a qualified non-governmental organization.  It is possible, however, to generate a rough list of the legal 
authorities that response agencies will want to have through the use of hypothetical simulations and 
scenarios.  One such heuristic exercise conducted in December 1999 yielded a remarkably long list of 
powers that responding agencies might desire in management of a major domestic biological weapons 
attack. This list included: 

             *  The authority to impose a state of emergency, including curfew; 
             *  The authority to compel people to remain in one location or move to another, including 
                   temporary detention; 
             *  The authority to use the military for domestic law enforcement, population control, and mass 
             *  The authority to seize community or private property, such as hospitals, utilities, medicines, 
                   vehicles, or transit centers, or to compel the production of certain goods; 
             *  The authority to compel individuals to undertake decontamination procedures, take medicines, 
                   or be quarantined; 
             *  The authority to censor and control the media; 
             *  The authority to liberalize standards for conducting searches and seizures; 
             *  The authority to dispose of deceased individuals; 
             *  The authority to compel civilian public servants to work; 
             *  The authority to waive regulatory requirements on the use of certain pharmaceuticals. 

Although some of these authorities are already available to government agencies, they are confusingly 
arrayed across literally hundreds of often archaic federal and state laws.55  It is also readily apparent that 
many of these authorities, even those contained in existing legislation, contradict basic and cherished 
principles of American civic life: the freedom of speech and association; the right to privacy; the 

54. Emergency Situations Involving Chemical or Biological Weapons of Mass Destruction., 10 U.S.C., Section 382.  
55. E.g., quarantine laws date to 19th century. See Laura K. Donohue and Juliette N. Kayyem, "Federalism and the 
Battle over Counter-Terrorist Law: State Sovereignty, Criminal Law Enforcement, and National Security," 
Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness Discussion Paper, forthcoming. 



                                                                                     The Problems of Preparedness 

prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures; the freedom of movement; the protections against 
detention without criminal basis; the prohibition on government takings without just compensation; and 
the federalist principle of state's rights.  No reasonable person wishes to sacrifice any of these principles, 
but it may be necessary to do so in a real incident if lives are to be saved. 
The importance of the legal dimension of domestic preparedness arises from the dilemma this situation 
creates for the government officials in charge of response operations.  In a real incident of domestic 
WMD terrorism, these individuals may be forced to choose between limiting their actions to those that are 
unambiguously authorized or going beyond their explicit authority with additional actions that they regard 
as necessary for minimizing casualties.  In the former case, the risk is that more innocent people will 
suffer harm that could have been prevented.  In the later case, the risks are that great violence will be done 
to basic principles held dear by society as a whole, and that the responsible government officials will be 
censured by the public, their superiors, or the courts for taking actions that they regarded at the time as in 
the public interest.  Managing the legal dimension of domestic preparedness involves reconciling these 
risks in advance and in a manner that maximizes the government's ability to mitigate the physical effects 
of a real act of WMD terrorism. 
It is impossible to predict just how individual government decisions makers would react if confronted 
with this choice in a real situation.  However, since the U.S. government regards the threat of domestic 
WMD terrorism as sufficiently serious to justify major capabilities enhancements, it seems clear that the 
government should also be working to eliminate the uncertainty in how these capabilities should be used 
in the event of a real attack.  In other words, the country should "stockpile authority" as well as capability. 
This effort should proceed in several steps as part of the domestic preparedness program.  First, the U.S. 
government should undertake a systematic analysis of government actions that might be desired in 
resolving or managing the consequences of a real domestic incident of WMD terrorism.  Second, the 
government should determine whether the authority to take these actions is currently available, and if so 
where this authority is located (i.e., in federal law or in the law of specific states) and under what 
condition it may be exercised.  These authorities and their triggering conditions should then be made 
consistent across the country through new legislation focused on the exigencies of domestic preparedness.  
This new legislation should specify not only the authorities that may be exercised in a real crisis and their 
triggering conditions, but also the procedure by which these authorities may be triggered, their maximum 
duration, and the procedure by which these authorities available in a major crisis will be rescinded after 
the crisis has ended. 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

5. Sustaining 
Domestic preparedness for WMD terrorism began to receive strong support from the federal government 
in the mid-1990s, but there is a real risk that the improvements put in place during this period will not be 
sustained into the future.  The equipment purchased with federal dollars may grow obsolete and 
inoperable.  The training provided with federal support may be forgotten, lost to turnover, or not offered 
to successive classes of public servants.  The plans developed in federally funded exercises may gradually 
grow outdated and forgotten.  If the capability enhancements of the domestic preparedness program are 
allowed to deteriorate in any of these ways, then the program will be looked back on as a great 
squandering of federal resources, even as the country sinks back to lower levels of readiness for WMD 
While the federal government has been willing to pay for an initial set of improvements in the specialized 
training and equipment available to state and local agencies, it is not at all certain that the federal 
domestic preparedness budget will evolve into an on-going support mechanism for the operation and 
maintenance of these new capabilities. At some point, the federal decision-makers may cease to perceive 
a major threat from WMD terrorism, or may choose to focus their resources solely on developing federal 
capabilities, or may regard the federal responsibility to provide domestic preparedness assistance to state 
and local agencies as fulfilled.  If so, then it will be up to the state and local governments to devote the 
necessary budgetary resources to sustain the heightened capabilities that they acquired through federal 
largess. Since state and local public agencies operate on tight budgets and have extensive everyday 
responsibilities, it is not certain that they will accept on-going responsibility for a set of specialized 
capabilities that are of much greater interest to the federal government than to their tax-paying  
constituents.56  Domestic preparedness is essentially an expense stream without an equivalent revenue 
stream, making it doubtful that state and local governments will be willing to bear the costs associated 
with it over the long term.57   
Nor is the problem strictly financial.  It also has to do with the propensity of individuals and institutions 
to neglect capabilities that they use infrequently or that are peripheral to their core mission.  For example, 
a complicated piece of equipment that can detect the presence of a chemical or biological agent, but 
56. This behavior is rational because (a) state and local governments see the federal government as responsible for 
national security; and (b) the odds of an attack with the geographic domain of any particular state or local are a small 
fraction of the odds of an attack within the vast geographic domain of the federal government. 
57. For a discussion of this dynamic, see Arnold Howitt and Gregory Koblentz, "Organizational Capacity and 
Coordination: Obstacles and Opportunities in Preparing for Domestic Terrorism," Executive Session on Domestic 
Preparedness Discussion Paper, forthcoming. 



                                                                                    The Problems of Preparedness 

nothing else, is unlikely to be used very often by a local firefighter or police officer, and is thus unlikely 
to be maintained in good working order.  Similarly, a busy public servant like a police officer, firefighter, 
emergency medical technician, or public health official is probably less likely to take refresher training 
courses in a skill that they doubt they will ever have to use.  The vast majority of cities and regions in 
America will never experience WMD terrorism of any sort, and public safety officials understand this. 
Sustaining the heightened preparedness sought by the federal government is, therefore, a significant 
A strategy for sustaining preparedness should involve three basic components.  First, the federal 
government should seek to work out an arrangement with state and local governments ensuring that the 
initial capability enhancements provided by the federal government will be sustained into the future.  This 
should involve some explicit compact, or bargain, perhaps embodied in legislation, among the federal 
government and state and local governments on their respective roles and responsibilities for building and 
maintaining preparedness.  Second, and as part of this compact, the federal government should assume 
partial but on-going responsibility for funding the operations and maintenance of domestic preparedness 
training, equipment, and procedures in state and local agencies.  This is unlikely to be met with great 
enthusiasm in Washington, but it is unrealistic to expect state and local governments to provide the 
necessary levels of support. 
Third, and perhaps most importantly, the federal government should emphasize "dual-use" forms of 
assistance.  That is, the federal domestic preparedness program should provide strongest support for forms 
of technical assistance that simultaneously improve the state and local agencies' ability to deal with 
WMD terrorism as well as their everyday responsibilities.  The federal government should resist the 
temptation to create special systems for terrorism because of its extreme rarity, and should instead 
integrate counterterrorism and preparedness programs into the existing all-hazard systems for emergency 
management and disaster response. The resources needed to reduce casualties and damage from weapons 
of mass destruction should be housed in agencies or organizations that have more commonplace uses for 
those skills or technologies, thereby linking terrorist preparedness to everyday operations.  Resources 
(equipment, manpower, training, coordination) to handle a chemical weapon attack would be maintained  
by a hazardous materials unit, and the training to identify a biological attack would reside with existing 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

hospitals and public health officials.  This emphasis on dual-use assistance can help ensure that new 
capabilities created by the domestic preparedness program are not lost over time.58 

6.           Leveraging Domestic Preparedness to Fulfill Multiple Government Priorities 
It is entirely possible that the new and improved capabilities supported by the domestic preparedness 
program will never be used in a real incident of WMD terrorism.  This should of course be regarded as a 
success, not a failure, since the most important priority of U.S. counterterrorism policy is to prevent 
attacks of this kind in the first place.  The federal government recognizes the very low probability of an 
act of WMD terrorism.  Thus, it deliberately links improvements to the domestic preparedness program to 
other government priorities.  There should, in other words, be a concerted effort to make domestic 
preparedness a "no regrets" policy in which improvements to the program are also improvements to the 
overall security structure regardless of whether or not WMD is used against the United States. 
There are four government priorities that can benefit from an appropriately managed domestic 
preparedness program.  The first is the public health sector, particularly the systems for dealing with 
infectious disease.  The United States has allowed its basic public health infrastructure to deteriorate over 
the last several decades.  U.S. systems for identifying and controlling outbreaks of infectious disease are a 
particular weakness, often lacking even rudimentary computer and telecommunications capabilities.  The 
federal initiative to prepare the country for the threat of biological terrorism presents a significant 
opportunity to rebuild and modernize the existing systems for dealing with the far more common and 
destructive threat of naturally occurring infectious disease. 
Local emergency management is another area that can benefit from domestic preparedness leveraging.  
The process of working with the federal government to conduct counterterrorism exercises and to develop 
existing or new response capabilities has drawn attention to a number of inter-governmental problems in 
major metropolitan areas, and has provided some impetus to resolve these problems.  For instance, 
through the domestic preparedness program, more people have become aware of the importance of 
adhering to a common command and control system in major, multi-jurisdictional operations.  The 
accepted standard for this is the Incident Command System (ICS), which is already in fairly wide use but 

58 . The difficulty in this approach is that WMD preparedness is in some ways fundamentally different than the 
everyday activities it is to be paired with, which presents the possibility than such an attack would not be handled in 
the emergency manner required.  For a more detailed discussion of the possibilities and difficulties with 
complementarity, see Arnold Howitt and Gregory Koblentz, "Organizational Capacity and Coordination: Obstacles 
and Opportunities in Preparing for Domestic Terrorism," Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness Discussion 
Paper, forthcoming. 



                                                                                       The Problems of Preparedness 

is receiving further support from the domestic preparedness program.59  Likewise, most regions already 
have mutual aid agreements (which allow public safety agencies, usually fire departments, to respond 
across jurisdictional lines), but the domestic preparedness program can play a role in encouraging local 
governments that do not have such agreements to sign them.  And finally, the domestic preparedness 
program, and especially the exercises it conducts, has drawn attention to the fact that response agencies 
often have incompatible communications systems, which can be a serious problem in large-scale 
operations.60  This problem became more visible as a result of the domestic preparedness program, and in 
response the Department of Justice has developed and fielded a new system for integrating the two-way 
communications of multiple agencies that otherwise would not be able to talk to one another.  Practical 
improvements of this sort, which have value across the full range of major emergencies a city might face, 
should continue to receive strong support from the domestic preparedness program. 
Third, some aspects of the domestic preparedness program may be useful in the conduct of military 
operations abroad.  The military clearly has a role to play in major domestic response operations to WMD 
terrorism, and is in the process of developing its own specialized capabilities for managing chemical and 
biological incidents.  These capabilities are obviously relevant to the military's core mission of war 
fighting, since virtually all of the states against which the U.S. military might be called upon to fight also 
possess chemical and/or biological weapons.  Thus, as the Department of Defense defines and develops 
its contribution of U.S. domestic preparedness, it should do so with an eye toward capabilities that are 
sufficiently robust and numerous to also be used in foreign military operations. 
Finally, many of the capabilities developed as part of the U.S. domestic preparedness program can and 
should be integrated into U.S. plans for providing emergency assistance to foreign governments during 
major crises and disasters.61  The United States is the only country in the world that is making a serious, 
sustained effort to prepare for domestic incidents of WMD terrorism, especially those involving chemical 
or biological weapons.  In the event of a major chemical or biological weapons attack somewhere in the 
world, the U.S. government will feel strong pressure to offer emergency assistance, especially if the 
59. For a description of ICS, see Hank Christen and Paul Maniscalco, The EMS Incident Management System (Upper 
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1998). 
60. The lack of interoperable communications systems caused severe difficulties for law enforcement and emergency 
medical teams responding to the shootings at Columbine High School in April 1999. See Jefferson County Sheriff's 
Office, Report on the Columbine High School Shootings, April 20, 1999, CD-ROM. 
61. The Department of State is the lead federal agency for responding to terrorist incidents outside of the United 
States.  In the event of such an incident, an interagency Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) would be 
deployed to manage the crisis. See an unclassified summary of PDD-39 available at 



Richard A. Falkenrath 

attack is against an American friend or ally. Moreover, the U.S. national security community is likely to 
want to be fully involved in the response to, and investigation of, the foreign attack because it is likely to 
assume that a chemical or biological threat to one state could easily become a threat to America.  The 
agencies involved in the domestic preparedness program should, therefore, accept that the special 
capabilities they are developing ­ the trained personnel, special equipment, and stockpiles of medicine ­ 
might very well be sent abroad as part of the U.S. assistance, and should plan in advance accordingly. 


For better or worse, the United States has embarked on a process of preparing itself for WMD terrorism at 
home.  It will be a long and disorderly process, and it is essentially a no-win proposition.  Either there will 
be no attack, and the program will seem increasingly nonsensical; or there will be an attack, and the value 
of the program will be tested amidst the suffering and terror of innocent people. If there is no attack, 
critics of the program will call it wasteful.  If there is an attack, these critics will fall instantly silent, but 
others will rise up and argue that the program itself ­ and especially the publicity surrounding it ­ is to 
blame for giving terrible new ideas to terrorists everywhere.  Domestic preparedness emerges from the 
dismal politics of very bad things, more closely approximating a societal insurance policy than any of the 
familiar practices of governance.   
Because of the idiosyncratic legislative origins of the different components of the domestic preparedness 
program, the implementation of each program element began immediately and independently of the other 
program elements.  Thus, the already complex process of building domestic preparedness has been vastly 
complicated by the program's institutional and legal entrenchment, which has given particular 
organizations and individuals new interests that they are now motivated to defend.  Left alone, each 
program element will likely make certain discrete improvements in America's preparedness for WMD 
terrorism.  But the lack of coordination at the federal level will squander resources, perplex the interface 
with state and local agencies, and ensure that the whole of America's preparedness remains well less than 
the sum of its parts.  
The opportunity for immaculate policy design has of course closed with the passage of time.  Still, it is 
possible to improve efficiency and achieve meaningful forms of success in the domestic preparedness 
program by concentrating on the key public management challenges facing the program.  These 
challenges are: (1) to define the desired end-state and a metric for measuring progress; (2) to reduce the  



                                                                                   The Problems of Preparedness 

uncertainties of real-life response; (3) to cope with the program's enormous technical and institutional 
complexity; (4) to manage the legal dimensions of preparedness; (5) to sustain the achievements of the 
program over time; and (6) to leverage the program to meet other federal, state, and local priorities. 




                              JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT 
                                          HARVARD UNIVERSITY 
The John F. Kennedy School of Government and the U.S. Department of Justice have created the 
Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness to focus on understanding and improving U.S. preparedness 
for domestic terrorism.  The Executive Session is a joint project of the Kennedy School's Belfer Center 
for Science and International Affairs and Taubman Center for State and Local Government. 
The Executive Session convenes a multi-disciplinary task force of leading practitioners from state and 
local agencies, senior officials from federal agencies, and academic specialists from Harvard University. 
The members bring to the Executive Session extensive policy expertise and operational experience in a 
wide range of fields - emergency management, law enforcement, national security, law, fire protection, 
the National Guard, public health, emergency medicine, and elected office - that play important roles in 
an effective domestic preparedness program. The project combines faculty research, analysis of current 
policy issues, field investigations, and case studies of past terrorist incidents and analogous emergency 
situations.  The Executive Session is expected to meet six times over its three-year term.  
Through its research, publications, and the professional activities of its members, the Executive Session 
intends to become a major resource for federal, state, and local government officials, congressional 
committees, and others interested in preparation for a coordinated response to acts of domestic terrorism.   

      For more information on the Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness, please contact: 
           Rebecca Storo, Project Coordinator, Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness 
                       John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University 
                            79 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 
                              Phone: (617) 495-1410, Fax: (617) 496-7024 




                             JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT 
                                         HARVARD UNIVERSITY 
BCSIA is a vibrant and productive research community at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of 
Government.  Emphasizing the role of science and technology in the analysis of international affairs and 
in the shaping of foreign policy, it is the axis of work on international relations at Harvard University's 
John F. Kennedy School of Government.  BCSIA has three fundamental issues: to anticipate emerging 
international problems, to identify practical solutions, and to galvanize policy-makers into action.  These 
goals animate the work of all the Center's major programs. 
The Center's Director is Graham Allison, former Dean of the Kennedy School.  Stephen Nicoloro is 
Director of Finance and Operations. 
BCSIA's International Security Program (ISP) is the home of the Center's core concern with security 
issues.  It is directed by Steven E. Miller, who is also Editor-in-Chief of the journal, International 
The  Strengthening Democratic Institutions (SDI) project works to catalyze international support for 
political and economic transformation in the former Soviet Union.  SDI's Director is Graham Allison. 
The Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) program emphasizes public policy issues in which 
understanding of science, technology and systems of innovation is crucial.  John Holdren, the STPP 
Director, is an expert in plasma physics, fusion energy technology, energy and resource options, global 
environmental problems, impacts of population growth, and international security and arms control.  
The Environment and Natural Resources Program (ENRP) is the locus of interdisciplinary research on 
environmental policy issues.  It is directed by Henry Lee, expert in energy and environment.  Robert 
Stavins, expert in economics and environmental and resource policy issues, serves as ENRP's faculty 
The heart of the Center is its resident research staff:  scholars and public policy practitioners, Kennedy 
School faculty members, and a multi-national and inter-disciplinary group of some two dozen pre-
doctoral and post-doctoral research fellows.  Their work is enriched by frequent seminars, workshops, 
conferences, speeches by international leaders and experts, and discussions with their colleagues from 
other Boston-area universities and research institutions and the Center's Harvard faculty affiliates.  
Alumni include many past and current government policy-makers.  
The Center has an active publication program including the quarterly journal International Security, book 
and monograph series, and Discussion Papers.  Members of the research staff also contribute frequently to 
other leading publications, advise the government, participate in special commissions, brief journalists, 
and share research results with both specialists and the public in a wide variety of ways. 




                                                  RECENT DISCUSSION PAPERS 
                    For a complete listing of BCSIA Publications, please visit 
2000-31               Falkenrath, Richard.  "Analytic Models and Policy Prescription: Understanding Recent Innovation 
                      in U.S. Counterterrorism." 
 2000-30              Merari, Ariel.  "Israel's Preparedness for High Consequence Terrorism." 
 2000-29              Kohnen, Anne.  "Responding to the Threat of Agroterrorism: Specific Recommendations for the 
                      United States Department of Agriculture." 
 2000-28              Falkenrath, Richard.  "The Problems of Preparedness: Challenges Facing the U.S. Domestic 
                      Preparedness Program." 
 2000-25                                Jaffe, Adam B., Richard G. Newell, and Robert N. Stavins.  "Technological Change and 
                      The Environment." 
 2000-24              Gupta, Aarti.  "Governing Biosafety in India:  The Relevance of The Cartagena Protocol." 
2000-23                                      Eckley,  Noelle.    "From  Regional  to  Global  Assessment:    Learning  from  Persistent  Organic 
2000-22              Keykhah, Modjeh.  "Global Hazards and Catastrophic Risk:  Assessments, Practitioners and 
                      Decision Making in Reinsurance." 
2000-21                Ogunseitan, Oladele. "Framing Vulnerability:  Global Environmental Assessments and the     
                      African Burden of Disease." 
2000-20                Betsill, Michele M. "Localizing Global Climate Change:  Controlling Greenhouse Gas  
                      Emissions in U.S. Cities." 
2000-19                Patt, Anthony.  "Communicating Probabilistic Forecasts to Decision Makers:  A Case Study 
                      Of Zimbabwe." 
 2000-18       Lund, David C.  "Regional Abrupt Climate Change Assessment in the U.S.:  Comparing the  
                      Colorado and Columbia River Basins." 
 2000-17              Biermann, Frank.  "Science as Power in International Environmental Negotiations:  Global 
                      Environmental Assessments Between North and South." 
 2000-16       Krueger, Jonathan.  "Information in International Environmental Governance:  The Prior 
                      Informed Consent Procedure for Trade in Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides." 
2000-15               Stavins, Robert N.  "Economic Analysis of Global Climate Change Policy:  A Primer." 
 2000-14              Weeks, Jennifer.  "Advice ­ and Consent?  The Department of Energy's Site-Specific Advisory 
 2000-13              Yereskovsky, Alexander.  "The Global Security Environment and U.S.-Russian Strategic Relations 
                      in the 21st Century:  Partners or Rivals?"   

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) Discussion Papers, established in 1991, will be issued on an 
irregular basis with three programmatic subseries:  International Security; Science, Technology, and Public Policy; and 
Environment and Natural Resources.  Inquiries and orders may be directed to:  Belfer Center for Science and International 
Affairs, Publications, Harvard University, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138. 


                                         RECENT DISCUSSION PAPERS 
                For a complete listing of BCSIA Publications, please visit 
  2000-12  Clark, William et. Al.  "Assessing Vulnerability to Global Environmental Risk." 
 2000-11          Foster, Charles, H.W. and William B. Meyer, "The Harvard Environmental Regionalism Project." 
 2000-10          Cash, David.  "`In Order to Aid in Diffusing Useful and Practical Information':  Cross-scale 
                  Boundary Organizations and Agricultural Extension." 
 2000-09          Foster, Charles, H.W. et al., "Colloquium on Environmental Regionalism." 
 2000-08       Lee, Henry and Shashi Kant Verma,  "Coal or Gas:  The Cost of Cleaner Power in the Midwest." 
 2000-07              Fischer, Markus, "The Liberal Peace:  Ethical, Historical and Philosophical Aspects." 
 2000-06          Cash, David, "Distributed Assessment Systems:  An Emerging Paradigm of Research, Assessment 
                  and Decision-making for Environmental Change." 
 2000-05          Donohue, Laura K., "Civil Liberties, Terrorism, and Liberal Democracy:  Lessons from the United 
 2000-04          Golub, Alexander, "Russian Forests for Climate Change Mitigation:  An Economic Analysis." 
 2000-03          Coglianese, Cary, "Policy Implications of Environmental Management Systems." 
 2000-02          Meyer, William B. and  Charles H.W. Foster, "New Deal Regionalism:  A Critical Review." 
 2000-01          Newell, Richard and Robert Stavins, "Abatement-Cost Heterogeneity and Anticipated Savings from 
                  Market-Based Environmental Policies."  
 R-99-01          Rapporteur's Report.  "Workshop on Research and Policy Directions for Carbon Management." 
 99-20            Rufin, Carlos, "Institutional Change in the Electricity Industry:  A Comparison of Four Latin 
                  American Cases." 
 99-19            Rothenberg, Sandra and David Levy, "Corporate Responses to Climate Change:  The Institutional 
                  Dynamics of the Automobile Industry and Climate Change." 
 99-18            Stavins, Robert, "Experience with Market-Based Environmental Policy Instruments." 
 99-17            Jaffe, Adam,  Richard Newell and Robert Stavins, "Energy-Efficient Technologies and Climate 
                  Change Policies:  Issues and Evidence."   
 99-14            Jung, Wolfgang.  "Expert Advice in Global Environmental Decision Making:  How Close Should 
                  Science and Policy Get?" 
 99-13            Levy, David L. and Sandra Rothenberg, "Corporate Strategy and Climate Change: Heterogeneity 
                  and Change in the Global Automobile Industry." 
 99-12            Biermann, Frank, "Big Science, Small Impacts -- in the South?  The Influence of International 
                  Environmental Information Institutions on Policy-Making in India." 

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) Discussion Papers, established in 1991, will be issued on an 
irregular basis with three programmatic subseries:  International Security; Science, Technology, and Public Policy; and 
Environment and Natural Resources.  Inquiries and orders may be directed to:  Belfer Center for Science and International 
Affairs, Publications, Harvard University, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138. 


                                     JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT 
                                                HARVARD UNIVERSITY 
The Taubman Center for State and Local Government  focuses on public policy and management in the U.S. federal 
system. Through research, participation in the Kennedy School's graduate training and executive education 
programs, sponsorship of conferences and workshops, and interaction with policy makers and public managers, the 
Center's affiliated faculty and researchers contribute to public deliberations about key domestic policy issues and the 
process of governance. While the Center has a particular concern with state and local institutions, it is broadly 
interested in domestic policy and intergovernmental relations, including the role of the federal government. 

The Center's research program deals with a range of specific policy areas, including urban development and land 
use, transportation, environmental protection, education, labor- management relations and public finance. The 
Center is also concerned with issues of governance, political and institutional leadership, innovation, and 
applications of information and telecommunications technology to public management problems.  The Center has 
also established an initiative to assist all levels of government in preparing for the threat of domestic terrorism. 

The Center makes its research and curriculum materials widely available through various publications, including 
books, research monographs, working papers, and case studies.  In addition, the Taubman Center sponsors several 
special programs:  

The Program on Innovations in American Government, a joint undertaking by the Ford Foundation and Harvard 
University, seeks to identify creative approaches to difficult public problems. In an annual national competition, the 
Innovations program awards grants of $100,000 to 15 innovative federal, state, and local government programs 
selected from among more than 1,500 applicants. The program also conducts research and develops teaching case 
studies on the process of innovation. 

The Program on Education Policy and Governance, a joint initiative of the Taubman Center and Harvard's Center 
for American Political Studies, brings together experts on elementary and secondary education with specialists in 
governance and public management to examine strategies of educational reform and evaluate important educational 

The Saguaro Seminar for Civic Engagement in America is dedicated to building new civil institutions and restoring 
our stock of civic capital.   

The Program on Strategic Computing and Telecommunications in the Public Sector carries out research and 
organizes conferences on how information technology can be applied to government problems -- not merely to 
enhance efficiency in routine tasks but to produce more basic organizational changes and improve the nature and 
quality of services to citizens. 

The Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness brings together senior government officials and academic experts 
to examine how federal, state, and local agencies can best prepare for terrorist attacks within U.S. borders. 

The Program on Labor-Management Relations links union leaders, senior managers and faculty specialists in 
identifying promising new approaches to labor management. 

The Internet and Conservation Project, an initiative of the Taubman Center with additional support from the 
Kennedy School's Environment and Natural Resources Program, is a research and education initiative.  The Project 
focuses on the constructive and disruptive impacts of new networks on the landscape and biodiversity, as well as on 
the conservation community.



                                           RECENT WORKING PAPERS 
                    A complete publications list is available at 
2000           Donohue, Laura.  "Civil Liberties, Terrorism, and Liberal Democracy: Lessons from the United 
 2000          Falkenrath, Richard A.  "Analytic Models and Policy Prescription: Understanding Recent Innovation in 
               U.S. Counterterrorism." 
2000           Falkenrath, Richard A.  "The Problems of Preparedness: Challenges Facing the U.S. Domestic 
               Preparedness Program." 
 2000          Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government. "Eight Imperatives for Leaders 
               in a Networked World: Guidelines for the 2000 Election and Beyond," $7. 
 2000          Howell, William G., and Paul E. Peterson. "School Choice in Dayton, Ohio: An Evaluation After One 
               Year," $5. 
 2000            Kohnen, Anne.  "Responding to the Threat of Agroterrorism: Specific Recommendations for the United 
               States Department of Agriculture." 
 2000          Merari, Ariel.  "Israel's Preparedness for High Consequence Terrorism." 
 2000          Stuart, Guy. "Segregation in the Boston Metropolitan Area at the end of the 20th Century," $5. 
 2000          Weil, David. "Everything Old Is New Again: Regulating Labor Standards in the U.S. Apparel 
               Industry," $5. 
 2000          Wolf, Patrick J., Paul E. Peterson and William G. Howell. "School Choice in Washington D.C.: An 
               Evaluation After One Year," $5. 
 1999          Barg, Scot N. "Electronic Benefits Transfer: From Local Innovation to National Standard," $5. 
 1999          Friar, Monica. "Discovering Leadership That Matters: Understanding Variations in State Medicaid 
               Spending," $6. 
 1999          Gómez-Ibáñez, José. "The Future of Private Infrastructure: Lessons from the Nationalization of Electric 
               Utilities in Latin America, 1943-1979," $6. 
 1999          Gómez-Ibáñez, José. "Commitment and Flexibility: Alternative Strategies for Regulating Natural 
               Monopoly," $6. 
 1999          Gómez-Ibáñez, José. "Regulating Coordination: The Promise and Problems of Vertically Unbundling 
               Private Infrastructure," $6. 
 1999          Greene, Jay P. "The Racial, Economic, and Religious Context of Parental Choice in Cleveland," $5. 
 1999          Howitt, Arnold M., and Elizabeth Moore. "Linking Transportation and Air Quality Planning: 
               Implementation of the Transportation Conformity Regulations in 15 Nonattainment Areas," $15. 
Listed are recent working papers by Taubman Center faculty affiliates, fellows, and research staff. A complete 
publications list is available at  Most of the working papers are available on-
line at  

Please send orders and requests for printed materials to the Publications Unit, Taubman Center for State and Local 
Government, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Orders must be prepaid with a check payable to Harvard 
University. Prices include third-class postage. For more information, contact the Taubman Center at (617) 495-
2199, via email at, or via the Center's web page at  



                                      RECENT WORKING PAPERS 
                 A complete publications list is available at 
1999        Kelman, Steven. Implementing for Federal Procurement Reform, 1999. $4. 
 1999       Kim, Hunmin. "The Process of Innovation in Local Government," $4. 
 1999       Krim, Robert M., Jean M. Bartunek, Raul Necochea, and Margaret Humphries. "Sensemaking, 
            Sensegiving, and Leadership in Strategic Organizational Development," $4. 
 1999       Peterson, Paul E., David Myers and William G. Howell. "An Evaluation of the Horizon Scholarship 
            Program in the Edgewood Independent School District, San Antonio, Texas: The First Year," $5. 
 1999       Peterson, Paul E., William G. Howell and Jay P. Greene. "An Evaluation of the Cleveland Voucher 
            Program After Two Years," $5.  
 1999       Richmond, Jonathan. "Choices for Mobility Enhancement in the Greenbush Corridor," $8. 
 1999       Richmond, Jonathan. "A Whole System Approach to Evaluating Urban Transit Investments," $10. 
 1999       Weil, David. "Valuing the Economic Consequences of Work Injury and Illness: A Comparison of 
            Methods and Findings," $5. 
 1999       Weil, David. "Assessing OSHA Performance in the U.S. Construction Industry," $5. 

Listed are recent working papers by Taubman Center faculty affiliates, fellows, and research staff. A complete 
publications list is available at  Most of the working papers are available on-
line at  

Please send orders and requests for printed materials to the Publications Unit, Taubman Center for State and Local 
Government, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Orders must be prepaid with a check payable to Harvard 
University. Prices include third-class postage. For more information, contact the Taubman Center at (617) 495-
2199, via email at, or via the Center's web page at