PC program predicts fallout from terrorist strike
THE Federal Government has developed a computer simulation that predicts the fallout from terrorist strikes and natural disasters, including the potential number of deaths and the impact on water and electricity supplies.
The $20 million program, to be unveiled today, will be accessible by businesses and government and can provide immediate updates on disruptions to critical infrastructure and the central business district. It can assess the human losses and economic damage caused by a range of disasters such as bombings, earthquakes, the contamination of water supplies or attacks on the power grid or communications services.
The Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, said the simulation had taken two years to develop and was based on confidential information provided by banks and communications, energy and water companies.
"Ultimately [this] will help build a more resilient business sector, which can bounce back in the face of adversity, ensuring less disruption to our way of life," Mr Ruddock said.
The program was used in the lead-up to the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meetings to provide information to security organisers about the impact of various attacks on 10 conference venues. Security authorities have also used the program to consider the impact of simultaneous bombings in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and the effect on gas supplies and ports from a tsunami hitting the North-West Shelf.
Mr Ruddock will today invite businesses and government agencies to apply to have scenarios tested by the program.
"These 'virtual insights' will feed into the decision-making processes of business and government and will contribute to more targeted and cost-effective policies," he said.
The program, which is being developed by researchers at Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO, is yet to incorporate information on transport, health services and food supplies.
In the United States, where a similar program is under development, researchers have warned it could pose a security risk because it could be hacked by criminals or terrorists.
The Herald understands the program will be stored in a secure facility, which has been approved by ASIO. "Electronic penetration is not possible," a project source said
Russia steps up bomber exercises near Alaska and Canada
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: Russian warplane exercises around Alaska have become routine in the past few months, U.S. military officials said Monday, as the former Cold War superpower steps up flights from its Arctic bases.
Over the summer, Russian bombers have staged at least seven exercises in a buffer zone outside U.S. air space, each time alerting the U.S. through reports by Russian news agencies, said Maj. Allen Herritage, a spokesman for the Alaska region of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
U.S. and Canadian fighter jets, including F-15s, were dispatched each time to escort the Russian planes in the exercises, which ranged from two to six aircraft, Herritage said.
The latest exercise came Sept. 19 and involved two planes flying somewhere off the coast of Canada, Herritage said. They were met by Canadian planes from NORAD, which is jointly operated by the U.S. and Canadian militaries.
At least five exercises by the Russian Tu-95 Bear heavy bombers have taken place off Alaska's Aleutian Islands and other historic Cold War outposts, such as Cape Lisburne and St. Lawrence Island, according to NORAD records. All occurred beyond the 12-mile boundary that constitutes U.S. airspace.
"They used to have them from time to time, but not nearly in this frequency," Herritage said. "These exercises used to be more common during the Cold War."
The exercises come amid troubled relations between Russia and the West and are seen by some as intimidating moves by an increasingly assertive Russia, but Herritage said the exercises are not a cause for alarm.
"The recent exercises appear to be routine training activities," he told The Associated Press. "They are nowhere near U.S. airspace."
President Vladimir Putin announced in August that Russia was resuming long-range bomber flights over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Russian Air Force officials could not be reached for comment after hours. They have repeatedly said that the planes were not violating any nation's airspace or any international agreements.
But in mid-September, British and Norwegian jets intercepted Russian military aircraft after they breached NATO airspace close to the U.K. and Finland. And on a handful of occasions this year, NATO nations, including Britain and Norway, have sent fighters to escort Russian bombers nearing their territory.
The RP-7 Robotic System
Hey, Dr. Chung, can I talk to you a minute?" Not an unusual greeting in a busy hospital hallway - unless Dr. Chung is actually at home, or on temporary duty in another city, or perhaps sitting in a café while on leave.
MAJ Kevin Chung, medical director for the Institute of Surgical Research\'s burn intensive care unit (ICU) at Brooke Army Medical Center, is accustomed to people addressing his image on an RP-7 robotic system while he is sitting at a keyboard in another location.
Universal Detection Technology Comments on the Upcoming TOPOFF 4 Exercises
LOS ANGELES, CA -- 10/02/07 -- Universal Detection Technology (http://www.udetection.com/) (OTCBB: UDTT), a developer and provider of early-warning monitoring technologies to protect people from bioterrorism and radiological weapons, commented on the upcoming TOPOFF 4 Full-Scale Exercise (T4 FSE) that will test the responses of first responders to a simulated radiological (dirty bomb) attack.
Taking place October 15-19, 2007, the T4 FSE will feature thousands of federal, state, territorial, and local officials. These officials will engage in various activities as part of a robust, full-scale simulated response to a multi-faceted threat. The exercise will address policy and strategic issues that mobilize prevention and response systems, require participants to make difficult decisions, carry out essential functions, and challenge their ability to maintain a common operating picture during an incident of national significance.
The TOPOFF 4 scenario begins as terrorists, who have been planning attacks in Oregon, Arizona, and the U.S. Territory of Guam, successfully bring radioactive material into the United States. The first of three coordinated attacks occurs in Guam, with the simulated detonation of a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD), or "dirty bomb," causing casualties and wide-spread contamination in a populous area near a power plant. Similar attacks occur in the hours that follow in Portland and Phoenix.
"We will closely monitor the outcome of the TOPOFF 4 exercises as it will be an indicator of the government's needs in the fight against terrorism," said Mr. Jacques Tizabi, UDTT's Chief Executive Officer. "We have recently added radiological detection devices to our array of detection systems and will continue to grow our portfolio of detection systems," he added.
UConn gets federal grant for homeland security training
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut is getting more than 1.3 million dollars to launch a training program for homeland security officials nationwide. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is awarding the grant to the university's Center for Continuing Studies, which is developing the training program and will offer it through 2010. The program's will train 660 state and local homeland security officials from across the U.S. in leadership skills, planning, incident management and other areas (cont..)
Former Homeland Security Secretary Ridge launches security consultancy
Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
Tom Ridgehas formed his own private security consulting firm.The company, Ridge Global LLC, will offer a variety of consulting services, including what it calls "strategic business generation, global trade security, risk assessment and contingency planning, crisis management and communications, leadership guidance and change management, special event security and technology innovation and integration," according to a news release. (Cont..)