Macs Unified Command Plan
The numbers of threats facing first world countries continue to grow, with many state agencies coming up with measures and strategies as a countermeasure for the same. Continued threats on such countries and states such as Washington D.C and other surrounding cities has necessitated for the design of response and mitigation plans to reduce the threats.
Under such plans, threat mitigation strategies through the implementation of a multiagency coordination system would be put into plan as a counter measure to reduce the damage that may be caused by biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear based weapons. In this strategy, the MAC will take into consideration the various federal, state and local agencies which will coordinate the various efforts in teams including an evacuation zone to enable victims to be easily evacuated in the event of an attack.
The Multiagency coordination system (MACS) basically refers to multiagency coordination systems that are designed to provide incident response strategies through a designed framework involving a number of state agencies, arms and other governmental structures (Madigan, 2015). In their configurations, the MACs allow various levels of government including other disciplines such as the military to be able to respond to a given threat based on given jurisdictions.
However, they do not work regularly, but always operate together so as to provide a strategic role in terms of preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation in circumstances or in the event that an attack occurs. In this, they are enabled to perform their strategic role based on the personnel and equipment including the technologies that they have at hand. However, this also depends on the nature of attack and response to which they are required to provide.
In the design of a multiagency coordination system (MACS), it is essentially important to understand the types of threats so as to enable the systems and agencies being considered to be able to handle every nature of threats facing such an environment. In the case of Washington DC, where there is the potential of biological, radiological, chemical and radiological threats, it is important to analyze how they can be handled in terms of preventing their spread, effect on humans and possible evacuation strategies to minimize damages as much as possible.
A chemical attack can be defined as any chemical that is able to cause death, injury or temporary/permanent incapacitation in humans (Mauroni, 2007). This type of attack has been used by various terrorist groups in the United States and other parts of the world. It is one of the most dangerous attacks that can be initiated in Washington D.C by group of terrorists and whose prevention can be difficult given the medium it uses to propagate. A chemical attack generally uses a dispersal technique where a chemical can be propagated through vapor and aerosols. In this, the terrorist group may use vapor which can be difficult to detect which when inhaled becomes a health risk to the population. This makes it a dangerous attack given that it uses air to attack a population.
In the event of an attack, a large number of the population will most likely suffer from the attack given that it uses air as a medium to propagate, and given that most depend on air for their health, such an attack will affect a majority. However, its harm can be reduced through given strategies as compared to evacuation depending on where exactly it has been carried out. In closed environments, an evacuation plan would be more appropriate as compared to an open environment.
A biological attack is almost similar to a chemical attack given the similarity in propagation and the causing agent. In most cases, a biological attack is most dangerous given that it uses microbes and other agents such as toxins (Croddy, 2002), an element that has been seen in most biological wars. The nature of a biological attack is difficult since it can be propagated through air, water and food.
In air, a biological agent can be used to attack the population since most depend on air, while in water, the same can be used to attack people by poisoning drinking water or water used in recreational facilities within Washington D.C and its environs. On the other hand, food can also be poisoned using germs or other disease causing organisms in order to induce a biological attack on the population (“Biological Attack Fact Sheet: Human Pathogens, Biotoxins, and Agricultural Threats”, n.d). In such an event, evacuation may be called for which may involve moving people from the attack area to safer regions, while also examining water and food stuffs for any potential particles which may cause harm.
A radiological attack can also be dangerous in Washington D.C due to the potential magnitude and the ability to affect thousands of people. This type of attack usually uses radioactive weapons to disperse radioactive materials through the air and other medium (Ackerman & Tamsett, 2009), with the most commonly used materials being radioactive isotopes.
In this type of attack, a radioisotope can be used to initiate the attack in Washington D.C through various methods where such materials can be used in contaminating water, food or air that is breathed by the population. It is deadly in that materials used can cause deadly diseases such as cancer which can be dangerous to the population. In this, there is the potential that terrorist groups might use a radiological dispersion device to disperse radiological materials which could be lethal when inhaled. In the case of such an attack, an evacuation strategy would be to evacuate the population affected to safer areas including surrounding that have no direct exposure to the radioactive isotopes, and also to control and check any signs of contamination on food and water.
As witnessed in nuclear warfare, a nuclear attack could be the deadliest amongst the attacks. In this case, it may be propagated by a nuclear device which may cause the shattering of the nearby buildings due to the shocks emitted by such a device. In addition to this, the nuclear particles emitted in the event of a nuclear attack tend to be dangerous especially when such materials come into contact with the population.
In as much as the effect of a nuclear attack in Washington D.C would be great, evacuation plans would also help reduce the effects on the population. In one instance, evacuation plans indicated should be able to address the types and nature of the nuclear attacks by being able to help in the mitigation and response.
In the analysis of the potential attacks facing Washington D.C and the surrounding cities, nuclear and biological attacks can have devastating effects on the population including the infrastructure. This is due to the nature of their propagation in that they are able to affect thousands living within these areas. The effectiveness of a multiagency coordination system (MACS) basically lies in its ability to act as a unified command center during a potential attack, while also facilitating faster response rates during the crisis from communication, operations, evacuation and mitigation of possible retaliation from terrorist groups.
Overview of the planned Washington’s Multiagency Coordination System (MACS)
In taking into consideration of the above threats of attack, the Washington’s multiagency coordination system will be composed of various facilities, equipment, personnel and communication systems that will interact with each other under given procedures.
This shall include all available space that will be used to implement the system by housing the different arms of the multiagency coordination system. The facility should provide enough space where workspaces will be designed for an efficient and coordinated process. Some of the coordinating elements that will be housed in the facility include:
This is basically all equipment that will be used in the coordination functions. These include computers, telecommunication systems, and video display equipment including video conferencing equipment.
This will include select individuals with proper knowledge on selected jobs especially in humanitarian background. This will however also depend on the areas of deployment in that the various agencies will have to fill in trained personnel at their various points/centers. In this, the system would coordinate all response operations as well as resources to be used in the process.
This outlines the standard way to be used when communicating to the various agencies. This will also include the standard communication strategies through given procedures and protocols to enhance efficiency and coordination.
The procedures will define how the various multiagency systems will work together during the operation. This will also ensure that operations are in line with certain safety agreements and regulations to make the system much effective.
Emergency operation center:
The emergency operation center shall be housed at the facility to provide a central point where all emergency activities of the emergency operations shall be conducted from. The scope of its work shall however depend on the number of state agencies that will be involved in restoring the area in case of an event. In this scenario, the operations center will be configured to allow for communication with other state emergency operations centers including a dispatch center that will coordinate the dispatch functions. In this configuration, the plan would be to include an audio conferencing unit that will help the different parties to communicate in the emergency operation.
On-scene command structure:
On scene command is basically giving directions/directing others involved in the emergency operations. The multiagency coordination system will therefore be configured to provide operational assistance in terms of providing support to major teams at the attack site. This will enable respective teams to be able to handle the emergency situation under a unified command.
In addition to the above, the on-scene command structure will help in handling jurisdiction issues especially in instances where a large area has been under an attack, especially in chemical and biological attacks. This structure will help reduce conflict of information and command in cases where multiple coordinating agencies such as local agencies, state and county based agencies are involved in the operation.
The resource center is an area where a comprehensive analysis of the various assets of the MAC system occurs (Maniscalco & Christen, 2011). This acts as an accountability area where several attributes surrounding the multiagency coordination system are analyzed including the resource elements such as logistics and other operational based assets. The center will also be involved in coordinating the various logistical issues of the entire system in plan.
The dispatch center shall be a critical area of the multiagency coordination system. It will be the center that will facilitate the logistical issues including dispatching the various teams to the attack areas within Washington D.C during an attack.
Coordinating entities will play a critical role in the entire operation as they will be charged with overseeing the various groups involved in the operation. In this, depending on the scope of the area involved will coordinate the area, regional and other state based agencies towards combating an attack. The entity also ensures that plans, procedures and other staff based issues are implemented in order to facilitate proper incident management (Walsh, 2012).
In the planned configuration of the system, the 5 parts of the facility shall work in conjunction with the City’s state departments in order to counter emerging threats of the city. The coordinating entity will play a great role in coordinating other agencies and arms of the government such as the military in instances where they are overpowered by rescue efforts. The entity will also help in coordinating the activities of other departments during an attack to ensure that operations are linked in the proper way.
For instance, the coordinating entity would help coordinate the activities including evacuation, retaliation and secondary strikes that may occur during the emergency. In handling evacuation, the plan would outline how evacuation procedures would assist all parties to safely carry out evacuation procedures.
However, for effective evacuation procedures, there are various agencies which must assist others in carrying out the operations. In most instances, the military will be considered in this plan to help in evacuating people to safer grounds especially where a nuclear attack has hit the City and its surrounding areas. This will especially be critical in search and rescue evacuation missions involving military aircrafts where people would be evacuated using military choppers to reduce loss of life. In addition to this, military use during rescue missions would be critical especially where radiological, nuclear and chemical attacks have been realized. In this, their help would be beneficial in terms of providing logistical support to the victims during the evacuation process.
Apart from that, the plan would also consider the use of military in instances where there is retaliation in order to safeguard the surrounding infrastructure against damage. Apart from providing military help in such environments, the plan aims also to implement other strategies as countermeasures in order to reduce any possible retaliatory attack which may be encountered at the scene. This will be enhanced by the involvement of the military personnel and law enforcement officers who will provide additional support in the areas affected.
One preventive countermeasure in such a scenario will be to cordon the area in order to prevent humans from being exposed to danger. This as a countermeasure will reduce human exposure to chemical or other attacks which might be used by terrorist groups. In this strategy, the military and law enforcement would reduce access to potentially dangerous areas by limiting entry by people in such areas so as to reduce unseen harm. This would suppress other unseen attacks and danger that would befall people hence would work to reduce any secondary incidences.
In addition to cordoning the areas hit by an attack, the military would also play an important role in reducing any potential secondary incident that would be initiated in the area. In this, they would help provide surveillance through the use of their military aircrafts which would not only act as a countermeasure in the reduction of possible incidences while also would help in the apprehension of suspected participants.
Incident management also depends on technology in order to assist the various entities in carrying out their activities within their jurisdiction. Therefore, in as much as a multiagency coordination center would be fully designed and prepared to handle various forms of attacks, it is important to include technology in the prevention plans. In this, technology would help within the unified command area in order to reduce, suppress or prevent future possible attacks. In this case therefore, technology would assist the various departments of the MACS so as to enable them provide enhanced services in threat or attack avoidance.Technology can therefore be implemented as a collaborative tool so as to assist in the administration and support functions. In this, it would help enhance and facilitate mobility in various circumstances such as tracking participants, performing analysis to better handle incident and threat issues in the future.
Other than collaborative tools providing a platform to enhance collaboration during operations, technology via communication systems for instance a satellite network can be used to provide real-time communication between the state agencies. This would facilitate ease of sharing information, a critical role that would help the agencies to be much informed regarding imminent attacks hence would better inform and safeguard the public against such threats.
Such a system would be connected to surveillance drones that can help in prevention, surveillance and apprehension given their ability to fly in different terrains as well as capture images at a distant. This would help the law enforcement officers and personnel within the MACS to be able to gather intelligence so as to alert the public on the need to safeguard themselves.
In addition to intelligence capabilities, technology also supports simulation models that can be analyzed to provide strategic information to counter attack threat instances. In this strategic role, technology would help the incidence response teams to analyze and synthesize various threat attributes in order to combat such possible instances. In the prevention of first world threats and terror related activities, technology has won accolades in such scenarios and which its use can immensely support the working of a MACS, in its strategic role of combating and reducing threats in threat potential areas such as Washington D.C and its environs.This plan therefore, taking into consideration the various combination of elements of the multiagency coordination system discussed would be able reduce the effects of terror related activities around Washington D.C and the United States at large.
Ackerman, G., & Tamsett, J. (2009). Jihadists and weapons of mass destruction. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Croddy, E. (2002). Chemical and biological warfare: A comprehensive survey for the concerned citizen. New York: Copernicus Books.
Homeland Security. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2016, from https://www.dhs.gov/publication/biological-attack-fact-sheet
Maniscalco, P. M., & Christen, H. T. (2011). Homeland security: Principles and practice of terrorism response. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Madigan, M. L. (2015). The responders handbook: Responding with knowledge, general handbook for emergency response for America’s first responders.
Mauroni, A. J. (2007). Chemical and biological warfare: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, Inc.