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Terrorism, Infrastructure Protection, and the U.S. Food and Agricultural Sector

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Over the past decade, many states, particularly in North America and Western Europe, have made substantial investments in improving their ability to detect, prevent and respond to terrorist threats and incidents. This has fed into an increasingly well-protected public infrastructure throughout much of the developed world where, at a minimum, effectively developed vulnerability-threat analyses have been used to maximize both anti-terrorist contingencies and consequence management modalities. This investment in preparedness, training and response has helped with the development of viable incident command structures that now span the ambit of potential terrorist attacks, from conventional bombings to more exotic biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear incidents. Agriculture is one area that has received very little attention in this regard, however. Indeed, in terms of accurate threat assessments, response structures and preparedness initiatives, the sector continues to exist as a glaring exception to the wide-ranging emphasis that has been given to critical infrastructure protection in this country. This testimony aims to expand the current debate on public infrastructure protection and bio-terrorism by assessing the vulnerabilities of agriculture and the food chain to a deliberate act of agro-terrorism. For the purposes of this testimony, anti-terrorism will be defined as the deliberate introduction of a disease agent, either against livestock or into the food chain, for purposes of undermining stability andor generating fear. Depending on the disease agent and vector chosen, it is a tactic that can be used either to generate cause mass socio-economic disruption or as a form of direct human aggression.

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  • Civil Defense
  • Unconventional Warfare

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