Accession Number:

ADA429977

Title:

Lessons Learned: The "Pale Horse" Bioterrorism Response Exercise

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

ARMY MEDICAL RESEARCH INST OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES FORT DETRICK MD

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2003-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

6.0

Abstract:

In August 2002, the city of San Antonio, Texas, and the Fort Sam Houston Army Post located within the city conducted Pale Horse, one of the most ambitious, city-based, large-scale, tabletop bioterrorism response exercises to date. The exercise used significant executive-level resources from the Department of Defense DoD, city, state, and region. The purpose of the bioterrorism response exercise was to test the command infrastructure in a large tabletop exercise. The exercise included command-level players from military medical major Army and Air Force medical facilities located in San Antonio, civilian medical, city government, boards of health, state medical, National Guard, regional Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA, and DoD communities. The initial goals of the exercise were to foster critical thinking, identify roles and responsibilities, and exercise and validate existing plans. The programmed corollary to the exercise was to develop solutions for the inevitable shortfalls and controversial issues that would arise during play. This article discusses the experience with attention to the shortfalls and controversial issues identified during the exercise. The primary scenario was an unannounced terrorist attack wherein aerosolized and appropriately stabilized smallpox virus was sprayed over the attendees at the Alamo Dome during a football game. No announcement or threat was relayed covert attack, and all attendees dispersed to their normal routine. Initial victims of smallpox then began to present to medical providers with the onset of fever in congruence with the normal incubation period. The article summarizes the lessons learned from the exercise in terms of vaccination, communication, and manpower requirements the need for additional services and planning legal issues, such as quarantine and liability social ramifications and command and control challenges.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE