Suicide Terror Drills

Title: San Francisco / City Teams Test Response During Tterror Drill / Scenario Includes Multiple Attacks
Date: October 13, 2005
SF Gate

Abstract: San Francisco officials simulated a series of terrorist attacks Wednesday, with one scenario including a suicide bomb aboard a Muni bus, to test the city's emergency preparedness skills.

The drill, organized by the city's Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security, was part of a continuing series of exercises to assess the city's ability to respond to multiple incidents in a relatively short period of time -- figuring out everything from securing ambulances from neighboring counties, preserving evidence from the crime scenes, reuniting frantic parents with their school-age children and providing medical treatment for hundreds of people.

"We had a very successful exercise, and I say successful because not everything went exactly as we anticipated," said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "To me, that's success, that's the purpose of this. If everything went perfectly, then we frankly wouldn't have needed to do it, and we wouldn't have learned much."

The exercise was closed to the public but was described to reporters afterward by the mayor, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, Police Chief Heather Fong, emergency services director Annemarie Conroy and emergency communications chief Chris Cunnie.

Given the heightened public awareness arising from Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami and the terror attacks on the London transit system, Newsom has been eager to publicize his administration's activities preparing for disasters, both manmade and natural.

The simulated drill started with a suicide bombing aboard a Muni bus at Fourth and Mission streets at 7:30 a.m. during the morning commute. Under the scenario, there were four fatalities. That was followed by an outdoor bomb an hour later at Pine and Montgomery streets in the Financial District in which 200 people were killed. Around 11:30 a.m., police stopped a van with explosives on the 500 block of O'Farrell Street in the Tenderloin and shot both the occupants. In addition, a suspicious package was reported at City Hall, which ended up being a false alarm.

During the exercise, officials "closed" the Bay and Golden Gate bridges and dealt with 619 people with injuries at area hospitals and health clinics. The drill also tested the city's emergency communications system.

In all, more than 200 people -- firefighters, police officers and workers from the Municipal Railway, the Department of Public Health and traffic control, among others -- were involved. The FBI also was on hand.

Most of the incidents were mental exercises in which the fire and police chiefs, the mayor and their deputies were presented with different scenarios and had to figure out how to respond and direct crews on the ground. Others were more hands-on. For example, a burnt-out bus -- made to represent the one hit by the suicide bomber -- was parked at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, and emergency workers were sent there to test their response (SF Gate, 2005).

Title: Anti-Terror Exercises Planned For D.C. Skies

Date: August 20, 2012
Free Beacon

Abstract: Air Force and Coast Guard aircraft will fly “intercept and identification” exercises over Washington tonight as part of efforts to prevent suicide aircraft attacks or other threats to the capital, a military spokesman said.

The latest exercise of what the North American Aerospace Defense Command calls “Falcon Virgo” involves Civil Air Patrol Cessna-182 light aircraft and a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter between 11:30 p.m. Monday and 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, NORAD said in a statement.

“We want to make sure people seeing these planes aren’t concerned,” said NORAD spokesman John Cornelio.

“One of the reasons we put out notice of the exercise is so that anyone seeing a military aircraft in close proximity to a civilian aircraft will know that this is a controlled and carefully planned NORAD live exercise,” he said.

No unmanned aerial vehicles will be used, said another spokeswoman.

Details of the scenario for the exercise could not be learned. However, it is expected to involve the helicopter intercepting the Cessna posing as a threat aircraft.

Airspace over the nation’s capital is tightly controlled and aircraft that stray into restricted airspace near the White House, Capitol, and national monuments risk being shot down by military aircraft.

During the September 11 terrorist attacks against the Pentagon and attempted strike on either the White House or Congress using hijacked airliners, U.S. military jets had to be scrambled from southern Virginia.

Since those attacks, the U.S. military has set up a defense system to better protect the region from such threats.

Past Falcon Virgo exercises have used F-16 jets based at Andrews Air Force Base, ground-based Avenger anti-aircraft missile batteries deployed at the southern end of the Navy-Air Force Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, and Stinger and shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles deployed at undisclosed locations.

Cornelio said the main purpose of the exercise is to test the command and control system called the Joint Air Defense Operation Center, located at Anacostia-Bolling.

“The exercise is comprised of a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the NCR Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center (JADOC), Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR’s Eastern Air Defense Sector,” the NORAD statement said.

“Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System and certify newly assigned command and control personnel at JADOC.”

The exercises are part of the military’s “rapid response capability” for the region, the statement added (Free Beacon, 2012).