Overview of Subject Matter: Biological warfare has got to do with the utilization of a wide range of microorganisms such as fungi, viruses, or bacteria to harm a human target (or in rare cases, to harm plants and animals). Essentially, "biothreat agents have the potential to produce a life-threatening illness" (The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2012).
Situation: a Democratic-Republican National Convention (DNRC) event has been convened in Miami, Florida.
Threat: Biological WMD Agent. In the recent past, there have been reports of "biological development programs and arsenals in foreign countries, attempts to acquire or possess biological agents by militants…" (CDC, 2000). These, coupled with terror threats the U.S. faces warrants an assessment of the threat posed to the DNRC event with regard to the release of a biological agent.
Facilitator/Crime Scene Investigations Workgroup Chairperson: Major Susan Baker, Commander of the Crime Investigations Bureau of the Miami-Dade Police Department
First Meeting of the Crime Scene Investigations Workgroup: Key Stakeholders to be Invited
Invitees in General: representatives from the Local, State, as well as Federal Government
Rationale: it is important to note that the most effective response to a significant biological attack will most likely demand for additional funds and other resources from not only the regional but also the State and Federal governments.
1. Representatives from Florida Division of Emergency Management
This division handles both natural and man-made disasters and has the capability to respond to incidents that involve nuclear and other hazardous materials.
2. Florida Department of Law Enforcement
There would be need to invite representatives from Florida Department of Law enforcement, especially given that the said department is responsible for the coordination of all Municipal Police Departments and overall promotion of public safety.
3. Representatives from Florida Department of Health
Given the nature of the threat, there is need to bring those responsible for the improvement as well as promotion of the health of the people of Florida on board.
1. Miami-Dade Police Department
2. Representatives from the Office of the Mayor
3. Representatives from the Community Action and Human Services Department
1. Representatives from the U.S. Secret Service
Given that the DNRC event satisfies the criteria necessary to be certified a National Special Security Event, the U.S. Secret Service will be invited.
Key Issues Associated with a Biological Agent Release
Biological Agents Likely to be Used
The choice of agent remains an important variable in the realm of biological warfare. Some of the agents of significant concern listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include: botulism, filoviruses, plague, smallpox, tularemia, and anthrax (CDC, 2000). It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive. In that regard, therefore, there is still a possibility that terrorists could produce surprise agents.
In this context, the relevance of identifying biological agent primary infection routes cannot be overstated. Infection could occur via skin abrasions, ingestion, as well as inhalation of aerosol. It is important to note that of the three primary routes identified in this case, aerosol inhalation is of greatest concern -- largely because of the fact that it could be utilized in mass gatherings such as the DRNC event to infect large numbers of people.
Dissemination of Aerosol
The dispersion of biological agents could most likely assume the aerosol route, via the utilization of a wide range of devices including, but not limited to, spray devices (when the agent is in the form of dry powder or liquid), explosive devices, etc. Dry powder dispersion could also be done via natural dissemination. Thanks to its ease of release and significantly high aerosol efficiency, dry power posses the highest risk during the DRNC event.
Indicators of the Occurrence of a Biological Event
Unlike is the case with other conventional weapons such as bombs or chemical weapons, the detection of an attack of a biological nature could take a while. The very first sign of an event of a biological nature, from a response point-of-view, would be appearance of sick individuals in emergency rooms and clinics. On this front, it is important to note that for most biological agents, the period of incubation before the appearance of symptoms…