LAWFUEL – The US Legal Newswire – From October 15 – 19, 2007, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will take part in a multi-agency national preparedness exercise known as Top Officials, or TOPOFF. Next week’s exercise is the fourth segment of the TOPOFF series of congressionally mandated exercises administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and designed to strengthen the nation’s capacity to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from large-scale terrorist attacks. This full-scale exercise will simulate the response to a radiological dispersal device attack.
“While the FBI strives to prevent a terrorist attack from occurring in the first place, in the event of an attack we must be ready to respond. This exercise is an essential element in our preparation to assert an integrated, coordinated response with our international, federal, state, and local law enforcement and intelligence partners and first responders,” said Michael A. Mason, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch.
More than 15,000 participants representing international, federal, state, local, and territorial entities will take part in the exercise. The venues for this cycle, TOPOFF 4, are Arizona, Guam, and Oregon. In addition, activities will take place on a federal level in Washington, D.C. In coordination with the Department of State, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia are full international partners in the exercise.
Over 250 FBI subject matter experts from the FBI Laboratory’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit, the National Press Office, and the Critical Incident Response Group’s Crisis Management Unit and National Level Tactical Assets will participate. These national assets will supplement the tactical units, hazardous material response teams, special agent bomb technicians, and crisis management coordinators from the FBI’s Portland, Phoenix, and Honolulu field offices. The FBI participants will work in close coordination with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, DHS, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as our Legal Attaches in the U.S. Embassies in London, England; Ottawa, Canada; and Canberra, Australia.
TOPOFF 4, the largest segment of the series to date, engages participants on all levels of government. The exercise’s implementation of the National Response Plan will include practicing incident response, incident command, cross-jurisdictional coordination, emergency and risk communication, and implementation of protocols and policies. The FBI’s jurisdiction to investigate terrorist activities and to prevent, deter, and disrupt terrorist plots before they come to fruition is provided by federal law, regulations, Presidential Decision Directives, and the National Response Plan. As such, the FBI considers participation in TOPOFF 4 an integral component in its efforts to defeat terrorism.