War game: U.S. must research biological warfare recovery

A war game simulation conducted last week by the National Defense University concluded that the United States should focus on advanced information technologies to help manage the chaos that would likely follow a biological weapons attack within the nation's borders.

According to the preliminary results of the war game, the United States needs to focus future research and development efforts on high-tech management tools. Among the most significant requirements identified by the experts were for early warning and detector systems; integrated public-health surveillance systems; interoperable and robust communications systems; and advanced incident management tools and applications.

Conducted at the Washington Navy Yard with the help of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, the "Hot Zone '99" war game brought together government, defense and IT experts to identify the most useful methods and tools currently available to repel and manage a terrorist attack involving biological weapons. The Potomac Institute plans to publish detailed results of the war game within a month.

Defense and intelligence officials have expressed increasing concern regarding the proliferation of biological weapons, such as deadly microscopic pathogens, which terrorists could use to kill thousands of people in urban settings.

Federal agencies involved in the war game included the Defense Department's Joint Program Office for Biological Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Energy Department and the Justice Department.

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