DHS poised for mock terror attacks

TopOff 2 media site

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The information technology team at the Homeland Security Department (DHS) will be working around the clock next week to monitor an exercise simulating a terrorist attack on Seattle and Chicago, the department's chief information officer said today.

Steve Cooper said his team of top-level IT officials would be looking for any cybersecurity lapses and actions that should have been taken but were not.

"We'll be watching for lessons learned: Is there something we missed? Do we need to fill a gap?" he told Federal Computer Week at the semiannual CIO Summit, sponsored by FCW Media Group.

The five-day exercise, known as TopOff 2 (Top Officials 2), will begin May 12. It will include DHS and the State Department working in conjunction with federal, state, local and Canadian officials. The exercise will analyze the response to a terrorist attack.

The operation includes a sequence of events that would happen in a terrorist campaign with weapons of mass destruction. The operation will simulate a radiological device explosion in Seattle and a covert biological attack in Chicago, and evaluate how authorities respond to these incidents.

Some 25 agencies and the American Red Cross will be involved in the exercise, DHS Secretary Tom Ridge said May 5 in discussing the event.

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