I came across this article yesterday about US Rep Michael McCaul from Texas (who happens to chair the House Homeland Security committee) penning a book titled “Failures of Imagination: The Deadliest Threats to Our Homeland — and How to Thwart Them”. The book, set to be published in January, will apparently outline a variety of terrorist attack scenarios against the US and how they can be stopped.
I’ve written in the past about the necessity to consider credible worst-case scenarios (natural and human-caused) which can impact your jurisdiction or organization. Following the model outlined by Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 201 for the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) process, it’s not just enough to say you are vulnerable to flood or wild fire. To identify what your specific vulnerabilities are (location, duration, severity), it is necessary to flesh these out into scenarios. Identification of these vulnerabilities will then help identify impacts, such as those to infrastructure, resources, and populations. Plans should then be based upon these impacts.
I’m doubtful that Rep McCaul’s book will provide any foundation for planning (although I don’t think it’s intended to), however the scenarios contained may be eye opening to EMHS professionals and even citizens. Regular readers of this blog know I feel that we are on borrowed time regarding terrorist attacks. Yes we have experienced some on US soil (and the UK, Canada, Australia, France, India, and many other nations), and they have been devastating, but we have to know that with organizations such as ISIS thriving on our planet, more will come. Mumbai-type scenarios, with multiple coordinated simultaneous attacks can be crippling and certainly demonstrate what a credible worst-case scenario could look like.
I’m interested to see what Rep McCaul’s book contains. I’ll be sure to publish a review once it comes out and I’ve had an opportunity to read it.
© 2015 – Timothy Riecker
Emergency Preparedness Solutions, LLC
3 thoughts on “A book of worst-case scenarios”
The issue I have run into over the years is the naysayers at the upper levels of agencies and government that say “it will never happen here” or “our (put in a title) would never go for that because it would cause the public to become scared!
I’m glad to see that someone in a position of power within our government is addressing this and if it turns the tide of complacency that we have met, it will be worth it.
Thanks for the comment. I, too, hope that it (and other efforts) will help people be more realistic about the threats and hazards we face. It is only through that recognition that we can even begin to be prepared for the potential impacts.