A book of worst-case scenarios

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

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