Unrep MSC to amphib

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Free Disaster Prep Courses from FEMA

When I was earning a certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from the University of North Carolina, one method of getting students from a variety of backgrounds speaking a common "language" of disaster work was to have us complete several courses from the Emergency Management Institute - FEMA Independent Study Program:
FEMA’s Independent Study Program offers courses that support the nine mission areas identified by the National Preparedness Goal.

- Incident Management
- Operational Planning
- Disaster Logistics
- Emergency Communications
- Service to Disaster Victims
- Continuity Programs
- Public Disaster Communications
- Integrated Preparedness
- Hazard Mitigation
There are 186 courses available - from the core you can expand into areas of interest to you.

These courses run the range from "IS-1.a Emergency Manager: An Orientation to the Position" to "IS-2900 National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) Overview. " You take them online and complete a quiz at the end to get a certificate of completion for each course.

There are also 16 courses that deal with the National Incident Management System:
EMI replaced its Incident Command System (ICS) curricula with courses that meet the requirements specified in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). EMI developed the new courses collaboratively with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), the United States Fire Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Further, there is a FEMA program that is neighborhood oriented, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) with a course designed to introduce you to the concept of CERT and their place in disaster management, IS-317: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams:
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates individuals about disaster preparedness and trains and organizes teams of volunteers that can support their communities during disasters. The CERT Program offers training in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. With proper CERT training, you can help protect your family, neighbors, and co-workers if a disaster occurs.

"Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)," IS-317, is an independent study course that serves as an introduction to CERT for those interested in completing the basic CERT training or as a refresher for current team members. The course includes six modules: CERT Basics, Fire Safety, Hazardous Material and Terrorist Incidents, Disaster Medical Operations, and Search and Rescue, and Course Summary.

While IS-317 is useful as a primer or refresher for CERT training, it is not equivalent to, and cannot be used in place of, the classroom delivery of the CERT Basic Training. To become a CERT volunteer, one must complete the classroom training offered by a local government agency such as the emergency management agency, fire or police department. Contact your local emergency manager to learn about the local education and training opportunities available to you. Let this person know about your interest in taking CERT training.
Local CERT associations may conduct training in CERT matters. For example, an association near me offers:
Members are expected to complete the Basic Training course. Additional ongoing training is provided at monthly meetings and other events.

The CERT Basic Training is delivered in one of two ways. These are held several times each year, depending on demand.
Either:
a) Seven week version - 2 1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period plus a Saturday exercise
b) Single weekend version - 3 hours on a Friday night followed by 8.5 hours each on Saturday and Sunday.

You must be 18 yrs or older unless you attend with a parent.

The training consists of the following:

Session I, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor begins to explore an expanded response role for civilians in that they should begin to consider themselves disaster workers. Since they will want to help their family members and neighbors, this training can help them operate in a safe and appropriate manner. The CERT concept and organization are discussed as well as applicable laws governing volunteers in that jurisdiction.

Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling utilities, and extinguishing a small fire.

Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.

Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.

Session V, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.

Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker. It addresses CERT organization and management principles and the need for documentation.

Session VII, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION: Participants review their answers from a take home examination. Finally, they practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster activity.
In addition, supplemental training is suggested including a couple of the FEMA Courses discussed above:

Supplemental training conducted, recommended, and/or required for CERT members:

IS-100.a Introduction to Incident Command System (ICS)
IS-700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction
Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Automatic External Defibrillation (AED)
Basic first aid
Additional Incident Command System (ICS)
Additional National Incident Management System (NIMS)
The point of all this training to eliminate confusion by offering up a standardized approach to disaster response. If everyone is using the same playbook, there should be less wasted effort on "re-inventing the wheel."

Essentially, the message is exactly like the motto of the Boy Scouts: "Be Prepared"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Hidden Side of the U.S. Navy: Military Sealift Command

On Sunday 20 July 2014, we had a discussion on Midrats with Salvatore R. Mercogliano, Ph.D. about the "Military Sealift Command - Past, Present and Future." Many of you may have heard of MSC, but not know all that much about it. So, if you missed the show, here's a chance to catch up:

Online Military Radio at Blog Talk Radio with Midrats on BlogTalkRadio

Professor Sal also sent along this PowerPoint presentation that helps further the discussion:



Professionals talk logistics.

Because tactics and strategy are driven by it.

Energy Wars: Marcellus "Miracle" Continues

Was it only a few short years ago that there was concern over "peak oil" and worry over the dwindling supply of U.S. natural gas? Why, yes it was.

Then along came shale oil and gas.

A revolution that changed everything, as noted in this Oil and Gas Journal article, "Marcellus continues to defy expectations, driving US gas production ever higher":
Shale has been the primary driver of US gas supply growth since 2007, and the Marcellus shale has been the largest single contributor to rising production.

Marcellus production topped 14.5 bcfd in March and is expected to account for nearly one fourth of all US gas output by 2015, according to a report by Morningstar Inc.

The Marcellus's eminent position stems, in part, from the ability of wells in the formation to come online at high initial production (IP) rates and to sustain those rates for longer than wells in other shale formations.
***
The Marcellus stretches across portions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and New York. Moody's Investor Service figures the formation holds an estimated 141 tcfe of recoverable reserves.

Marcellus output climbed from virtually nothing in 2007 to 9 bcfd in 2013, equivalent to the combined production growth of the Haynesville (4 bcfd), Eagle Ford (3 bcfd), and Barnett (2 bcfd) shales. According to Morningstar, output from the formation helped boost US production 14 bcfd, or 25%, during the 6-year period, more than offsetting declines from conventional reservoirs and the Gulf of Mexico.

If not for the Marcellus, Morningstar found, US gas production would likely have peaked in late 2011 or early 2012 as producers reduced gas-directed drilling in response to weak domestic gas prices.
***
The Marcellus shale has fundamentally altered the outlook for the US natural gas industry. The US is emerging as a low-cost chemicals producer and is poised to become an exporter of natural gas—a feat unthinkable just 5 years ago when it was widely believed that increasing LNG imports would be needed to meet domestic demand.

According to Hanson, "In short, the growth of the Marcellus over the next several years is likely to be nothing short of astounding."
Europe ought to be happy, too, if the U.S. can get its LNG export business in motion. The Russians? - well, not so much.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Is Heinlein Quote Day #17

From the Cat Who Walks Through Walls:
One must trust, I find. The art lies in knowing whom to trust."

Just a reminder that although you can like some or all of Heinlein's books, you don't have to. Let's face it, the man had some interesting ideas, but not all interesting ideas are good ideas, if you catch my drift. But it is all make-believe, not a real world. Sort the wheat from the chaff.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TANSTAAFL, "There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch" and the Defense Budget

David R. Henderson, TANSTAAFL, There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
"TANSTAAFL." It stands for "There Ain't No Such Thing As a Free Lunch." Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein popularized the acronym in his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
****
There are two meanings of the expression, "There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch." The first, which is always true, is that there is scarcity, and scarcity necessitates tradeoffs. The second, which is almost always true, is that when someone offers you something "for free," he expects something in return. Both are important meanings of the expression. And both are highly relevant to understanding economics and human behavior.
About 42 or so years ago, an "Intro to Economics" course I observed used a book tited Tanstaafl (There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch) - A Libertarian Perspective on Environmental Policy by Edwin Dolan. Here's a portion of the introduction:

Just as a thought experiment, try pondering how "free" healthcare is provided.

Get it?

But, hey, this is post about National Defense! So how does TANSTAAFL apply?

Okay, how about this?
[President] Obama last week requested $3.7 billion from Congress to respond to the flow of children crossing the border but that did not include additional funding for the military, which is housing thousands of immigrant children and trying to contain the violent drug trade.
Regardless of the merits of spending $3.7 billion on people entering the U.S. illegally, there is the question of the tradeoffs the military must make in "housing thousands of immigrant children and trying to contain the violent drug trade." After all, the military is a scarce resource that must always tradeoff resources to accomplish its missions. What missions will be sacrificed to bear the costs associated with these children? Do we want to fire thousands of highly trained people to allow the budget to balance?

Perhaps.

The U.S. Army is looking to cut 120,000 troops by 2020:
The 2014 QDR states that the active Army will reduce from its war-time high of 570,000 to 440,000–450,000 Soldiers.
If you want to see how that plays out, look at the suggested economic impact (tradeoff) on some of the communities that surround military bases.

For example, at Ft Campbell, Ky which could lose up to 16,000 troops and civilians by 2020:
With those losses, yearly income in the area is expected to fall by 7.7 percent, or $986.6 million. Total reduction in sales is estimated at $768.6 million with a corresponding loss in sales tax receipts in both Tennessee and Kentucky estimated at between $7.4 to $11.6 million annually.
Sorry, FT Campbell, we need that money for other things more important than your local economy.

Or how about Langley AFB which has some 742 position cuts proposed?:
The plan does not break down the 742 positions between military and civilian personnel.

"It does not mean 742 people at Langley are losing their jobs," said Capt. Erika Yepsen, an Air Force spokeswoman. "It means that 742 positions are coming off the books."
***
It should be considered "a disappointment to the local economy," but just how much remains to be seen, said Bruce Sturk, director of federal facilities support for the City of Hampton. It comes one week after the Army announced a potential cut of up to 4,200 people at Fort Eustis in Newport News should deep spending reductions return in 2016.
***
The positions cut at Langley are part of a plan to reduce 3,459 positions in the Air Force, both in the U.S. and overseas. It is designed to save $1.6 billion in the next five years, but the positions will be limited sooner than that, said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.
A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you can afford to "respond to the flow of children crossing the border."

TANSTAAFL hits the Navy, too. See Navy Cancelled New Destroyer Flight Due to Ohio Replacement Submarine Costs:
The looming hit to the shipbuilding budget from the Navy’s plan to build 12 new nuclear ballistic missile submarines resulted in the cancellation of a fourth flight of Arleigh Burke destroyers (DDG-51) as well as the controversial plan to layup 11 Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers (CG-47), the navy’s chief shipbuilder told a congressional panel in a recent hearing on cruiser and destroyer modification.

The shifts in the Navy’s large surface combatants come as the $100 billion bill for the 12 new boomers begin to take up more and more of the Navy’s shipbuilding budget — leaving less and less for other shipbuilding programs.
You know, someone has to decide - which is more important - a new bunch of destroyers we want to replace anyway or 12 new boomers? Ah, well, boomers. Sorry, there, surface Navy, but . . . make do, make do.

Got a scarcity of ships? Well then, make them deploy longer to meet the identified needs. See 8-month deployments become the 'new norm':
“Our deployments are going to be seven-and-a-half, eight months,” said Rear Adm. Brian Luther, whose staff monitors operations tempo for the chief of naval operations. “So what I think you can say is the six-month deployments will be the exception rather than the norm. And the new norm now will be the seven-and-a-half, eight-month deployments.”

Navy officials strenuously objected to that notion of routine, longer deployments two years ago, but cruises continued to creep longer.

Indeed, the strain sailors have felt in the past few years is backed up by newly released Navy data showing the fleet’s deployment pace recently spiked to record levels, a flux littered with long cruises and short turnarounds that is upping wear and tear on sailors and ships.....
Tradeoffs everywhere.

Now, like anyone else who has suffered through a budgeting process, I know that deciding priorities is hard. Very hard. Especially when you are broke. But when you are broke, you need to learn to say "no" to things you can't afford so that you can eventually say "yes" to things that you need.

The key to budgeting is deciding what you what the end result to look like ("Given the obligations we face around the world, we need 340 ships of the following types to be in place by 2020" or "While we can make do with an active army force of 440,000, we need a strong reserve component for activation on short notice and we need to pay to maintain that force.").

Budgeting requires strategic planning and risk assessment to make the numbers involved relate to reality.

Then that budget has to be sold to the funding agent - Congress. Because National Defense is written into the Constitution, it ought to have a higher priority than non-Constitutional wants. On the other hand, someone in Congress should keep the military honest in its planning and risk assessment work.

Sadly, the tradeoff many Congressmen make in the defense budgeting process is making sure their state or district get its share of the pie.

Now, if you wonder that suggested big cuts to a major base in Kentucky have anything to do with the Senate minority leader being from that state and running for re-election, you might be a little cynical. Maybe.













Interesting Listen: "Is Administrative Law Unlawful?"

Dr James Boren, testifying before Congress with a 3D flow chart of bureaucracy
Way back when I was in law school (first the earth cooled, then I went to law school), I took an administrative law course and had a lot of questions that went unanswered. Professor Philip Hamburger from Columbia Law School takes a look and ponders Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

Tom Woods interviews him for about 20 minutes here.

Yes, it may be geeky lawyer stuff, but it is an important question.

On Midrats 20 July 14 - Episode 237: Military Sealift Command - Past, Present and Future

Please join us (live!) on 20 July 14 at 5pm (DST) Eastern U.S. for Episode 237: Military Sealift Command - Past, Present and Future :


Whatever confession of maritime strategy you adhere to, there is one linchpin that all will survive or fail on - the Military Sealift Command. Our guest for the full hour to discuss the entire spectrum of issues with the MSC will be Salvatore R. Mercogliano, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History at Campbell University.

Sal is a 1989 graduate of SUNY Maritime College, with a BS in Marine Transportation. He sailed on the USNS Neosho (T-AO 143), Mohawk (T-ATF 170), Glover (T-AGFF 1), Comfort (T-AH 20) during the Persian Gulf War, and John Lenthall (T-AO 189). Ashore, he was assigned to the N3 shop for the Afloat Prepositioning Force and focused initially on Marine Corps MPF vessels, but later working on the new Army program, including the construction and conversion of the LMSRs.

In 1996, he transitioned to his academic career. Receiving a MA in Maritime

History and Nautical Archeology from East Carolina University, focused on the merchant marine in the Vietnam War. He later then went to the University of Alabama and graduated with a Ph.D. in Military and Naval History with his dissertation on entitled Sealift.


He has taught at Methodist University, East Carolina, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the U.S. Military Academy, prior to being an Assistant Professor of History with Campbell University since 2010, In addition, since 2008, he has been an Adjunct Professor at the US Merchant Marine Academy teaching a graduate level on-line course on Maritime Industry Policy.

He has been published in the Northern Mariner, Sea History, Naval History, and Proceedings.
As always, join us live if you can or pick up the show for later listening by clicking here.

Some references for our conversation:

Stars and Stripes - With Navy strained, Sealift Command crews eye greater military role

Military Sealift Command: MSC: 60 years strong (2009)

USN/MSC Photos Upper MC3 Erik Foster; Lower MC3 Dustin Knight

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

UNOSAT Global Report on Maritime Piracy: a geospatial analysis 1995-2013

From the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), UNOSAT Global Report on Maritime Piracy: a geospatial analysis 1995-2013:

Unitar Unosat Piracy 1995-2013


Disaster Prep Wednesday: Weather Terms

The last couple of days I have been plugging away at some Red Cross volunteer weather work (yes, that's why blogging has been scarce around here), and it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to explain the sort of gradient that the National Weather Service (NWS) uses to differentiate weather threat levels from "weak" to "strong."

We are going, in part, to look to the NWS Glossary for some common terms you might here on the TV or radio weather news.

Take a look at the map below and see how the terms discussed below can help you decipher what the map is telling us about the weather in the U.S.:

Source: NWS

In the case of clear weather with no threats, the NWS, shockingly, has no term for that.

The first term of interest is "Outlook" for which the NWS has two definitions:
Outlook
An outlook is used to indicate that a hazardous weather or hydrologic event may develop. It is intended to provide information to those who need considerable lead time to prepare for the event.
Outlook
A broad discussion of the weather pattern expected across any given area, generally confined to forecast periods beyond 48 hours.

The second term to be familiar with is a "Watch," which the NWS defines as:
A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so that those who need to set their plans in motion can do so.
The NWS also issues "Special Weather Statements":
A special weather statement may be issued by the NWS for hazards that have not yet reached warning or advisory status or that do not have a specific code of their own, such as widespread funnel clouds. They are also occasionally used to clear counties from severe weather watches. A common form of special weather statement is a significant weather alert. Occasionally special weather statements appear as heat advisories.
This can then be followed by an "Advisory," defined as:
Highlights special weather conditions that are less serious than a warning. They are for events that may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.
Then there is a "Warning":
A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring. A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property.
A NWS guide to "Severe Weather Terms" can be found here:

Of course, there are other weather terms for snow and really cold weather (winter weather), really hot weather, hurricanes and typhoons

Generally, though, the "watch, advisory and warning" system applies throughout the weather spectrum.

Knowing what the weather terms mean can be helpful in choosing courses of action.

By the way, if you go to weather.gov,  you can find the current and interactive version of that map.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday is Heinlein Quote Day #16

From The Door into Summer:
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
I wonder how many people would really like to go back to the "good old days?"

Well, you know, except for those who have more personal power under the old systems of claw and tooth and rigid social rules.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Fun Film: "Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor (1936)"

What can I say?

It's Friday, the world is a mess.*

We need a hero.

Time for Popeye to do his thing:





*Not an unusual situation - here's a Sheldon Harnick song that dates back about a half a century or more:






Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kenya: Al Shabaab Lurks

Interesting (and pause-giving) article from Paul Hidalgo at Foreign Affairs "Why the Showdown Between Kenyatta and Odinga is Empowering al Shabaab":
The current political upheaval and conflict in Kenya could not have been better scripted for the Islamist militant group al Shabaab. Its continued attacks have successfully pitted the country’s two top politicians, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main rival, Raila Odinga, against each other in a high-stakes game of political brinkmanship that could plunge Kenya into another toxic ethnic conflict -- exactly the kind of environment in which a group like al Shabaab can thrive.
***
Al Shabaab is relishing every moment. A divided Kenya is ideal for the militant group. With the Kenyan political elite consumed by infighting, and with security forces busy keeping the peace (or picking sides), the already porous Kenya–Somalia border would all but dissolve, giving al Shabaab fighters free reign as they strengthen their bases and increase recruitment efforts in Kenya.
***
You can read the whole thing with a free registration.

Kenya has been an ally in the Long War Against Terrorist Groups (LWATG), its disintegration into warring faction would be . . . "unhelpful."

As you can see from this old (1974) map, there is a tribal flavor to Kenya and there are a grunch of Somali refugees sitting in Kenya.

A sort of background article (from a sort of "leftist" view) from 2008 Beyond 'Tribes': Violence and Politics in Kenya:
When Nobel Prizewinning author Ngugi wa Thiong'o says that the present conflict is more about class than ethnicity, he is right. Talk of "tribes" is essentially a cover for more basic class divisions that have been exacerbated, first by colonial and more recently by corrupt governments in Kenya.
While the author points the finger at "global capitalism" as setting the table for economic chaos in Kenya, one could argue from the same set of data that the issue was the stifling of capitalism by the various governments that have held power in Kenya due to corruption and other factors, especially self enrichment by government agents through bribery:
Bribes at every level—from those collected from small business owners by impecunious police whose government pay has been siphoned off by corrupt officials up the line, to those paid by the middle class to obtain licenses of some kind, to those paid by international contractors/corporations in order to be treated preferentially in Kenyan business contracts—have also impeded the achievement of a stable prosperous economy.

Indeed, governmental corruption has contributed directly to the current breakdown of order in Kenya. With funds diverted to further enrich the rulers, the government has left its citizens at the mercy of all forms of violence. Several years ago in northern Kenya there was a cross-border attack from Ethiopia caused by intra-clan camel and cattle rustling that resembled strongly the better publicized Darfur raids. The feud resulted in a massacre in which an Ethiopian branch of a clan, related to those attacked, destroyed a Kenyan village, killing all of its inhabitants. One of the victims had the presence of mind to call the police on his cell phone, but it took three hours for the police to arrive because they did not have a vehicle. Money for such things usually disappears before reaching those whose job it is to keep order. The only survivors were two persons buried alive in a pile of bodies.
It hardly seems fair to blame "international capitalism" for every corrupt official who stands in the path of local business owners making their way. Be that as it may, the author does note:
Fast forward to post-independence and contemporary Kenya. When Kenyatta followed ethnic preferences in the redistribution of land that took place after independence, much of the land went to a small Kikuyu elite. Some established or took over highland plantations and continued to employ locals as labor. President Moi, in particular, during his long reign shamelessly created, manipulated, and advertised "tribal" loyalties in an effort to control the population and enrich certain powerful social groups.
So, the local government decides to exploit a system that allows a small minority to push down larger groups for the minorities benefit? I think there is a term for this - "oligarchy"

CIA World Factbook report on Kenya's economy:
Kenya has been hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low. Low infrastructure investment threatens Kenya's long-term position as the largest East African economy, although the Kenyatta administration has prioritized infrastructure development. International financial lenders and donors remain important to Kenya's economic growth and development. Unemployment is high at around 40%. The country has chronic budget deficits. Inflationary pressures and sharp currency depreciation peaked in early 2012 but have since abated following low global food and fuel prices and monetary interventions by the Central Bank. Recent terrorism in Kenya and the surrounding region threatens Kenya's important tourism industry. Kenya, in conjunction with neighboring Ethiopia and South Sudan, intends to begin construction on a transport corridor and oil pipeline into the port of Lamu in 2014.
So, you've got some 45 million Kenyans, (Christian 82.5% (Protestant 47.4%, Catholic 23.3%, other 11.8%), Muslim 11.1%, Traditionalists 1.6%, other 1.7%, none 2.4%, unspecified 0.7% (2009 census)), some goodly number who just might be unhappy with their government for reasons having little to do with al Shabaab's agenda, but who might not be disinclined to have things shaken up a bit.

How much that "bit" is - well, al Shabaab lurks.

By the way, there is another article at Foreign Affairs now worth contemplating, State of Imbalance: Why Countries Break Up
by Benjamin Miller:
There seems to be little connecting recent violence in the former Soviet space to ongoing bloodshed in the Middle East. In one place, a neo-imperialist power is attempting to reassert itself in a region that it ruled not so long ago. In the other, sect-based militant groups are grabbing up territory by the mile.

Even so, both conflicts spring from a common source, as do a host of other major conflicts around the world. In each, there is a mismatch between state boundaries and national identities -- a state-to-nation imbalance. The state is a set of institutions that administer a certain territory; the nation is made up of people who, in their view, share common traits (language, history, culture, religion) that entitle them to self-rule.
Are we simply kiving in a time of a realignment of states and national identities? Read the whole thing.







Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Strait of Malacca/South China Sea Fuel Pirates: How to Beat Them?

In recent months, there has been a seeming upsurge in the hijacking of small tankers near the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea (SoM/SCS). These hijacking result in the transfer of cargo from these hijacked ships to other vessels. The most recent case is reported as Pirates Hijack Product Tanker in South China Sea:
Another commercial ship appears to have fallen victim of pirate attacks. Namely, Honduras registered product tanker Moresby 9, carrying 2200 metric tonne of Marine Gas Oil (MGO) was boarded by unknown number of perpetrators on July 4th at about 1938 hrs (local time) approximately 34 nautical miles from the Anambas Islands, Indonesia, ReCAAP ISC said.
***
This is believed to be the seventh attack in the region since April.
As others have noted, this sort of activity has a lengthy history in the region, but seems to be on the uptick.

With that in mind, SeaShip in Focus has a recent article on fighting this threat in the SoM/SCS ares at "How to beat the pirates":
Piracy in Southeast Asia is nothing new. What is new, however, is the jump in numbers and the very specific targeting of certain types of ships.

This spike in hijacking and cargo theft has been brought about by the black market demand for marine fuel oil in Southeast Asia, says Steve McKenzie, a senior analyst at the UK firm, Dryad Maritime. *** The common denominator for all of these hijackings and cargo theft incidents this year has been Singapore.***

“The stealing of oil products in the region is targeted product theft, which results in the stolen cargo being sold on the black market,” says Gerry Northwood, the coo of security firm, GoAGT.
***
“We assess that these crimes will continue unabated until the black market in marine fuel oil is curtailed and the crime syndicates who are controlling the gangs who carry out the crimes are dealt with,” the Dryad analyst reckons.
***
The piracy model currently used in Southeast Asia is very similar to that used by Nigerian gangs, who in recent years have been hijacking large product tankers across West Africa and then stealing fuel oil. These crimes are intelligence led and well-coordinated.
***
So then, what’s the way to deal with this scourge?

GoAGT’s Northwood admits that finding a way to solve to the maritime criminality and piracy problem in Southeast Asia is not going to be straightforward.

“Most of the incidents are occurring inside territorial waters, which makes the legal use of weapons as a means of deterrent very difficult to achieve without the enlistment of government military or navy,” he explains.

The primary solution is to end the black market for the stolen cargo, says Dryad’s McKenzie. The syndicate that is controlling the gangs must have good connections within the fuel business in Singapore, he reckons. If these links were broken it would be more difficult to target specific vessels.

". . .until the black market . . . is curtailed" -- that may be a very long time.

As you read through the article, you will note that some of the passive/defensive suggestions set out in the anti-Somali piracy Best Management Practices 4 are suggested.

It is also worth remembering that Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia reached some agreements regarding pursuit of pirates in the Strait of Malacca in the past. Some of these issues arise from the fact that there often is no "high seas" ( as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)) between the territorial waters of adjacent states in the Strait and in and around the islands that dot the area involved in these hijackings.

Whoa! There are limits on pirate hunting!
However, there are issues outside of the agreement area - as discussed here and in other posts, under the UNCLOS Part VII in which hijackers can commit their acts in the territorial waters of one state and escape "hot pursuit" by that state's navy/coast guard by sliding across in the territorial waters of a neighboring state:
Article 111. Right of hot pursuit

1. The hot pursuit of a foreign ship may be undertaken when the competent authorities of the coastal State have good reason to believe that the ship has violated the laws and regulations of that State. Such pursuit must be commenced when the foreign ship or one of its boats is within the internal waters, the archipelagic waters, the territorial sea or the contiguous zone of the pursuing State, and may only be continued ouside the territorial sea or the contiguous zone if the pursuit has not been interrupted. It is not necessary that, at the time when the foreign ship within the territorial sea or the contiguous zone receives the order to stop, the ship giving the order should likewise be within the territorial sea or the contiguous zone. If the foreign ship is within a contiguous zone, as defined in article 33, the pursuit may only be undertaken if there has been a violation of the rights for the protection of which the zone was established.

2. The right of hot pursuit shall apply mutatis mutandis to violations in the exclusive economic zone or on the continental shelf, including safety zones around continental shelf installations, of the laws and regulations of the coastal State applicable in accordance with this Convention to the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf, including such safety zones.

3. The right of hot pursuit ceases as soon as the ship pursued enters the territorial sea of its own State or of a third State.
Since the hijackings often take place within the territorial waters of a state and not on the "high seas" they are not really "piracy" under the terms of UNCLOS but "sea robbery" or even simple theft or larceny not subject to such international law as there is, but to the laws of the states involved.

In short, it can be quite the mess. I suppose the problems of sorting all this out make "curtailing" the black market seem easy by comparison. It does presuppose that there is no cooperation from -uh- associations of persons powerful enough to provide top cover for the sale of the hijacked cargo.

Better communications, frequent security patrols and naval/private escorts for likely targets may be required to slow down these robbers.

Gulf of Guinea Pirates: Use of Private Armed Guards Restricted in Nigerian Waters

With a hat tip to Tanker Master, this report from the Gulf of Guinea - "Nigeria bans armed guards on merchant vessels" as reported by maritime security company Gulf of Aden Group Transits:
The latest security advisory for Nigeria issued by the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) effectively renders the use of armed guards commercially placed on merchant vessels illegal and is highly likely to have major repercussions for the ship owner and the charterer should they be caught with un-authorized armed police or marine police on board says leading maritime security company GoAGT.

According to BIMCO there have been a number of ‘blue on blue’ incidents in the last six months and the industry as a whole is concerned about the safety of crew transiting the region. The warning comes exactly a month after a merchant vessel was boarded near Port Harcourt, which had its cargo stolen whilst the crew were held hostage, despite a Nigerian Naval vessel being in the vicinity.

Nick Davis, CEO of GoAGT, said: "BIMCO have taken a strong, proactive stance on this issue. The incident a month ago was entirely preventable with the use of an unarmed advisor and a good radar lookout. The crew were very lucky not to have suffered injury, had they been able to react quicker and retreated to the citadel the situation would have diffused quickly. The primary concern should be the safety of the personnel, theft in the Gulf of Guinea is unfortunately something ship owners and managers have to deal with, with an advisor on board vessels can avoid a hostage situation during a boarding."

He went on to say: "Merchant vessels approaching Nigeria from within the Gulf of Guinea must understand that the Nigerian Navy are the only authorized body to offer protection via escort vessels only, and not with armed guards on client vessels. The option for Joint Task Force or Police protection is only available within the riverine deltas and not on the high seas. There is a clear and present danger to the safety of the crew with the only effective solution being to employ an advisor who can safely get the crew to the citadel, which must be well-equipped with communications equipment.

"Currently the use of armed guards in the region falls into a legal grey area. Ship owners and managers being offered so-called 'authorised' armed protection within the Gulf of Guinea by Private Maritime Security Companies are well advised to seek advice from BIMCO, their flag state and the local Nigerian embassy or consulate for the latest advice and protocol prior to parting with money for a service that could have severe operational interruption to normal trading."

Nick Davis said: "There is no satisfactory way for managers and owners to perform due diligence on locally sourced guards. It has been reported in the past that incidents of product theft or kidnap have been targeted against vessels carrying guards. Due to the high risk of operating in this area, ship owners and managers must do all that is in their power to ensure the crew remain safe with thorough training, enhanced watch keeping and a well prepared plan of action in case of an incident."
Sure, Mr. Davis is looking for work for his company's advisers, but he makes excellent points about the "grayness" of the situation and the need for great care in planning port calls in Nigerian waters.

An alternative solution to the ban, is some sort of "non-corrupt" licensing program for local armed guards that might reduce the risk of the identified problems. On the other hand, we are talking Nigeria here.

Be very, very cautious. These are not issues of international waters but of Nigerian law.

I assume more ships will be loitering off the coast out beyond Nigerian territorial waters (and thus beyond the reach of Nigerian law) and making a dash for port when necessary. Armed guard teams in "barracks" vessels who can board and guard ships at sea and then be dropped off before the run in may be the ticket.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Iran and the Pirates of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and so forth

What follows are a series of reports from FARS News, an Iranian news channel on the success of the Iranian Navy in fight pirates. Compare and contrast:

Oct 6, 2013: Navy Thwarts Pirate Attacks on Iranian Oil Tanker
An attempt by pirates to hijack an Iranian oil tanker in international waters was foiled by the timely action of the Iranian warships present in the region.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy for Operations Admiral Siyavash Jarreh announced that the Navy's 27th fleet of warship saved the Iranian tanker from pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden.

"The Iranian oil tanker was attacked by a pirate boat last night but their devilish act failed due to the timely action of the 27th flotilla of warships and the pirates fled the scene," he added.

Yet, the admiral said, the pirates returned after reinvigorating their forces on eight boats but the Iranian fleet of warships rushed to the scene and forced pirates to flee by staging successful defensive operations and a heavy firepower, he added.

"The Iranian oil tanker was escorted by the Navy flotilla through the waterway and it continued its path towards its destination fully safely," Jarreh said.

In relevant remarks late September, a senior Iranian Commander said that the Iranian fleets of warships deployed in the Gulf of Aden have escorted a total number of 1,538 cargo ships and oil tankers during their mission in the waterway.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's Navy has escorted 1,538 cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden so far," Commander of the Iranian Army's 4th Naval Zone Admiral Khordad Hakimi told FNA in the Northern port city of Anzali.

He also said that pirates' attempts to hijack 112 cargo ships and oil tankers in international waters have been aborted due to the timely action of the Iranian warships deployed in the region.

Oct 12, 2013: Navy Repels Pirates' Attack on Iranian LNG Carrying Vessel:
An attempt by pirates to hijack an Iranian vessel carrying Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) near the Gulf of Aden off the coasts of Somalia, was foiled by the timely action of the Iranian warships present in the region.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy for Operations Admiral Siyavash Jarreh said armed pirates on a speedboat attacked an Iranian vessel carrying LNG on Friday, but they had to flee after Iranian naval forces took swift action to repel their attack.

The commander added that the incident happened at Ras Al Mukalla near the Gulf of Aden.

He said the Iranian vessel, escorted by the Navy’s 27th fleet, safely continued with its journey.

On Sunday, Admiral Jarreh announced that the Navy's 27th fleet of warship saved the Iranian tanker from pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden.

Yet, the admiral said, the pirates returned after reinvigorating their forces on eight boats but the Iranian fleet of warships rushed to the scene and forced pirates to flee by staging successful defensive operations and a heavy firepower.

"The Iranian oil tanker was escorted by the Navy flotilla through the waterway and it continued its path towards its destination fully safely," Admiral Jarreh said.
Oct 20, 2013: Iranian Navy Warships Repel Pirate Attack on LPG Vessel:
An attempt by pirates to hijack an Iranian vessel carrying Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) near the Gulf of Aden off the coasts of Somalia, was foiled by the timely action of the Iranian warships present in the region, a Navy commander announced on Sunday, warning that pirate attacks against Iranian vessels have increased.

"This morning, the brave forces of the 27th fleet of warships succeeded in saving the LPG-carrying Iranian ship named BOOTANON after a few hours of clashes with the pirates," Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy for Operations Admiral Siyavash Jarreh said on Sunday.

He said that the Iranian vessel was attacked by 8 pirate boats as it was passing through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, but the timely action of the Iranian flotilla of warships saved the vessel.

Jarreh voiced the concern that pirate attacks on Iranian vessels have recently increased in the Gulf of Aden.

In relevant remarks late September, Commander of the Iranian Army's 4th Naval Zone Admiral Khordad Hakimi told FNA in the Northern port city of Anzali, "The Islamic Republic of Iran's Navy has escorted 1,538 cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden so far."

He also said that pirates' attempts to hijack 112 cargo ships and oil tankers in international waters have been aborted due to the timely action of the Iranian warships deployed in the region.

Hakimi referred to the presence of the Iranian Navy's 27th flotilla of warships in the high seas to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates, and said the flotilla which is comprised of the Khark helicopter carrier and Sabalan destroyer has berthed in Sudan.

He called the Iranian Navy as an influential force, and said, "The Navy enjoys effective power in safeguarding domestic and international interests."

The Iranian Navy in August dispatched its 27th flotilla of warships to the high seas to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.
Nov 10, 2013: Iranian Cargo Ships Rescued by Navy Warships in Gulf of Aden:
A number of cargo vessels voyaging the Gulf of Aden were saved from pirates’ attacks by the Iranian flotilla of warships deployed in the region, a Navy commander announced on Sunday.

“The pirates attacked the Iranian cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden in two stages during the last three days,” Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy for Operations Admiral Siyavash Jarreh said.

“In the first stage, 12 speed boats belonging to the pirates, attacked Tour 2 oil tanker near the Bab al-Mandab Strait in the Red Sea but they fled the scene after the timely action of the Navy’s special operational forces and the escort team,” he added.

Jarreh said that an Iranian oil tanker and a bulk carrier were also rescued yesterday and today, respectively by the swift reaction the Iranian warships and their heavy firepower.

Senior Iranian Navy commanders have said that they normally shoot warning shots to scare off pirates in such scenes since they do not intend to inflict casualties on them, adding that they have almost always been successful in doing so. "But we would take tougher action if we need to," they added.

In relevant remarks late September, Commander of the Iranian Army's 4th Naval Zone Admiral Khordad Hakimi told FNA in the Northern port city of Anzali, "The Islamic Republic of Iran's Navy has escorted 1,538 cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden so far."

He also said that pirates' attempts to hijack 112 cargo ships and oil tankers in international waters have been aborted due to the timely action of the Iranian warships deployed in the region.

Hakimi referred to the presence of the Iranian Navy's 27th flotilla of warships in the high seas to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates, and said the flotilla which is comprised of the Khark helicopter carrier and Sabalan destroyer has berthed in Sudan.

He called the Iranian Navy as an influential force, and said, "The Navy enjoys effective power in safeguarding domestic and international interests."
Jan 8, 2014: Navy Thwarts Pirate Attacks on Iranian Oil Tanker:
An attempt by pirates to hijack an Iranian oil tanker in international waters was foiled by the timely action of the Iranian warships present in the region.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy for Operations Admiral Siyavash Jarreh announced on Wednesday that the Navy's 28th fleet of warship saved the Iranian tanker from pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden.

"The Iranian oil tanker was attacked by 12 pirate boats this morning but they failed due to the timely action of the 28th flotilla of warships and the pirates fled the scene," he added.

The admiral underlined that the Iranian oil tanker was escorted by the Navy flotilla through the waterway and continued its path towards its destination fully safely.

In relevant remarks last month, a senior Iranian commander praised the exceptionally good performance of the country's naval forces for maintaining security to the international waters by escorting thousands of vessels in the high seas.

“In the last three years, around 3,000 cargo ships and oil tankers have been escorted by the Navy’s commandos and vessels,” Commander of the Iranian Navy’s Missile Program Admiral Ali Vafadar told FNA in December.

He also said that pirates' attempts to hijack 147 cargo ships and oil tankers in international waters have been aborted due to the timely action of the Iranian warships deployed in the region.

Vafadar said that the Iranian naval forces have also managed to seize control of a number of pirate boats and vessels, arrest their crews and transferred them to Iran to stand trial for their crimes.
Jan 10, 2014: Navy Thwarts Pirate Attack on Iranian Cargo Ship:
An attempt by pirates to hijack an Iranian cargo ship in international waters was foiled by the timely action of the Iranian warships present in the region.

“Iranian freighter came under attack in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday morning after several armed people on board eight boats approached the ship,” Senior Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said.
Looks like a Spanish Galicia class LPD to me

The admiral noted that the pirates fled the scene when the Iranian Navy warships arrived there.

In a similar incident, the Navy saved an Iranian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy for Operations Admiral Siyavash Jarreh announced on Wednesday that the Navy's 28th fleet of warship saved the Iranian tanker from pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden.

"The Iranian oil tanker was attacked by 12 pirate boats this morning but they failed due to the timely action of the 28th flotilla of warships and the pirates fled the scene," he added.

The admiral underlined that the Iranian oil tanker was escorted by the Navy flotilla through the waterway and continued its path towards its destination fully safely.

In relevant remarks last month, a senior Iranian commander praised the exceptionally good performance of the country's naval forces for maintaining security to the international waters by escorting thousands of vessels in the high seas.

“In the last three years, around 3,000 cargo ships and oil tankers have been escorted by the Navy’s commandos and vessels,” Commander of the Iranian Navy’s Missile Program Admiral Ali Vafadar told FNA in December.(best part of this particular "article" is the use of the nearby photo to illustrate it - some of you might recognize that ship - and it is not Iranian)
Feb 22, 2014: Navy Thwarts Pirate Attacks on Iranian Trade Vessel in Red Sea:
An attempt by pirates to hijack an Iranian cargo vessel in international waters was foiled by the timely action of Iran’s warships present in the region.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy for Operations Admiral Siyavash Jarreh announced on Saturday that the Navy’s 29th fleet of warships saved the Iranian trade vessel from pirate attacks in the Red Sea.

"The Iranian cargo vessel was attacked by 7 pirate boats this morning, but they failed due to the timely action of the 29th flotilla of warships, which made the pirates flee the scene," he added.

The Admiral underlined that the Iranian cargo ship was, then, escorted by the Navy flotilla through the waterway and continued its path towards its destination fully safely.

In relevant remarks in December, a senior Iranian commander praised the exceptionally good performance of the country’s naval forces for maintaining security to the international waters by escorting thousands of vessels in the high seas.

“In the last three years, around 3,000 cargo ships and oil tankers have been escorted by the Navy’s commandos and vessels,” Commander of the Iranian Navy’s Missile Program Admiral Ali Vafadar told FNA at the time.

He also said that pirates' attempts to hijack 147 cargo ships and oil tankers in international waters have been aborted due to the timely action of the Iranian warships deployed in the region.
Mar 4, 2014: Navy Thwarts Pirate Attack on Iranian Oil Tanker in Red Sea:
An attempt by pirates to hijack an Iranian oil tanker in international waters was foiled by the timely action of Iran’s warships present in the region.

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced on Tuesday that the Navy’s 29th fleet of warships has saved the Iranian oil tanker from the pirate attacks in the Red Sea.

“Two groups of pirates who were attempting to attack an Iranian oil tanker in Bab El-Mandeb Strait faced the Navy’s 29th Flotilla which is present in the Red Sea and fled the scene,” Admiral Sayyari said.

The Admiral underlined that the Iranian oil tanker was, then, escorted by the Navy flotilla through the waterway and continued its path towards its destination fully safely.

Last month, Admiral Sayyari announced that his forces have foiled tens of attacks by international pirates on the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers.

He noted that the Iranian Navy warships have escorted some 2,000 merchant vessels and freighters in the same period.

In relevant remarks in December, a senior Iranian commander praised the exceptionally good performance of the country's naval forces for maintaining security to the international waters by escorting thousands of vessels in the high seas.

“In the last three years, around 3,000 cargo ships and oil tankers have been escorted by the Navy’s commandos and vessels,” Commander of the Iranian Navy’s Missile Program Admiral Ali Vafadar told FNA.
June 28, 2014: Iranian Warships Rescue Oil Tanker in Red Sea:
Iranian Navy warships rescued an oil tanker from a pirate attack in the Red Sea.

An Iranian oil tanker came under attack by eight pirate boats, but the vessel was rescued due to the timely action of the Iranian Navy warships, the Navy's Public Relations Office reported on Saturday.

The Iranian vessel was then escorted to a safe zone by the Iranian fleet.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

All photos from the FARS News Agency website. I highlighted some interesting -um- variations.

Gulf of Guinea Pirates: A Boko Haram Connection?

A CNN investigative report suggests there is in Kidnapped captain told ransoms may go to Boko Haram:
Yan St-Pierre, CEO of Modern Security Consulting Group, said his contacts believe Boko Haram, once confined strictly to the northern parts of Nigeria, is benefiting from the increase in piracy along the west coast of Africa. But the group is perhaps not directly carrying out the kidnappings itself.

"So when people are asking, is there a link between Boko Haram and piracy in Nigeria, it's not the one they usually expect it to be,'' said St-Pierre, whose firm was not involved in the Thomas case. "It's one that is not necessarily logistical and operational. It's one that is more subtle. Essentially they will probably provide personnel every now and then, but it's not a fixed structure. So we are talking more (about) providing means to wash the money, to clean it. To make sure the smuggling routes, personnel, sex slaves, drugs, weapons above all else, these pirates need weapons.

"So if Boko Haram provided the weapons in advance for example and said, 'Well we will get a cut of the ransom,' which is standard policy within these groups within the region in general, this would make absolute sense to say, well the ransom money that was paid for the captain ended up at the very least partially into Boko Haram's hands, quite probably as a payment for services delivered."
"Subtle" connections . . .

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Saturday is Heinlein Quote Day #15

From Chapter 35 of The Puppet Masters
'... [T]he price of freedom is the willingness to do sudden battle anywhere, any time and with utter recklessness.'
See here and contemplate how it makes the cost of taking away freedom very high.

Or, as set out in another context: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Terrorist Hazards


There are all those natural disasters to prepare for - and disasters caused by accidents - but, sadly, there are also those events that can be caused by terrorists that we need to prepare for. At Ready.gov they call these "terrorist hazards" and list 6 potential threats:
  1. Biological;
  2. Chemical;
  3. Cyber;
  4. Explosions;
  5. Nuclear Blast; and
  6. Radiogical Dispersion Device
Preparation for all these begins with the basic disaster preparation steps:
Build an Emergency Supply Kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries.
Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

For biological and chemical acts, for the most part you want to shelter in place until an
"all clear" is given. HEPA filters can help screen out biologics. For chemical events, you will want to turn off that ventilation system and use duct tape and plastic sheeting from your emergency kit can help to seal doors and other air entry points until you get that "all clear":
If you are instructed to remain in your home or office building, you should:

- Close doors and windows and turn off all ventilation, including furnaces, air conditioners, vents, and fans.
- Seek shelter in an internal room and take your disaster supplies kit.
- Seal the room with duct tape and plastic sheeting.
- Listen to your radio for instructions from authorities.
Cyber attacks can run the gamut from those threatening national security to those that are most likely to affect you and your family:
Transportation, power, and other services may be disrupted by large scale cyber incidents. The extent of the disruption is highly uncertain as it will be determined by many unknown factors such as the target and size of the incident.
Photo by Christopher Mardorf
In such cases, many things not connected to the internet may continue to function normally (your car, for example) your lights, heat/air conditioning, water and other things may be impacted. Once again, that emergency kit is vital.

Most terrorist driven explosions will not be directed to individual dwellings but at place that can maximize the "terror effect" or damage infrastructure - which might include damaging power and water structures:
There can be significant numbers of casualties and/or damage to buildings and the infrastructure. So employers need up-to-date information about any medical needs you may have and on how to contact your designated beneficiaries.
- Heavy law enforcement involvement at local, state and federal levels follows a terrorist attack due to the event's criminal nature.
- Health and mental health resources in the affected communities can be strained to their limits, maybe even overwhelmed.
- Extensive media coverage, strong public fear and international implications and consequences can continue for a prolonged period.
- Workplaces and schools may be closed, and there may be restrictions on domestic and international travel.
Photo by Benjamin Crossley
- You and your family or household may have to evacuate an area, avoiding roads blocked for your safety.
- Clean-up may take many months.
In event of a nuclear blast, if you are in a safe place away from the blast, the best thing to do may be to shelter in place and await instructions:
- Stay where you are, even if you are separated from your family. Inside is the safest place for all people in the impacted area. It can save your life.
- During the time with the highest radiation levels it is safest to stay inside, sheltered away from the radioactive material outside.
- Radiation levels are extremely dangerous after a nuclear detonation but the levels reduce rapidly.
- Expect to stay inside for at least 24 hours unless told otherwise by authorities.
Got a workplace Emergency Supply Kit?

Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD)
Terrorist use of an RDD — often called “dirty nuke” or “dirty bomb” — is considered far more likely than use of a nuclear explosive device. An RDD combines a conventional explosive device — such as a bomb — with radioactive material. It is designed to scatter dangerous and sub-lethal amounts of radioactive material over a general area. Such RDDs appeal to terrorists because they require limited technical knowledge to build and deploy compared to a nuclear device. Also, the radioactive materials in RDDs are widely used in medicine, agriculture, industry and research, and are easier to obtain than weapons grade uranium or plutonium.

The primary purpose of terrorist use of an RDD is to cause psychological fear and economic disruption. Some devices could cause fatalities from exposure to radioactive materials. Depending on the speed at which the area of the RDD detonation was evacuated or how successful people were at sheltering-in-place, the number of deaths and injuries from an RDD might not be substantially greater than from a conventional bomb explosion.
Once in your shelter:
If you have time, turn off ventilation and heating systems, close windows, vents, fireplace dampers, exhaust fans, and clothes dryer vents. Retrieve your disaster supplies kit and a battery-powered radio and take them to your shelter room.

Seek shelter immediately, preferably underground or in an interior room of a building, placing as much distance and dense shielding as possible between you and the outdoors where the radioactive material may be.

Seal windows and external doors that do not fit snugly with duct tape to reduce infiltration of radioactive particles. Plastic sheeting will not provide shielding from radioactivity nor from blast effects of a nearby explosion.

Listen for official instructions and follow directions.