U.S. efforts to combat radiological terrorism post 9/11 : inviting the next catastrophe
Kentis, Samantha E.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. This study assesses U.S. Government (USG) efforts to combat radiological terrorism post-9/11 in order to determine whether a disjuncture exists between the significance of the threat and the USG level of effort to address it, and if so, why this is the case. The objective is to help readers understand how the federal government can better protect the American people from a radiological attack.; The research builds upon unclassified risk assessments from the U.S. Intelligence Community and a foundation of literature from the academic and scientific communities that demonstrates a significant radiological risk to which the United States is highly vulnerable. The existing body of literature, however, generally focuses on the technical aspects of the threat (i.e., material availability, technical feasibility, and effects) rather than the overall level of effort on risk mitigation - and has not led to a policy consensus. No one has taken a systematic look to see if USG operational activities are effective at reducing risks and vulnerabilities. My study attempts to add value by filling this gap. I conducted an in-depth examination of federal radiological counterterrorism efforts post-9/11 in order to evaluate how well these efforts are addressing the threat and why they may be falling short.; The findings show that a disjuncture does in fact exist for a number of reasons. Current operational activities are not getting the job done, as intra- and interagency mission space conflicts and inadequate funding have caused major deficiencies across the areas of prevention and response. Rather than mandating an effective, concerted government effort to develop solutions, strategic-level disinterest due to a focus on the nuclear (versus the radiological) threat has added to the problem. Ultimately, the absence of both a presidential and congressional mandate and associated funds has left departments and agencies unable to overcome bureaucratic obstacles that stand in the way of truly effective radiological counterterrorism efforts.; The scope of this study is limited to U.S. efforts on the radiological threat. Additional research involving a direct comparison of all ongoing radiological counterterrorism efforts with nuclear (and even chemical and biological) counterterrorism efforts would be useful, as would an international comparison of U.S. priorities and activities with those of other countries.
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