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Protecting People and Buildings from Terrorism: Technology Transfer for Blast-effects Mitigation Executive Summary Concerned with the vulnerability of U.S. civilian and military personnel to terrorist bombing attacks, the U.S. Congress directed the Department of Defense to undertake a comprehensive research and testing program aimed at protecting people in buildings from such attacks. The Blast Mitigation for Structures Program was initiated in 1997 and has produced a large volume of experimental and analytical data that will permit the design of new, more robust buildings as well as the development of methods to retrofit a large number of vulnerable existing structures. The Blast Mitigation for Structures Program has involved numerous defense and civilian government agencies, private contractors, and product manufacturers (and to a lesser extent, universities) in a cooperative effort to identify needs and develop solutions. Overall, the Committee for Oversight and Assessment of Blast-effects and Related Research believes that the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program offers a great opportunity to save lives and reduce injuries resulting from a terrorist bombing. The full benefits of the program will be realized, however, only if the results are widely disseminated and necessary improvements implemented. The committee has focused on a process that would use existing institutional infrastructures (i.e., building code and standards-writing organizations, professional and technical organizations, universities, and research centers) to disseminate knowledge. The committee believes that technology transfer for this purpose falls within the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) mission and that the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program could readily adapt the model already developed
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Protecting People and Buildings from Terrorism: Technology Transfer for Blast-effects Mitigation and used by the earthquake engineering community. Issues exist regarding the security of sensitive information, but the committee believes that they are resolvable and should not become an impediment to the effective, timely, and necessary transfer of information. As the committee was completing its work, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at the direction of the President, established the Office of National Preparedness at FEMA to serve as the focal point for the federal coordination and implementation of preparedness, training, exercise, and consequence management programs for dealing with the threat of weapons of mass destruction. The committee notes that FEMA serves as a clearinghouse for hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness information developed under the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (among others), provides training to first responders and emergency services personnel for a variety of natural and technological hazards, and supplies technical guidance in hazard-resistant design to engineers and architects. The committee believes that the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program could be a valuable informational and training resource for this new FEMA organization and that FEMA could assist DTRA with technology transfer activities. In any event, this is a potentially powerful governmental partnership that should be explored. CONCLUSIONS The committee reached the following conclusions regarding what it believes are the most pressing and fundamental questions related to the dissemination of blast-effects information. In light of world conditions, as amplified by the events of September 11, 2001, that suggest a continuing terrorist threat to the United States and its citizens, the engineering and architectural professions have an ongoing need for blast-effects design guidance. Promoting technology transfer of the results of the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program falls within the mission of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to “. . . safeguard America and its friends from weapons of mass destruction.” DTRA has tended to focus on military applications of the outputs of the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program, but the committee believes that to achieve maximum effectiveness in realizing the goal of “protecting people in buildings,” the results of the program should be targeted to nondefense government agencies and the civilian design and building community, i.e., the nonspecialists in protective design.
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Protecting People and Buildings from Terrorism: Technology Transfer for Blast-effects Mitigation Because interaction with the client/owner in a civilian building project most often occurs through the architect/engineer—and it is often left to the architect/engineer to explain the design philosophy inherent in blast-resistant construction, its potential multihazard benefits, and cost tradeoffs—architects/engineers have a critical role to play in the practical diffusion of new knowledge and approaches for blast-effects mitigation. The requisite level of knowledge will vary depending on the role of the engineer or architect in an individual project and the nature of that project. However, at a minimum, all building design professionals involved with buildings potentially subject to blast effects should be familiar with how structures are affected by explosions (loading and response of structural and nonstructural systems), blast-effects mitigation measures, and basic life safety considerations. Specific design problems may require higher levels of knowledge and some may be addressed only by a specialized blast engineer. This should not be construed to imply that all blast problems are the province of the specialist; qualified design professionals properly guided by up-to-date information can adequately address many blast-related issues. Engineers and architects involved with blast-resistant design require information that will allow them to translate security objectives for a given facility into performance requirements for the building and site. Performance requirements must be the product of a multiobjective decision process that includes risk and cost factors. Essential to developing design solutions that will achieve the performance requirements is knowledge of such varied topics as, for example, the purpose and value of standoff;1 the effectiveness of vehicle barriers and other methods for screening the building, its entrances and exits, and its occupants from potential attackers; the performance of reinforcement splices, column wrappings, and other structural retrofit methods; the performance of glazing materials, window systems, vents, and doors; the design, selection, and arrangement of interior, nonstructural features such as furniture, office equipment, and overhead fixtures, to prevent them from becoming agents of additional damage or injury; and the means of facilitating the rescue of the building’s occupants in the event of an attack. There is also a need for simplified design guidance for lesser hardening and moderate hardening levels of blast-resistant design. 1 Standoff is generally understood to be the distance between the detonation point of a bomb and the target building.
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Protecting People and Buildings from Terrorism: Technology Transfer for Blast-effects Mitigation Information sources can and should take many forms. These will include published conference papers, technical letters and manuals, Web pages, workshops, symposia, and short courses. Technology transfer is an ongoing process; to be successful it must be continuously evaluated and updated to match the needs of the user with the capabilities of emerging technology. Both will evolve over time. Significant work in structural systems and materials that has been underway for many years in U.S. research universities could advance the objectives of the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program, but the program has not taken full advantage of these capabilities. The private sector is much more cost sensitive than the military or civilian federal sectors. Cost and market demands are very likely to determine what, if anything, is done to protect commercial buildings and their occupants from bombing attacks. In the committee’s judgment, the cost sensitivity of the private sector can best be addressed by a multihazard approach to blast-effects mitigation, particularly in the case of building retrofits, that will provide collateral protection against other hazards such as earthquakes, extreme wind events, fire, and flood. There is a need to develop a decision framework that will permit military installations, government agencies, and commercial building owners to implement necessary security and blast- and natural hazard-mitigation practices based on a balanced assessment of threats, building vulnerabilities, acceptable risks, and available resources. This framework should include accurate and up-to-date cost-estimating information for various levels of protection that can be applied to both new and retrofit construction. With appropriate precautions, the design guidance for blast-effects mitigation that would be most useful to the engineering and architectural communities can be disseminated in a form that will not compromise sensitive information and aid terrorists. RECOMMENDATIONS The committee believes that the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is uniquely positioned to make its mission objective of “protecting people in buildings” a reality. The agency has carried out a focused and valuable program of research and testing, engineering analysis, and computational modeling to supplement a formidable body of existing knowledge on blast effects and blast-resistant construction. Although much work still remains to be done, much of value has already been completed. However, the full benefits of this effort will be realized only if the technology is
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Protecting People and Buildings from Terrorism: Technology Transfer for Blast-effects Mitigation implemented, and this requires that the information developed be made broadly available to all those in a position to utilize it. For this reason, the committee offers the following recommendations for technology transfer of the results of the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program. DTRA should take a leadership position in facilitating the implementation of the comprehensive technology transfer strategy articulated throughout this report. This includes the development and dissemination (for unrestricted release) of specific products (e.g., design and cost-estimating guides, assessment tools, databases); encouragement of the presentation and publication of research results and potential applications in mainstream civilian (as opposed to defense-oriented) engineering and architectural conferences and journals; support of venues for the meeting and interaction of researchers and practitioners such as technical committees, conference sessions, symposia, and workshops; support of a product database of materials linked to blast performance specifications; and maintenance of outreach services through print or Webbased newsletters. The committee believes that technology transfer is an integral component of the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program and that sufficient funds should be set aside by DTRA or others to establish and sustain the effort. DTRA should contract with an organization familiar with technology transfer to manage the activity on DTRA’s behalf. Organizations that have performed similar functions include the Applied Technology Council (earthquake and wind engineering), DoD information analysis centers such as the Shock and Vibration Information Analysis Center (SAVIAC) and DTRA’s Nuclear Weapons Effects Information Analysis Center (DTRIAC), and several private contractors that operate information clearinghouses for government programs. The Construction Criteria Base (CCB) is published quarterly on CD-ROM by the National Institute of Building Sciences and contains construction-related documents from 22 federal agencies and 110 industry organizations. The CCB may be useful in making blast-mitigation technology available to a wide audience of design professionals. The Blast Mitigation for Structures Program should survey and evaluate relevant ongoing university research with the objective of identifying and synthesizing what may be of value for improving the performance of buildings in a blast environment and also consider universities for direct participation in the research effort. The Blast Mitigation for Structures Program technology transfer effort should emphasize techniques and products for the retrofit of
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Protecting People and Buildings from Terrorism: Technology Transfer for Blast-effects Mitigation existing buildings and take advantage of the opportunities thus presented to achieve protection against multiple hazards such as earthquakes, extreme wind events, fire, and flood, as well as blast effects. Implementation of blast mitigation measures should be based on established risk management principles. The Blast Mitigation for Structures Program should develop a performance-based, multiobjective design process for federal facilities that integrates security and natural hazard mitigation objectives with new technologies and is based on building mission, defined threat, acceptable risk, and available resources. To gather valuable and perishable medical data, the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program should support the establishment within an appropriate agency (e.g., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FEMA, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) of rapid response data-gathering teams to investigate bombing attacks that may occur in the future. The data collected by these teams should be integrated with information from past events and made available to researchers and practitioners in emergency medicine, injury epidemiology, search and rescue, architecture, and engineering. DTRA should establish an interagency committee composed of both military and civilian members to provide customer input on the content and conduct of the technology transfer effort. Alternatively, DTRA could make use of the Physical Security and Hazard Mitigation Committee recently established by the Federal Facilities Council of the National Research Council to provide this service. The committee believes that it is important to establish and maintain a forum for customers and potential customers of the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program (such as the newly established Office of National Preparedness at FEMA) to provide feedback to both the research and the technology transfer components of the program.
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