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Protecting People and Buildings from Terrorism: Technology Transfer for Blast-effects Mitigation 1 Introduction BACKGROUND Terrorist attacks aimed at the United States and its citizens represent a serious, ongoing threat. The 1990s were marked by a series of vehicle bomb attacks, inflicted domestically and overseas, that claimed many lives and left many more people crippled and injured. At the direction of the U.S. Congress, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), under the sponsorship of the Department of Defense (DoD) Technical Support Working Group (TSWG), initiated the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program “to protect people inside buildings from terrorist bomb attacks” (DTRA, 1999). To accomplish the objective of saving lives and reducing injuries, DTRA embarked on a comprehensive research and testing program aimed at increasing the understanding of how buildings, and their structural and nonstructural components and systems, respond to blast-induced loadings, and how this performance can be improved. In a 1995 report, Protecting Buildings from Bomb Damage: Transfer of Blast-Effects Mitigation Technologies from Military to Civilian Applications (NRC, 1995), a committee of the National Research Council (NRC) found that much of the structural research and testing that had been done in support of military missions during the Cold War was generally applicable to civilian design practice and could help to mitigate the effects of terrorist bombs. At the same time, the committee also recognized that to be broadly effective, this body of work would have to be expanded and presented in a form that was more readily usable by a diverse audience of
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Protecting People and Buildings from Terrorism: Technology Transfer for Blast-effects Mitigation design, construction, building management, and security professionals. The 1995 report’s authoring committee believed that establishing a formalized process for knowledge and technology transfer of blast-effects research was a critical step in improving the performance of civilian buildings, minimizing casualties, and facilitating rescue and recovery operations in cases of terrorist bombing attacks. INVOLVEMENT OF THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL Due to its long familiarity with these issues, the NRC was asked to review the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program and offer recommendations for both conducting research and transferring technology to the military and civilian sectors. In response to that request, the NRC assembled an independent committee of experts, the Committee for Oversight and Assessment of Blast-Effects and Related Research, under the auspices of the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment. The 14 members of the committee have expertise in blast-effects research and testing, structural analysis and design, architectural and interior design, seismic safety, disaster preparedness and consequence management, emergency medical services, computer-based modeling and assessment techniques, building code development, and knowledge transfer. Biographical information about the committee members is provided in Appendix A. STATEMENT OF TASK The committee was asked to perform the following tasks: Assist in the development of a blast-effects research agenda and provide recommendations for activity priorities. This will include assessing the scope and focus of related, on-going research, both in this country and internationally, to assure that efforts are well-integrated; evaluating the capability of the existing research infrastructure to achieve research objectives; and determining the possible need for a national test facility to carry out the research program. Recommend appropriate mechanisms to achieve effective transfer of research results and existing technologies to civilian government agencies and commercial engineering and architectural practice. Develop recommendations for outreach and knowledge dissemination activities to be undertaken by DTRA and other agencies. Review and comment on proposed curriculum or training materials designed to enable civilian engineers and architects to apply the principles of protective design and analysis to civilian buildings and other constructed facilities. Provide a forum to enhance interaction and information sharing
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Protecting People and Buildings from Terrorism: Technology Transfer for Blast-effects Mitigation among other stakeholder government agencies such as the General Services Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Department of Transportation, Department of State, etc., and state and local governments. To address the first task, the committee completed a program review and issued a report in May 2000 (NRC, 2000). Blast Mitigation for Structures: 1999 Status Report on the DTRA/TSWG Program contained specific recommendations for the content and focus of the research program, several of which have been incorporated in the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program. In response to Task 5 and a recommendation contained in the committee’s first report, the Federal Facilities Council (FFC) of the NRC has established the Physical Security and Hazard Mitigation Committee. The FFC is a cooperative association of 22 federal agencies established for the purpose of addressing issues of common concern. This new FFC committee is seen as a potential vehicle for both disseminating the output of the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program and identifying additional needs of the user community. Tasks 2 through 5 of the committee’s charge are addressed in the current report. PROTECTING PEOPLE AND BUILDINGS FROM BOMB DAMAGE To enhance its level of understanding of potential user needs for the output of the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program and the best means of providing it, the committee convened a 3-day workshop in Washington, D.C., in November 2000 (Appendix B gives the workshop agenda). The workshop was attended by 90 representatives of government, industry, and academia from the United States and the United Kingdom who constituted a broad group of stakeholders for the results of the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program. The purpose of the workshop was to do the following: Present the work, results, and opportunities offered by the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program and determine the information needs of the owner, user, and provider communities. Identify appropriate mechanisms and venues for discrete and continuous information sharing. The workshop was broadly organized to address the perspectives and needs of the four user groups that the committee believed to be most concerned with the issues of blast-effects mitigation: the building owner and user community; architects and building system designers; structural
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Protecting People and Buildings from Terrorism: Technology Transfer for Blast-effects Mitigation engineers and designers; and the emergency medicine and search and rescue community. A plenary panel discussed activities ongoing within several organizations, agencies, and universities and how these efforts could facilitate knowledge and technology transfer. The final day of the workshop featured panel reports summarizing the perspectives of the four stakeholder groups and offering observations and recommended actions for the committee and DTRA to consider. The committee notes that the observations, findings, and recommendations presented in this report are based on the knowledge and experience of its members and on the discussions facilitated by the workshop. Although the participation of the workshop attendees was invaluable for the preparation of this report, the findings and recommendations represent the opinions of the NRC committee appointed to develop them. ORGANIZATION OF THIS REPORT The succeeding chapters in this report are organized broadly along the themes of the workshop. Chapter 2 outlines the information and technology needs identified at the workshop by the four stakeholder groups. Chapter 3 contains an overview of knowledge and technology transfer, including some historical perspective on the effectiveness of translating the results of engineering research into practice, and outlines the committee’s recommended strategy for DTRA to follow for transferring the results of the Blast Mitigation for Structures Program broadly through the military and civilian sectors. The issue of dealing with sensitive or export-controlled technology is also discussed in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 contains the committee’s conclusions and recommendations. REFERENCES DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency). 1999. Blast Mitigation for Structures Program Master Plan. June. Alexandria, Va.: Defense Threat Reduction Agency. NRC (National Research Council). 1995. Protecting Buildings from Bomb Damage: Transfer of Blast-Effects Mitigation Technologies from Military to Civilian Applications. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 2000. Blast Mitigation for Structures: 1999 Status Report on the DTRA/TSWG Program. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
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