Issues requiring careful analysis include the following:

  • Industrial plants have not been designed to withstand well-executed attacks involving a number of people, nor is there thorough understanding of (or protection from) the damage that might be done by a well-placed, knowledgeable person within a facility.

  • Many industrial operations are controlled by supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems—computer systems designed to automate and control plant functions. These systems stress interoperability more than security, and a better understanding of how to improve their ability to resist cyberattacks is needed (see Chapters 5 and 11).

  • Large quantities of hazardous industrial chemicals are shipped daily in the United States—by truck, rail car, and barge. These shipments often pass through cities or are stored in (or close to) cities. Understanding how to secure these shipments—either by protecting them or by routing them around cities—is important in preventing them from being hijacked and used as weapons (see Chapter 7).

Recommendation 4.9: The Departments of Transportation and Commerce, working with industry and with federal and state law enforcement agencies, should be tasked with developing plans for regulating the movement of hazardous materials through and near cities. These plans should incorporate technologies that allow detection of anomalies in handling and movement.

Ammonium nitrate and urea are used in very large quantities for agriculture and can also be used as explosives—ammonium nitrate was used in the truck bomb that brought down the Murrah Federal Building. British scientists and others have worked for some years to find a way to alter this chemical so that it retains its agricultural benefits but is no longer an effective explosive. This research has not been successful to date, and practical, new approaches to this problem would certainly be welcome (NRC, 1998).

Protecting Food Supplies

Consumers in the United States are very sensitive to suggestions that the food supply might not be perfectly safe. Widely publicized episodes, such as the concern about the pesticide Alar on apples, debate about the safety of genetically engineered food, and ripple effects caused by the association of beef with mad cow disease, exemplify this highly charged social environment, and a good deal of attention is being paid to ensuring safety and purity throughout the various stages of food production, processing, and distribution.

However, protecting the food supply from intentional contamination has not been a major focus of the U.S. food industry. Three characteristics of this industry create vulnerabilities to terrorist attack: the concentration of primary produc-



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