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Appendix B
Russian Academy of Sciences-U.S. National Academies Joint Committees on Countering Terrorism

Glenn E. Schweitzer

National Research Council


Since 2001, three collaborative workshops on counterterrorism have been held by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academies. Joint committees on countering terrorism were established by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academies in 2002.1 The first workshop was convened in June 2001 in Moscow, and presentations covered a wide range of terrorist threats and vulnerabilities to those threats. High-Impact Terrorism: Proceedings of a Russian-American Workshop was published in English and Russian in 2002. The second workshop was organized in March 2003 in Moscow with an emphasis on urban terrorism and cyberterrorism. Terrorism—Reducing Vulnerabilities and Improving Responses: U.S.-Russian Workshop Proceedings was published in English and Russian in 2004. The third workshop was held in January–February 2005 in Washington, D.C., and proceedings are scheduled for publication in English and Russian.

Building on the work of the first two workshops, the joint committees selected the theme of urban terrorism for the third workshop. Working groups on energy vulnerabilities, transportation vulnerabilities, and cyberterrorism issues convened prior to the workshop, and each panel reported its findings at the workshop. A special workshop session was then devoted to the challenges in coordinating activities of the many governmental and nongovernmental organizations that would be involved in responding to a terrorist attack in an urban area. Discussions of other special interest topics followed.

1

For more information about the U.S. National Academies work in cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences on counterterrorism, see http://www7.nationalacademies.org/dsc/CT_Project.html.



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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop Appendix B Russian Academy of Sciences-U.S. National Academies Joint Committees on Countering Terrorism Glenn E. Schweitzer National Research Council Since 2001, three collaborative workshops on counterterrorism have been held by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academies. Joint committees on countering terrorism were established by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academies in 2002.1 The first workshop was convened in June 2001 in Moscow, and presentations covered a wide range of terrorist threats and vulnerabilities to those threats. High-Impact Terrorism: Proceedings of a Russian-American Workshop was published in English and Russian in 2002. The second workshop was organized in March 2003 in Moscow with an emphasis on urban terrorism and cyberterrorism. Terrorism—Reducing Vulnerabilities and Improving Responses: U.S.-Russian Workshop Proceedings was published in English and Russian in 2004. The third workshop was held in January–February 2005 in Washington, D.C., and proceedings are scheduled for publication in English and Russian. Building on the work of the first two workshops, the joint committees selected the theme of urban terrorism for the third workshop. Working groups on energy vulnerabilities, transportation vulnerabilities, and cyberterrorism issues convened prior to the workshop, and each panel reported its findings at the workshop. A special workshop session was then devoted to the challenges in coordinating activities of the many governmental and nongovernmental organizations that would be involved in responding to a terrorist attack in an urban area. Discussions of other special interest topics followed. 1 For more information about the U.S. National Academies work in cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences on counterterrorism, see http://www7.nationalacademies.org/dsc/CT_Project.html.

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop During the sessions of the working panels and then following the workshop, the Russian visitors met a number of additional U.S. specialists involved in the topics that were discussed. Also they visited relevant facilities and met with first responders in Washington, D.C.; Hanover, Maryland; and New York City. Returning to the second workshop, held in 2003, the joint committees established five standing working groups to assist the committees in addressing a broad range of issues. The status of these working groups is summarized below. WORKING GROUP ON RADIOLOGICAL TERRORISM At each of the three workshops, presentations highlighted the dangers associated with radiological terrorism. They described a variety of attack scenarios and emphasized that the psychological impact of the dispersion of radioactivity might far exceed the physical harm from radiation exposure. As a result of the discussions at the workshops, the U.S. National Academies, with the assistance of the Russian Academy of Sciences and in consultation with many Russian specialists, is undertaking a study of the current cooperative program between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Russian Federal Agency for Atomic Energy (Rosatom). The Institute of Nuclear Safety of the Russian Academy of Sciences is playing a particularly active role in this effort. The emphasis of the intergovernmental cooperative program has been on reducing the possibility that ionizing radiation sources in Russia could fall into the hands of terrorists. A special workshop was held in Moscow in March 2005 to consider the current status of security over ionizing radiation sources, and the Russian Institute for Nuclear Safety prepared an overview of the current approach to improving security in Russia. The final report for this activity will be published by the National Academies Press. WORKING GROUP ON BIOLOGICAL TERRORISM The National Academies have had a long-standing program, carried out in its initial phase with the assistance of the Russian Academy of Sciences, for promoting the redirection to civilian tasks of Russian scientists who previously carried out research in support of the Soviet defense complex. Initially the program was considered a nonproliferation activity to prevent unreliable states from gaining access to information about biological weapons. However, as international terrorists increase their technical capabilities, the relevance of the program to the terrorism interests of the joint committees is clear. Related to this activity has been a study by the National Academies that considers the future of biosciences and biotechnology in Russia. It emphasized the importance of public health concerns, focusing on disease surveillance, biological research, the evolution of the biotechnology industry, zoonotic diseases, and the strengthening of the science and technology workforce, with opportuni-

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop ties for international cooperation overarching each of these areas. The study was carried out with the assistance of the Russian Academy of Sciences and involved intensive consultations by the U.S. specialists responsible for the study with a number of Russian officials and scientists. The report of the study was published in English and Russian in 2006.2 WORKING GROUP ON URBAN TERRORISM As discussed above, urban terrorism has received continuing attention by the joint committees, and the working group played a major role in organizing the third workshop. Many papers have been prepared by Russian and U.S. program participants on various aspects of urban terrorism, and a number of these papers will be included in the proceedings of the third workshop. Russian presentations have addressed several terrorist incidents in Moscow and other Russian cities, including the seizure of more than 900 hostages at a theater in Moscow, the bomb detonation in a crowded subway car in Moscow, and the seizure by terrorists of a school in Beslan that resulted in more than 300 deaths. U.S. presentations have addressed a number of aspects of the consequences of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. As to future steps, the fourth workshop of the joint committees may be held in Moscow and may also be devoted to urban terrorism. It seems appropriate to include a significant number of first responders from both countries in future discussions of urban terrorism. WORKING GROUP ON CYBERTERRORISM Cyberterrorism has been on the agenda of all three workshops. The disruptive effects of cyberterrorism targeted at critical communication lines or control facilities continue to be of great concern in both countries. Should cyberterrorism be directed to emergency response networks at the time of an attack using conventional explosives in an urban area, the consequences could be significant. Specialists from both countries have shown great interest in the development of higher education curricula devoted to preparing specialists in cybersecurity. The program at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University has been considered very impressive by all participants. Consideration is being given to arranging a short course in Moscow for U.S. students, but the details have yet to be worked out. 2 NRC Committee on Future Contributions of the Biosciences to Public Health, Agriculture, Basic Research, Counter-terrorism, and Non-Proliferation Activities in Russia. 2006. Biological Science and Biotechnology in Russia: Controlling Diseases and Enhancing Security. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop WORKING GROUP ON THE ROOTS OF TERRORISM This working group has been active for several years, and its efforts were linked to the work of the joint committees in 2001. The initial activities of the working group concentrated on ethnicity-related issues in Russia, and particularly in the North Caucasus region. A number of workshops were held and several reports were prepared in English and Russian. Now the activities of this group are being expanded to address the broader topic of roots and routes of extremism, with a broader geographical focus as well. A workshop was held in October 2005 in Helsinki, with participants including approximately 30 scholars and practitioners from the United States, Russia, Finland, other European countries, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Developments in countries with large Muslim populations were a primary focus of discussions, but the program also included presentations on extremism-related developments in Europe and the United States.

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