These initiatives add to the security posture already in place at these plants. This initiative is not just a force multiplier; it also provides for a system of additional monitoring at a statewide level. The colossal scale of pipeline and electrical infrastructure in the United States alone—more than 160,000 miles of crude oil pipelines, 4,000 offshore platforms, 10,400 power plants, and 160,000 miles of transmission lines—makes providing security a daunting challenge.
Terrorist attacks, in particular, pose a grave threat. In videotape released in December 2005, deputy al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri singled out energy infrastructure as a key strategic target for his followers.
Drive up and down the New Jersey Turnpike, and it is easy to see why this state is a potential playground for terrorists. There is a 2-mile stretch from Newark Airport to Port Elizabeth that terrorism experts have called “the most dangerous 2 miles in America.”
A corridor state between Washington, D.C., and New York City, New Jersey is no stranger to terrorists or their acts. Whether it was the violent domestic terrorist groups of the 1960s and 1970s or the international terrorist cells of the 1980s and beyond, New Jersey has played host to their presence and their attacks. Because of the vast diversity of the state’s population, multinational terrorists have easily blended into the urban populations and assimilate within the ethnic cultures, while planning and eventually executing attacks against the major target across the Hudson River, New York City.
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country. On this particular swath of land there are hundreds of potential terrorist targets—chemical plants, rail yards, rail lines, refineries, pipelines, an international airport, and the third-largest port in the United States. In a worst-case scenario, the potential to bring harm to more than 12 million people lies within a 14-mile radius. New Jersey comprises 21 counties with a population of 8.5 million; this is the highest population density of any state in the United States. With an average of 1,135 people per square mile, New Jersey’s population density is 13 times the national average. The Port of Newark–Elizabeth Marine Terminals are one of the world’s largest container ports. Newark International Airport is ranked seventh among the nation’s busiest airports and is the fifth-busiest international air gateway into the United States. Additionally, New Jersey is home to the largest petroleum containment system outside the Middle East. With a dense population and a major industrial base, the protection of New Jersey’s citizens and critical infrastructure is a top priority of the NJSP.
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, confirmed that all Americans share responsibility for homeland security. Federal, state, local, private-sector, and nongovernmental entities and individual citizens across the state of New Jersey and the nation need to prepare as one entity for major events that may exceed the capabilities of any single agency. The American structure of overlapping federal, state, and local levels of governance provides unique opportunities and challenges. Opportunities arise from the flexibility to explore differences,