In the age of asymmetric warfare, buildings and other enclosed spaces have become potential targets of biological or chemical attack. In some ways, humans inside buildings are even more vulnerable to terrorist attack than humans outside. The anthrax incidents of 2001 demonstrated the impact of such attacks on not only the occupants but also the operations conducted inside the building. The Curseen-Morris postal facility (formerly Brentwood) was not in operation for more than two years as a result of contamination with Bacillus anthracis spores. The critical national security mission of the Department of Defense (DOD) demands healthy employees working in functional buildings; disruption of operations or prolonged closure is unacceptable. Therefore, DOD, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and other agencies have programs and test beds1 to study and improve the means of protecting buildings from biological and chemical attacks. These test beds and programs include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Immune Building Program (Bryden, 2006), the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense’s Guardian Program, and the Safe Building demonstration in Salt Lake City. What are the general principles learned from those programs and test beds? What metrics could be used to assess system performance? How do existing programs and test beds inform the design and implementation of protection systems for other buildings? The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) commissioned the National Research Council (NRC) to convene a committee to draw together lessons learned and principles that might inform the design and
implementation of protection systems against biological and chemical airborne threats for new and existing DOD buildings.
STUDY CHARGE AND SCOPE
The committee was charged to address the following issues:
What metrics of performance are relevant to evaluate existing studies and to use existing facilities as effective test beds for validating tools, testing systems, and facilitating system technology transfer? Where a metric is not relevant to all situations, identify and discuss its appropriate application. Discuss situational use of a combination of all relevant metrics where appropriate.
What terms and definitions are required—for example, Tier 1 detector, trigger, high-impact response, confirmatory test, and so forth—to allow communication and comparison among programs?
Consider the current protocols and setup of existing systems in use, including both DOD and non-DOD efforts. What are the general features of existing test bed facilities? Are there significant features in common? Do existing facilities differ in significant ways, and how can these differences be exploited to forward our understanding of building protection?
What collective principles can be derived from current building protection efforts? How can information gained from a test bed facility be extrapolated to operational buildings with completely different designs?
What is the cost-benefit of internal building monitoring? Suggest a tiered approach with varying levels of detection and protection capability, comparing the relative cost-benefit among the tiers. Perform this assessment for both new building construction and building retrofit, and correlate to an appropriate metric (lives saved or fraction of the building exposed).
Compare and discuss the relative risks of the possible tiers in a tiered approach to chemical and biological protection efforts, from a baseline of no protection efforts up to and including a fully protected building. Consider risks associated with building retrofitting, extrapolating test data to buildings differing from test bed buildings, possible system degradation over time, et cetera.
An evaluation of the performance of building protection technologies or existing protection systems and test beds was not the intent of the study. Rather, it aims to provide DTRA guidance on investment, design, and implementation of building protection. The scope of this study is limited to airborne biological and chemical threat agents, even though explosives and radiological threat agents could be used in terrorist attacks as well. Although the goal is to protect occupants and operations within a building, biological and chemical airborne threats inside or outside a building could affect the occupants and activities within. Therefore, this report covers both inside and outside releases that might affect building oc-
cupants and operations. The purpose of building protection is ultimately to collectively protect humans and to allow continuation of their activities in the building with minimal disruption. Most approaches to protection of occupants also protect contents; therefore, the committee focused primarily on protection of occupants, and thus operations. The protection of service members on the battlefield was not the focus of this study, but the committee recognizes that “the battlefield” is different now from what it was during the Cold War. Formerly, engagement in conventional warfare was a well-defined confrontation of opposing parties where the target was the opposing army. Alternatively, asymmetric warfare often occurs between parties of unequal power where the opponent’s vulnerabilities are attacked using unconventional weapons (for example, biological, chemical, nuclear, radiological) and often targeting anyone, anywhere, at any time—including the civilian population. In this age of asymmetric threats and global terrorism, the nation’s military installations at home and abroad might be more likely targets of biological and chemical attacks than troops on the traditional battlefield.
COMMITTEE’S APPROACH TO ADDRESSING THE CHARGE
Building protection is a complex and dynamic issue that depends on the requirements regarding protection and the threat types that the system is intended to protect against. The design of an appropriate protection system depends on the goals and objectives of building protection and the threat types that it is intended to protect from. Chapter 2 defines the threat types and reviews biological and chemical threat agents that might be used in an attack. The committee grouped threat agents on the basis of the capability to detect them and to provide treatment for exposed victims. The chapter also discusses the factors that shape the goals and objectives of a building protection system.
To facilitate the discussion of protective capability in Chapter 3, the committee defines four levels of protection (LPs)—LP-1, low-level passive; LP-2, high-level passive; LP-3, low-level active; and LP-4, high-level active—that can be achieved considering performance metrics, protection objectives and goals, and the proposed threat. A protection system involves many components, some of which are included in the building design (for example, the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning [HVAC] system). Others are installations designed specifically for protection from biological and chemical airborne threats (for example, sensors). Chapter 3 covers options for building protection, including levels of protection and components that can be used to achieve preset building protection goals and objectives.
Chapter 4 discusses metrics and evaluation criteria that could be used to assess building protection. Chapter 5 describes prior and existing programs and test beds in building protection that the committee considered.
Designing and implementing an appropriate building protection system depends on the interaction of many factors, including budget, objectives of protec-
tion, and activities in the facility. Chapter 6 presents a structured approach to the design and deployment of a building protection system that is based on risk assessment and management. That chapter also proposes an analytic process that is based on currently available and proven methodologies to assess costs and benefits of a building protection system. The committee presents its conclusions and recommendations in Chapter 7.
GOALS AND ANTICIPATED IMPACT OF THE STUDY
As in any emergent situation, there is a window of operational influence following a biological or chemical attack on a building. The time during which one can make critical decisions or take actions of low or high regret may be extremely short (minutes).2 Preparation—technical and operational—can be advantageous to protecting building occupants, but at a cost. It is the committee’s hope that this report will assist DOD in making cost-benefit decisions that will maximize the window of operational influence, save lives, and maintain operational facilities at an acceptable cost. Although this study was commissioned by DTRA for the protection of military buildings, the committee’s findings and recommendations can, obviously, also be applied to nonmilitary buildings.