Office of the Press Secretary: Contact: 202-282-8010: March 17, 2005.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today announced that the United States, United Kingdom and Canada will cooperate in conduct of TOPOFF 3, a Congressionally-mandated counterterrorism exercise for top officials. DHS will conduct the TOPOFF 3 full scale exercise in April 2005, with terrorist attack scenarios staged in Connecticut and New Jersey. Additional activities will occur in related exercises within the United Kingdom (Atlantic Blue) and Canada (Triple Play).
“The TOPOFF exercises are a key piece of the United States homeland security national preparedness efforts. By responding realistically to simulated attacks, we are able to identify our strengths and weaknesses and make our national response system stronger,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. “Our partnerships with the United Kingdom and Canada will further enhance our ability to deal with terrorism on an international level.”
TOPOFF 3 does not stand for the constant replenishment of cold beer or hot coffee to your mug. It stands for: Top Officials 3. “TOPOFF 3 is the third exercise in the TOPOFF series, a congressionally mandated exercise series designed to strengthen the nation’s capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks involving Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs).”
So, if you see anything suspicious in the next few days, don’t fret. Your government is responsible.
As seriously injured people begin to flood local hospitals, the chemical attack that had been planned for Boston also is launched prematurely — in the town of New London, Connecticut, some 250 kilometers away.
“The scenario is plausible, but purely fictional,” according to the Department of Homeland Security statement.
“Although the government views both of these types of threat as credible, the weapons were not chosen on the basis of intelligence regarding specific terrorist plans.” AFP:Yahoo
Fact Sheet: TOPOFF 3 New Jersey Venue
The TOPOFF 3 Exercise
Top Officials 3 (TOPOFF 3) is the most comprehensive terrorism response exercise ever conducted in the United States. The full-scale exercise, taking place in the United States from April 4-8, 2005, will involve participants from international, federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector agencies and non-governmental organizations. In the United States, participants will respond to simulated, simultaneous and multi-point attacks taking place in Connecticut and New Jersey.
TOPOFF 3 is a congressionally mandated exercise series managed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness.
New Jersey Participation in TOPOFF 3
The state of New Jersey is one of the two state venues selected to participate in TOPOFF 3. During the week of April 4-8, 2005, New Jersey will be testing the ability of its state and local government to plan for and respond to a biological attack.
Specifically, the exercise will test the state’s ability to coordinate inter-agency preparedness and response plans to a biological response, conduct epidemiological investigations, criminal investigations, supply medication to ill patients and deploy assets statewide.
New Jersey will use this full-scale exercise to examine the preparedness and response plans at the state and local levels, as well as interactions with the Federal government and private sector.
A Snapshot of the New Jersey Venue
New Jersey will be the first state ever to have statewide participation in a TOPOFF exercise. Although the exercise will initially focus on Union and Middlesex counties. Participation will include more than a dozen municipalities and all 21 New Jersey counties.
State participation is sponsored by the Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force, the state body responsible for developing New Jersey’s homeland security policy and for coordinating its implementation. State agencies participating include the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Attorney General/Department of Law and Public Safety, the New Jersey State Police, the Department of Health and Senior Services, the State Office of Emergency Management, the Officeof Counter Terrorism, the Office of the State Medical Examiner, the Office of Information Technology, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Department of Environmental Protection, the State Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Treasury, the Department of Community Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture.
Eighty four hospitals, 22 Local Information Network Communications Systems (LINCS) agencies, all 21 counties, and hundreds of local health departments, government agencies, law enforcement agencies, first responders, academic institutions and businesses will participate.