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Edward D. Reuss
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John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Federal Emergency Management Agency co-sponsored the Urban Hazards Forum January 22-24, 2002.


 Gerald W. Lynch, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY in his welcoming remarks, with much sadness, reminded those in attendance that over 100 alumni and students of John Jay College perished in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.  The alumni of John Jay College is now honored with the names of many heroic members of the police, fire, and emergency services as well as those in the business community who died in the attack.



President Lynch observed that if the terrorists imagined that they would intimidate the world community, they were sadly mistaken. He noted that where in the recent past, graduate programs at John Jay College received 300 applicants, the college has received over 970 such applications in the post September 11th period.

Professor Charles Jennings, John Jay College, was the conference Co-Chair and Program Chair.

He welcomed those in attendance and introduced each of the speakers to the Forum.  The coordination and presentation of the forum brought much credit to John Jay College. Much of that credit belongs to Charles Jennings.

Mr. Joseph F. Picciano, Acting Regional Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region II Office in NYC addressed the Forum and stressed the importance of emergency management and successful mitigation of the consequences of terrorism and catastrophic events.

Mr. Edward Jacoby, Director, NY State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) spoke of lessons learned that have ramifications to future incidents of terrorism and catastrophic events.  He stressed the need for the adoption of the Incident Command System for use by emergency managers. Emergency management begins with local authorities and ends with local authorities. 

New thinking on evacuation procedures were needed. He gave the example of recent hurricanes where the suddenness of patterns and increase in populations made evacuations impractical. He cited the formation of the Off-site Air Disaster Task Force. Other areas that needed study were the critical problem of access control of the disaster site itself. Perimeter security, media access, and the identification of rescue workers were subjects that needed planning and coordination.  The large numbers of volunteers and lack of communication was a big problem for the emergency managers.

Mr. John O’Donoghue, T.D. Minister, Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Ireland spoke on a subject that is of great interest to me. He spoke of new initiatives and projects in the European Union (EU) designed to combat narco-terrorism by freezing assets of those engaged in terrorism and identifying international money-laundering by new and improved intelligence.

See an article “Magic Bullet in the War on Drugs”


Charles Strozier, Professor of History, John Jay College, Director of the Center on Violence and Human Survival, stressed the psychological trauma that the September 11th has had on those who were actually present, near ground zero who witnessed the attack, those who were a short distance from the scene, yet could experience the effects of the collapse of the towers, and also the effect on those more distant in Manhattan and other areas.  Finally, those who witnessed the events on mass media and were experienced it vicariously.  Professor Stozier is also a practicing psychoanalytic psychotherapist.  He touched on the traumatic effects of the irritating odor that rose from ground zero with all the horrible ramifications that it signified. He spoke of the reality of a new type of terrorism that has made its appearance upon the world stage. The old form of terrorism was rational and perhaps politically motivated with understandable goals. The new form of terrorism was based on religious or as he says “apocalyptic” ideas. The goals of the new terrorism are outside space and time.   He went on to assert that there is now a “paranoid style in politics” whereby the new breed of terrorists believe that there is an international conspiracy, and the existence of a great “enemy”. The new terrorists are motivated to “save the world by destroying it”.

John Odermatt, Deputy Chief, NYPD spoke of the need for an “All Hazards Plan” in emergency management.

Charles Blaich, Deputy Chief, FDNY recalled how he responded off-duty with other members of the FDNY on the Staten Island Ferry and witnessed the collapse of the South Tower as the ferry was about to dock.

He went on to the scene and witnessed the calamity up front and personal. He rallied what firefighters he could and ultimately became the logistics officer of the tool cache at ground zero.

He brought graphic photos of ground zero for a Power Point presentation that was watched in stunned silence by those in attendance.



Joseph Morris, Chief, Port Authority of NY-NJ Police gave an account of his experiences in the World Trade Center disaster. He related that when the first plane hit the North Tower, he was in his office at LaGuardia Airport discussing the mundane subject of office furniture. When he was notified, he ordered a mobilization of personnel to the World Trade Center. He told how the PAPD Police was unique in that all officers are also trained in firefighting. They are equipped with bunker gear and are equipped to respond instantly to aircraft crashes and fires. The Chief recalled watching from the Brooklyn side of the East River as the South Tower was also engulfed flames when the second plane struck the other of the Twin Towers. He and his men crossed the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan and finally worked their way to Barclay and West Broadway. He established his headquarters at Vesey Street and West Street with about 45 personnel equipped in bunker gear. They had planned to meet the FDNY in the lobby of Tower One. He recalls only silence when Tower One collapsed. He only remembers fleeing up West Street with everyone else as the building fell and the now well-known dust cloud covered lower Manhattan.

Richard Rotanz, Deputy Director, Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management, spoke on the Office Of Emergency Management (OEM) and its role in the World Trade Center disaster.  He discussed how the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was planned and coordinated. We all know how the Command Center at 7 World Trade Center was destroyed.  Mr. Rotanz recalled how a new center was established under trying conditions on Pier 92, Hudson River.  OEM also coordinated the use of Pier 94 for victim’s families. The Incident Command System was fully implemented at ground zero over the coming days. He also stressed what was learned about “Emergency Resource Management”; the implementation of Incident Action Plans (IAP) and the importance of Public Information Officers (PIO).

Mr. Larry Winter Roeder, Policy Advisor on Disaster Management, US State Department spoke on the Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN).  As the Executive Director of GDIN, he encouraged those in the field of emergency management to join the GDIN and learn about the work that is done at that organization. He stressed the need for teamwork in meeting the challenges that face the global community in the coming years. The information exchange and potential for the GDIN was staggering. For instance, he spoke of the PEACEWING PROJECT that is nearing completion.  This is a project that will bring on line a drone aircraft that will be powered by solar energy and equipped with sophisticated technology to enhance the capabilities of rescuers working in catastrophic events to locate victims. The Peacewing project will be in a sub-orbital flight and will not need to be refueled.  He invited emergency planners to join the GDIN working groups at no cost. The web address is: www.gdin.org

Robert J. Louden, John Jay College was the moderator of the session of the forum that dealt with Terrorism: Hostage Taking.   Professor Louden was the former commander of the NYPD Hostage Negotiation Unit.  The panel consisted of Prof. Louden, Hugh McGowan, Lieutenant, NYPD (ret), also former commander of the NYPD Hostage Negotiation Unit, Special Supervising Agent Chris Voss, Crisis Negotiation Unit, FBI, and Mr. Francois Haut, Director, Institute for the Study of Criminal Menace, and Professor Paris II University, France.

Monsieur Haut spoke about the reality of two types of hostage taking.  The first he described as “explicit”.  The Hostage taking was used as leverage to obtain something in return.  He gave the examples of the many instances of hostage taking in Colombia.  He told of the shocking number of such incidents exceeding 3500 abductions in recent years. These types of hostage situations were motivated by money or for political goals such as the release of political prisoners.  The other type was the “implicit” which he described as being the “Ultimate violation of the civil rights of the entire global community”.  In the implicit type we are all hostages. It is a concept of total warfare and includes bio-terrorism and threats of the use of weapons of mass destruction.

In a later presentation, Professor discussed the critical need for better intelligence and information sharing. He told the shocking story of a recent seizure of a freighter named the “Lucky S” that was sailing from Afghanistan to the Mediterrean area with 14 tons of heroin on board.





When I was an active Captain of Police, NYPD, I often encountered inter-agency conflict at scenes involving large numbers of personnel of various emergency services.  Turf protection is still a problem today. We can no longer afford such conflict between our police, fire, and emergency services. 

The Urban Hazards Forum brought home to me the critical need to implement the Incident Command System here in New York City.  There is no time for inter-service rivalry between the various emergency services.  The ICS has a workable system with a common use of terminology that fosters coordination during emergencies. The use of terminology such as Incident Commander and Incident Command Center, and Emergency Operation Center (EOC) and the structure of the ICS is a working model for all local, state, and federal agencies to utilize. A recently published book “Understanding Terrorism and Managing the Consequences” by Paul M. Maniscalco and Hank T. Christen should be required reading for all emergency managers, police chiefs, fire officials, and medical emergency workers.

 For a review of this book, click here.

This system is ideal for small incidents as well as large incidents. When an agency trains and executes the ICS in local incidents with an emergency operation center (EOC) it becomes a simple matter to expand and implement the ICS with inter-departmental agencies in much larger incidents.  When all the agencies are using the same language and terminology for their Incident Command Systems, the opening of the Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) becomes automatic when acts of terrorism and large catastrophic events necessitate the Presidential declaration and implementation of Presidential Decision Directive #39. The Incident Command System has proven its value and works under the most trying circumstances. It is time to put it into practice throughout these United States.

Here is a copy of that Directive:

Presidential Decision Directive 39

Purpose. To provide an unclassified synopsis of the U.S. national policy on terrorism as laid out in Presidential Decision Directive-39 (PDD-39).

Background. On June 21, 1995, the President signed PDD-39, U.S. Policy on Counterterrorism. This classified document laid out the national policy and assigned specific missions to designated Federal Departments and agencies. This unclassified synopsis is provided to enable Federal, State, and local emergency response and Consequence Management personnel without appropriate security clearances to have a basic understanding of the provisions of PDD-39.

PDD-39 validates and reaffirms existing Federal Lead Agency responsibilities for counterterrorism, which are assigned to the Department of Justice (DOJ), as delegated to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for threats or acts of terrorism within the United States. The FBI as the lead for Crisis Management will involve only those Federal agencies required and designated in classified documents. The Directive further states that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), with the support of all agencies in the Federal Response Plan (FRP), will support the FBI in Washington, DC, and on scene until the Attorney General transfers Lead Agency to FEMA. FEMA retains responsibility for Consequence Management throughout the Federal response.

Definitions. Crisis Management includes measures to identify, acquire, and plan the use of resources needed to anticipate, prevent, and/or resolve a threat or act of terrorism. The laws of the United States assign primary authority to the Federal Government to prevent and respond to acts of terrorism; State and local governments provide assistance as required. Crisis management is predominantly a law enforcement response.

Consequence Management includes measures to protect public health and safety, restore essential government services, and provide emergency relief to governments, businesses, and individuals affected by the consequences of terrorism. The laws of the United States assign primary authority to the States to respond to the consequences of terrorism; the Federal Government provides assistance as required.

U.S. Policy on Counterterrorism

General. Terrorism is both a threat to our national security as well as a criminal act. The Administration has stated that it is the policy of the United States to use all appropriate means to deter, defeat, and respond to all terrorist attacks on our territory and resources, both with people and facilities, wherever they occur. In support of these efforts, the United States will:

  • · Employ efforts to deter, preempt, apprehend, and prosecute terrorists.
  • · Work closely with other governments to carry out counterterrorism policy and combat terrorist threats against them.
  • · Identify sponsors of terrorists, isolate them, and ensure they pay for their actions.
  • · Make no concessions to terrorists.

Measures to Combat Terrorism. To ensure that the United States is prepared to combat terrorism in all of its forms, a number of measures have been directed. These include reducing vulnerabilities to terrorism, deterring and responding to terrorist attacks, and having capabilities to prevent and manage the consequences of terrorist use of nuclear, biological, or chemical (NBC) weapons, including those of mass destruction.

a. Reduce Vulnerabilities. In order to reduce vulnerabilities to terrorism, both at home and abroad, all departmental/agency heads have been directed to ensure that their personnel and facilities are fully protected against terrorism. Specific efforts that will be conducted to ensure our security against terrorist attacks include the following

  • · Review the vulnerability of government facilities and critical national infrastructure.
  • · Expand the program of counterterrorism.
  • · Reduce vulnerabilities affecting civilian personnel/facilities abroad and military personnel/facilities.
  • · Exclude/deport persons who pose a terrorist threat.
  • · Prevent unlawful traffic in firearms and explosives and protect the President and other officials against terrorist attack.
  • · Reduce U.S. vulnerabilities to international terrorism through intelligence collection/ analysis, counterintelligence, and covert action.

b. Deter. To deter terrorism, it is necessary to provide a clear public position that our policies will not be affected by terrorist acts and we will vigorously deal with terrorists/sponsors to reduce terrorist capabilities and support. In this regard, we must make it clear that we will not allow terrorism to succeed and that the pursuit, arrest, and prosecution of terrorists are of the highest priority. Our goals include the disruption of terrorist sponsored activity, including termination of financial support, arrest and punishment of terrorists as criminals, application of U.S. laws and new legislation to prevent terrorist groups from operating in the United States, and application of extraterritorial statutes to counter acts of terrorism and apprehend terrorists outside of the United States. The return of terrorists overseas who are wanted for violation of U.S. law is of the highest priority and a central issue in bilateral relations with any state that harbors or assists them.

c. Respond. To respond to terrorism, we must have a rapid and decisive capability to protect Americans, defeat or arrest terrorists, respond against terrorist sponsors, and provide relief to the victims of terrorists. The goal during the immediate response phase of an incident is to terminate terrorist attacks, so the terrorists do not accomplish their objectives or maintain their freedom, while seeking to minimize damage and loss of life and provide emergency assistance. After an incident has occurred, a rapidly deployable interagency Emergency Support Team (EST) will provide required capabilities on scene: a Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) for foreign incidents, and a Domestic Emergency Support Team (DEST) for domestic incidents. DEST membership will be limited to those agencies required to respond to the specific incident. Both teams will include elements for specific types of incidents such as nuclear, chemical, and biological threats.

The Director, FEMA will ensure that the FRP is adequate for Consequence Management activities in response to terrorist attacks against large U.S. populations, including those where weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are involved. FEMA will also ensure that State response plans and capabilities are adequate and tested. FEMA, supported by all FRP signatories, will assume the Lead Agency role for consequence management in Washington, DC, and on scene. If large-scale casualties and infrastructure damage occur, the President may appoint a Personal Representative for Consequence Management as the on-scene Federal authority during recovery. A roster of senior and former government officials willing to perform these functions will be created, and the rostered individuals will be provided training and information necessary to allow themselves to be called on short notice.

Agencies will bear the cost of their participation in terrorist incidents and counter-terrorist operations, unless otherwise directed.

d. NBC Consequence Management. The development of effective capabilities for preventing and managing the consequence of terrorist use of NBC materials or weapons is of the highest priority. Terrorist acquisition of WMD is not acceptable, and there is no higher priority than preventing the acquisition of such materials/weapons or removing the capability from terrorist groups.


Copyright © 2002 Edward D. Reuss



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