SILENT VECTOR was a strategic level exercise designed to simulate possible U.S. reaction to a credible threat of terrorist attack when there is not sufficient information for effective protection. The overall purpose of the exercise was to assist the Administration and Congress in their attempts to improve the effectiveness of response during the pre attack phase of a major terrorist incident.
The United States operates 103 nuclear power plants, is the world's largest consumer of petrochemicals and by-products and continues to import a disproportionate amount of oil from the Middle East. It is reasonable to assume that terrorist organizations have recognized the potential financial, industrial, and public impact of a substantive attack against American energy infrastructure.
SILENT VECTOR challenged current and former senior government leaders to respond to increasingly credible and specific intelligence indicating the possibility of a large scale attack against critical energy and energy-related infrastructure on the East Coast of the United States.
President Hon. Sam Nunn
Governor of Virginia Hon. James S. Gilmore III
Secretary of State Hon. Fred C. Iklé
Secretary of Defense Hon. John P. White
Secretary of Homeland Security ADM James M. Loy, USCG (ret.)
Secretary of Energy Hon. Charles B. Curtis
Attorney General Hon. George J. Terwilliger III
National Security Advisor Hon . R. James Woolsey
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff GEN Wesley K. Clark, USA (ret.)
Director, Central Intelligence Agency Mr. Winston Wiley
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation Hon. William S. Sessions
Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency Hon. James Lee Witt
Director, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Hon. Shirley Ann Jackson
Director, White House Office of Homeland Security Hon. Jerome M. Hauer
Director, National Economic Council Mr. Stephen Friedman
The President's Press Secretary Hon. Margaret Myers
Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation Mr. Dale Watson Scenario
The role players were summoned to an emergency meeting with the President and the National Security Council at Camp David to address the looming crisis. Based on information from two independent and relatively reliable sources, the national intelligence community determined that there was a credible, conventional, terrorist threat to unspecified elements of energy infrastructure on the east coast of the United States. The attack was expected to occur in two days, however the precise timing was unknown. Given this information, the role players were faced with several key questions:
1. Is the attack real? How credible is the intelligence?
2. What is likely to be attacked?
3. What should our priorities be?
4. Can anything be done to prevent an attack?
Over the course of the two days leading up to the expected attack (simulated by two 4-hour sessions), role players were presented with specific analyses on threats, vulnerabilities and expected impacts as well as, emergent intelligence and law enforcement data to help formulate a comprehensive response plan. At the outset, the role players determined that the threat was too vague for direct, specific measures but did raise the alert level and installed general protective measures. This in turn led to media leaks and public panic in communities near energy facilities, such as nuclear power plants. The role players then had to face the problem of balancing rising panic with the need for more extreme protective measures.
The day of the expected attack comes and goes, but nothing happens. The role players must confront the silence of the day after the anticipated attack (simulated by one two-hour session). They are faced with not knowing if the attack was foiled, deterred, or a hoax. Role players must determine when it is safe to return to normal life.
In developing the scenario for SILENT VECTOR, CSIS created a threat/vulnerability integration methodology to map likely terrorist capabilities against the vulnerabilities of specific sectors/facilities of energy and energy-related infrastructure. While simplified for the purposes of the exercise, the methodology used to develop a threat/vulnerability integration matrix establishes a foundation upon which to build a system of assigning priorities and allocating resources for homeland security. Currently, no such analytical approach exists for U.S. critical infrastructure.
For more information about Silent Vector, contact Phil Anderson.This exercise was developed in partnership with the ANSER Institute of Homeland Security and was made possible by grants From the Smith Richardson Foundation
and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
Special thanks to Environmental Systems Research Institute and AIR Worldwide for their invaluable technical support in the planning and execution of Silent Vector.
CSIS would also like to recognize the valuable contributions and support of the following organizations:
Colonial Pipeline Company
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
National Petrochemical & Refiners Association
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division
Nuclear Energy Institute
Sandia National Labs
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of Transportation
PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS [PLEASE READ THIS]http://web.archive.org/web/20040114021156/www.csis.org/isp/sv/SVwebfindings.pdf
2002 Press Releases &
October 18, 2002
SILENT VECTOR: Energy Terrorism Exercise
Hamre to Share Initial Assessment of Simulation Results, Vulnerabilities
WASHINGTON, October 18, 2002 — - CSIS president and CEO John Hamre, CSIS Homeland Security Initiatives Director Phil Anderson, and ANSER Institute Director Randy Larsen, will outline the initial results of a recent simulation exercise of the pre-attack phase of a credible threat to the U.S. energy infrastructure
from 12:00 P.M. 1:00 P.M. on Monday, Oct. 21, at CSIS, 1800 K Street, NW, B-1 conference level, room A.
Silent Vector, which was patterned after the 2001 Dark Winter simulated bioterrorist attack, was designed to reveal some of the most pressing issues and vulnerabilities that would arise if the nation were faced with a highly credible, but ambiguous, threat of a terrorist attack on American soil.This two-day exercise employed a simulated National Security Council of senior policymakers, with former Senator Sam Nunn acting as president. Through the course of the game, participants, largely former senior-level government officials, were given increasingly credible and specific intelligence of a large-scale attack on the nation's critical energy infrastructure. Silent Vector was developed and produced by CSIS in partnership with the ANSER Institute and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. Among the issues examined:
* What are the critical challenges the federal government would face during the pre-attack phase of a terrorist event focused on U.S. energy infrastructure?
* What unique challenges would the law enforcement and intelligence communities face when responding to credible but ambiguous threats to the American homeland?
* What are the fault lines that exist in the interagency community, and among federal, state and local governments during the pre-attack phase of a major terrorist incident?
* What are the fault lines that exist between the public and private sectors during the pre-attack phase of a major terrorist incident?
* What are the potential impacts of a credible threat of attack?
* What are the key vulnerabilities of select critical energy infrastructure?
"As with Dark Winter, we believe that a detailed discussion of this 'real world' energy infrastructure scenario and its effects will serve the nation's national security interests," said Anderson. "We expect that a well-planned and executed simulation focusing on the threat-rather than consequence management-of a major attack on U.S. energy infrastructure could generate a similar level of policy attention and impetus for improved preparation and response by the administration and Congress."
PHOTO ALBUM OF EXERCISEhttp://web.archive.org/web/20030501143607/www.csis.org/isp/sv/pic11.htm
(to see the previous pics, use the URL above and select <<<Previous)