Magazine article Security Management

CRS Contemplates Port, Water Threats

Magazine article Security Management

CRS Contemplates Port, Water Threats

Article excerpt

As the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office audits government efforts. As the public-policy research arm of Congress, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides objective analysis and data.

Both have been exploring homeland security issues with recently updated CRS reports investigating nuclear attacks on seaports and water infrastructure. @ The reports can be reached via SM Online.

Seaports. By one estimate, a 10-to-20 kiloton weapon, about the size of the one that devastated Hiroshima, detonated at a major U.S. seaport would kill 50,000 to 1 million people, cause direct property damage of up to $500 billion, and result in indirect losses of up to $1.2 trillion.

These numbers may be largely speculative, but the threat is real, according to the CRS. The report urges Congress to consider defense in depth, including safeguarding foreign nuclear material, mitigating the economic impact of an attack, and wisely allocating funds among ports and other high-value targets.

Water infrastructure. The vast U.S. water infrastructure consists of 77,000 dams and reservoirs; thousands of miles of pipes, waterlines, aqueducts, and sewer lines; 168,000 public drinking-water facilities; and 16,000 public wastewater treatment plants. …

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