The people of United States, in the last two decades have become acutely aware that they are vulnerable to attacks from either domestic or foreign extremists groups. Due to the open nature of the country and culture, any extremist or terrorist has the freedom to travel unimpeded anywhere in the nation (Hassler, 2003,pp. 2). Terrorists may employ a variety of approaches to accomplish their desired ends using assorted techniques. Given the tremendous economic, political and strategic values that the country poses in agricultural resources, it is important that a country policy is realized and made operational with an objective of preventing the US citizens from attacks. An area receiving moderate attention involves the potential for the biological attacks against non-human targets which are aimed at the country economy through attacking country’s agricultural industrial complex (Ban, 2000, pp. 2). Agriculture and food industry remain critical to the social, economic and political stability of this country. Unfortunately, the agricultural and related industries remain highly vulnerable to accidental disruption.
Preparedness, the country’s efforts to date
For more than a decade, the leadership of US has recognized the need to improve organization of country’s efforts to prevent or respond to either natural or manmade disasters. For instance, in November 1988 the congress passed Stafford Disaster Relief as well as Emergency Assistance Act to provide an orderly and continually way of assistance from Federal Governments towards states together with local governments. In undertaking their responsibilities so as to alleviate the suffering and damage resulting from such disasters (Ban 2000, pp4). The Stafford Act provided a revised and broadened scope of existing disaster relief programs which encouraged the development of comprehensive disaster preparedness and assistance plans, programs, capabilities and organizations by the states and by local governments. The Stafford Act has so far achieved greater coordination and responsiveness of disaster preparedness and relief programs. In addition, the Act required federal assistance programs for both public and private losses sustained in disasters (Russell and Reid, 2002, pp. 28).
According to Hassler (2003, pp, 28) after the adoption of Stafford Act in 1988, President Reagan signed executive order 12656 which further clarified the Stafford Act and provided for emergency preparedness policy. Derived from these laws and directives, Federal Security Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published the federal response Plan (FRP) which established the process and structure for the delivery of federal assistance in any major disaster as described under the Stafford Act.
By June 1995, President William Clinton published presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 39. The policy works to deter and preempt terrorist attacks, apprehend and prosecute any terrorist committing such acts or even assist other government to prosecute any individual who plans or performs such attacks (Hassler , 2003, pp. 25). Similarly, increased efforts toward preparing the country for possible terrorist attacks have been observed. This is evident following Federal Governments continued prevention efforts in terrorist activities across the country. This further strengthened the Stanford Act when President Clinton published PDD 63, “Critical Infrastructure Protection,” which provided an increased focus of the country’s efforts to prepare the nation’s critical infrastructures responsible for any possible terrorism attacks (Hassler , 2003, pp. 29).
United States leaders have realized that the country is ill prepared to combat widespread bioterrorist attacks. The prevention and deterrence segment of the strategy developed includes numerous actions in identifying appropriate plans for implementation. The plan must include essential elements in gathering and analysis of intelligence information. The Federal government introduced intelligence community, an idea that expanded its efforts in addressing these terrorist threats. The federal activities in addressing US agricultural vulnerability has introduced critical aspects of effective preparedness which includes formulating strategies that begins with a threat analysis as the basis for defining requirements. Such strategies have been designed to emphasis deterrence and prevention as well as crisis and consequence management.