NASA head Charles Bolden issued a weekend statement through the NASA Headquarters of Emergency Operations advising employees and their families to prepare for unforeseen emergencies and/or disasters.
Some key excerpts from the video statement (available below) follow:
They’ve given me a few minutes just to talk to all of you in our NASA family about emergency preparedness. NASA recently participated in a FEMA exercise called Eagle Horizon that was a part of a continuity of operations of government exercise that we do annually, and I became aware of some things that concerned me about family preparedness…
So, what I’m asking all of you in the NASA family, whether you’re out on the West coast, here on the east coast, along the Gulf Coast, up on the Great Lakes, think about the natural disasters that could occur in your area. Think about attacks that could come like 9-11, from outside forces, and talk to your family about your work and what they need to do to prepare for the unforeseen.
Develop a family preparedness plan in your house.
It’s curious, considering NASA is involved in continuity of government (COG) exercises every year, that Mr. Bolden is issuing this alert now. Natural disasters are the most common events for which people prepare – even in the mainstream. Those in hurricane or earthquake prone areas prepare accordingly, and generally have a working knowledge of supplies they may need for disasters in their specific regions. Of course, this doesn’t always mean they have those supplies on hand, but nonetheless, most people are aware of their need to prepare and have a good idea of what, if any, potential disasters can befall them where they live. Thus, we don’t believe Mr. Bolden’s concern for natural disasters (unless we’re talking the New Madrid Fault) would be reason enough for him to take to the airwaves.
While we are all for alerting the public to be ready for emergencies and unforeseen circumstances, this particular alert issued by the administrator of NASA seems a bit rushed and perhaps a little panicky. NASA has redundant systems and processes in several locations around the United States, so issuing a statement that suggests an emergency may significantly affect operations should be of concern to all of us.
What is it about the 2011 Eagle Horizon COG exercise that has him so concerned this year, but no mention was made of preparedness in 2010?
The 2010 Eagle Horizon exercise primarily dealt with – you guessed it – a nuclear detonation in a US city (and several other secondary scenarios). Directors and administrators from a variety of departments and their employees trained, took workshops and went through procedures that would be necessary if such an event were to occur. The 2011 Eagle Horizon COG exercise will be a continuation of these nuclear response scenarios.
The 2011 Eagle Horizon exercise, scheduled to take place during the week of June 20, will deal with what is referred to in COG circles as “devolution” or the process by which government transfers all aspects of authority including the personnel responsible for operations, the facilities that will be used, and even the maintenance of oil, gas and mineral operations throughout the country.
An outline of the EH11 exercise has been released by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, and details some of the planned exercises and mission essential functions. This presentation has been made available in PDF format, as well as Powerpoint PPTX (full version with notes).
This year, EH11 will continue with the EH10 scenario, an improvised explosive device (nuclear) exploded in the Midwest.
Threats to other regions of the country will prompt transfers of leadership, authorities, and relocations to alternate facilities in order to continue business operations.
The focus of EH 11.
There are two aspects of devolution: planned and unplanned.
How we devolve the Washington and State office operations is the focus of EH11, to be conducted on June 23rd.
Planned is when, based on the threat, there is time to move leadership and key operations to your alternate site. Unplanned is when the event is sudden and without warning-such as the El Centro earthquake.
Relocation to your alternate facility, orders of succession, and delegations of authority are immediately implemented where necessary.
Reconstitution is the restoration of normal operations from the primary or alternate location.
FEMA has templates for devolution and reconstitution that will guide and assist your in developing and formalizing your future plans.
After the reported death of Osama Bin Laden last month, the media began discussing revenge attacks against the United States, even noting that members of Al Queda were looking at September 11, 2011 as a possible target date. Media was abuzz with the possibility that a terrorist organization would attack the United States with a nuclear bomb, whether dirty or conventional.
While Al Queda means different things to different people, the idea of nuclear attack on US soil is now regularly discussed in media, and suggestions have been made that the stage for such an attack, of the false flag variety, has been set. We previously reported that San Diego port director admitted in February of this year that elements within the US homeland security apparatus intercepted a WMD, likely of nuclear origin.
While the US government, along with state and local emergency responders work at preparing for nuclear and other emergencies, we can’t help but point out the difficulty government had with Hurricane Katrina, an event we expected ahead of time, and had the full resources of the entire nation to respond to. In a nuclear attack on a US city, or worse, a coordinated attack on multiple cities, we have no faith that any emergency services would be made available to the public. In April of 2010, the Federal Government issued a warning basically indicating that the Federal Nuclear Response Will Be Non-Existent.
We certainly don’t doubt this and NASA administrator Bolden’s statement suggest he shares the same sentiment. Perhaps this knowledge, that there will be no one to help people on the ground, is what prompted him to send the message to his employees and their families – with the permission of whoever “they” are.
We can’t help but wonder what Mr. Bolden, a chief administrator of our space agency and Marine (likely with high security clearances), has learned about the COG program and the threats we face.
As always, we advise our readers to remain vigilant, be prepared for the unexpected, and be sure to have your evacuation plans in place – because you never know.