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Introduction to Terrorism Against U.S. Agriculture: This slide show was adapted from a December 2003 presentation by James Schoelz, Ph.D., at the Missouri.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Terrorism Against U.S. Agriculture: This slide show was adapted from a December 2003 presentation by James Schoelz, Ph.D., at the Missouri."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Terrorism Against U.S. Agriculture: This slide show was adapted from a December 2003 presentation by James Schoelz, Ph.D., at the Missouri Summit on AgroTerrorism. Schoelz is Professor and Chair of the Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Protecting Crops through Plant Biosecurity Management

2 Presentation Overview Part 1:  Key Points about Terrorism against the U.S.  5 categories of Weapons of Mass Destruction  Targeted Attacks against Agriculture Part 2:  What is Plant Biosecurity Management?  Pathogens attractive to terrorists  List of threatening anti-crop agents Note: EDEN has developed a list of useful definitions and acronyms specific to this course. Please be aware that “common definitions” do not exist for many agroterrorism and biosecurity management terms. However, while various agencies and disciplines may apply slightly different meanings to the same term, the broad concepts should be fairly similar.

3 Part 1  Key Points about Terrorism against the U.S.  5 categories of Weapons of Mass Destruction  Targeted Attacks against Agriculture

4 Question: How would you explain the broad concept of terrorism to someone unfamiliar with the term?

5 Terrorism c an be defined as a malicious attempt to disrupt economic well-being, undermine peoples’ confidence, and/or destroy public health and safety by means of violence and/or threats to commit acts of violence. Definition: What is Terrorism? Sources: UKY; DHS

6 Sources: Pate & Cameron; UKY; DHS Points about terrorism against the U.S.:  Can be committed by an individual or group within or outside of the U.S.  Includes small scale and massive efforts  Spurred by religious, political, or ideological beliefs  Variety of weapons and/or agents may be used  Can be one event with immediate impact or planned/delivered over an extended period for a delayed, longer-term impact  Targets may include public events, buildings, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply, etc.

7 Question: Can you define the five categories of WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) used by terrorists? Hint: The acronym is C-BRNE

8 Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) are agents and devices used by terrorists with an intent to cause large scale destruction, and/or to inflict incapacitation, serious injury, and/or death to many people. Definition: What are WMDs? The 5 WMD categories are known by the acronym C-BRNE: C hemical, Biological, R adiological, N uclear, and E xplosive

9 C-BRNE: 5 Categories of WMDs Chemical Toxic substances classified by their effect on human health, which include nerve agents, blistering agents, blood agents, choking agents, and irritating agents. Biological Naturally-occurring, living organisms harmful to humans, plants and animals. Includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins. Most cost-effective WMD for terrorists to produce. Radiological Radioactive substances; high-energy particles or gamma rays emitted by an atom undergoing radioactive decay. Nuclear Release of nuclear energy caused by atomic nuclei reactions of nuclei with neutron and other nuclei Explosive Devices that cause immediate massive destruction from blast and/or heat; may also be used as a means to disperse chemical, biological, or radiological agents. Sources: FEMA; MO SEMA; UKY; Encarta

10 Question: How would you describe a specific form of terrorism against agriculture - - often referred to as agroterrorism or agri-terrorism?

11 Agroterrorism (agri-terrorism) is a malicious attempt to disrupt or destroy the agricultural industry and/or food supply systems (i.e. processing, storage, and transportation). Definition: What is Agroterrorism?

12 Question: What categories of WMDs would most likely be used by an agroterrorist? Can you describe an agroterrorism scenario for each of these three types? √Chemical √Biological Radiological Nuclear √Explosive Sources: Answer:

13 Possible Agroterrorism Scenarios Sources:  Chemical - use of a crop duster for aerial distribution of an irritating agent.  Biological – introduction of a pathogen to contaminate crops and disrupt U.S. economy  Explosive – destruction of a anhydrous plant with intent to propel chemical gases into the air

14 Question: Why might an agroterrorist “prefer” biological agents to other WMDs?

15 Source: UKY; Characteristics of Biological Agents  Cost-effective for agroterrorists to produce  Can be easy to distribute  Potential to turn into an epidemic  Potential for high injury & mortality rates  Potential to disrupt U.S. exports and effect economy

16 Part 2  What is Plant Biosecurity Management?  Pathogens attractive to terrorists  List of threatening anti-crop agents

17 For your information... This course specializes on plant biosecurity issues: preventing the introduction of biological agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins) to U.S. food crops. It is important to note that the introduction of biological agents can be either intentional (a terrorist attempt) or unintentional (by human error). Therefore, when you teach this course to others, be sure to emphasize that plant biosecurity management is not only relevant to anti-terrorist activities, but that ongoing best management practices are also key to the every day protection of crops against unwanted pests, pathogens, and agents that are currently present or threaten plants in the U.S.

18 Question: How does agroterrorism relate to plant biosecurity management?

19 Plant Biosecurity Management can be defined as (a) preparing for, (b) responding to, and (c) recovering from a plant biosecurity problem, and (d) mitigating the risks of a plant biosecurity event. It includes a range of management activities performed by persons in the agricultural sector who are critically engaged in anti-terrorist activities to help assure the ongoing safety of the U.S. food supply. Definition: What is Plant Biosecurity Management?

20 Question: Why do agroterrorists seek certain pests or diseases to use as anti-crop agents?

21 Sources: Biological Warfare Against Crops, Simon Whitby, 2002 Terrorists look for these characteristics: Ease of production Ease of dissemination Low infective dose Short incubation period Difficult to diagnose in early stages High infectivity Short life cycle Stability in the environment Lack of availability of cost-effective treatments Absence of genetic resistance

22 Question: Do you know of pathogens that meet at least some of those criteria, and therefore might be used in an agroterrorism attempt?

23 Plant pathogens that have potential as anti-crop agents in the U.S.:  Pyricularia oryzae (Rice Blast)  Puccinia graminis tritici (Stem Rust of Wheat)  Xanthomonas oryzae pv. Oryzicola (Sugarcane bacterial blight)  Phakopsora pacgyrhizi (Soybean Rust)  TBRV Virus (Tomato Black Ring) Sources: Whitby, 2002; UTK Phytophthora infestans (Late Blight of Potatoes)

24 Summary  Terrorism/agroterrorism can be committed by an individual or group within or outside of the U.S.  The 5 WMD categories are known by the acronym C- BRNE: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive  Biological weapons include the use of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins that are harmful to humans, plants and animals and/or deteriorate property.  Agroterrorism is a malicious attempt to disrupt or destroy the agricultural industry and/or food supply systems  Plant biosecurity management is relevant to the protection of crops against the intentional and unintentional introduction of unwanted pests, pathogens, and agents.

25 Presentation References What we can learn from past and current epidemics in plants (2003) Dr. James Schoelz, University of Missouri-Columbia Terrorism Response and Preparedness Module 01 [Online Bioterrorism Course], KIPRC, University of Kentucky Covert Biological Weapons Attacks Against Agricultural Targets: Assessing the Impact Against U.S. Agriculture. Pate, J. & Camerson, G. (2001, August). BCSI Discussion Paper John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Glossary. [Online document] Federal Emergency Management Agency. Encarta ’98 Desk Reference. [CD-ROM]. Microsoft Corporation. Responding to the Threat of Agroterrorism: Specific Recommendations for the United States Department of Agriculture. Kohnen (2000), BCSI Discussion Paper , pp and John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Crop Biosecurity: Are We Prepared? American Phytopathological Society (2003). Tentative list of threatening plant pathogens not reported in the U.S. University of Tennessee- Knoxville Biological Warfare Against Crops. S. Whitby, 2002

26 If you would like to determine what you have remembered about this presentation, proceed to the Quick Quiz. Remember, this is a self-test for your learning purposes only. Your Quick Quiz score will not be recorded. Please return to Lesson 1, Teaching Scenario 2 For your information...


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