When considering any country, it is necessary to look at the necessary resources
When considering any country, it is necessary to look at the necessary resources for it to function. Frequently major infrastructure such as energy are brought up, or economic policy is discussed. However, arguably even more so than these is agriculture. It is a vital aspect of any country, supplying its residents with the necessary supply of food to function. However, this also makes it a critical target for those wishing to do the country harm. Agroterrorism is the specific name for this practice, but fortunately, the country has plans integrated into it to aid in countering the potential act (GAO, 2005). To start, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been tasked with instituting efforts to protect against agroterrorism. This comes in multiple different formats, such as initial planning, response, and recovery from it. They liaise with other groups to develop varying initiatives against this, and further help in different biosecurity programs
Furthermore, there are other groups as well which are tasked with assisting in these efforts (GAO, 2005). The first of these is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). They, themselves, have specific tasks to fight against this threat (OIG, 2018). They are broken down by specific sub-groups within the agency. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Agricultural Research Service, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service all play vital roles within this initiative. They have all developed individualized programs or stop gaps to inspect, detect, and respond to differing threats. Additionally, they also have special relationships with different DHS programs related to threat identification and tracking, so that they can remain vigilant if varying threats come to light.
Another group that has some intelligence-based responsibilities relating to bioterrorism and agroterrorism is that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC. They have their own surveillance-based program, which can help identify different cases or outbreaks in advance (CDC, 2020). Tracking outbreaks and identifying diseases is just part of what they, do, as they have a vast array of different strategies to curb the exposure rate and response of a multitude of different agents.
There was one program in particular which stood out, however. The BioWatch program is one developed by the DHS itself (DHS, 2020). It is an emerging initiative, managed by their Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office. It monitors and analyzes independently, while also providing the information to the appropriate authorities. It helps to promote a faster and more flexible response to the action, alerting both local and the necessary federal at once. Additionally, it can help manage some of the early stages of quarantine, helping to coordinate lockdowns in areas which were impacted. It really streamlines the information sharing network between different levels of government, empowering authorities to act quickly after an incident. Considering that this is still a fairly new program, it is possible that there will be future adaptations for this especially targeted towards agroterrorism.
If an incident were to occur, I would presume that it would be handled similarly to nearly any other similar type of disaster. First, there would be the identification of whatever tainted medium which was harboring the agent. Meat, processed foods, fruits or vegetables, it doesn’t matter. The quarantine would likely be next. Isolating the specific initially infected shipment and locking down all the others which had come from the same place is necessary. They would be tested for infection, then either destroyed or set through, depending on the results. From there, an investigation would be launched into how this could have occurred. One of the federal authorities, or possibly more would lead this. It would be taken seriously due to the potential that it was a terror incident. Further surveillance, testing, and response would then be conducted to establish how it happened, the extent of the incident, and how to best avoid this again in the future, not to mention determine the culprit and manage appropriately.