Combating Terrorism:

Analysis of Potential Emergency Response Equipment and Sustainment Costs

NSIAD-99-151: Published: Jun 9, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 1999.

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Mark E. Gebicke
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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO determined the potential cost of equipping and maintaining the capability of cities to respond to a terrorist incident involving a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear device (CBRN), focusing on the: (1) views of federal, state, and local officials on equipment they believed would provide various levels of capability to respond to a CBRN incident; and (2) potential procurement and sustainment costs of these items.

GAO noted that: (1) GAO identified over 200 equipment items that federal, state, and local officials believed would enhance their capability to respond to a CBRN incident; (2) these items ranged from standard items such as duct tape and gloves to more sophisticated devices such as mobile command posts and climate control systems; (3) the officials GAO surveyed categorized the items to represent different levels of capability--basic and modest, moderate, and high in comparison to the basic level; (4) a modest increase over basic hazardous materials would include additional detection and decontamination equipment; (5) a moderate increase would include a greater array of detection equipment than the modest level; (6) the high level of increased equipment capability would include additional and more expensive detection equipment; (7) GAO estimated the potential cost of initially procuring and sustaining the equipment items over a 10-year period using a notional city of 500,000; and (8) these costs ranged from a total of about $4.6 million for items considered to provide a basic capability to about $43 million for items considered to provide a high capability.

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