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Dark Winter

Dark Winter


Overview

The Dark Winter exercise, held at Andrews AFB, Washington, DC, June 22-23, 2001, portrayed a fictional scenario depicting a covert smallpox attack on US citizens. The scenario is set in 3 successive National Security Council (NSC) meetings (Segments 1, 2 and 3) that take place over a period of 14 days. Former senior government officials played the roles of NSC members responding to the evolving epidemic; representatives from the media were among the observers of these mock NSC meetings and played journalists during the scenario's press conferences.

Key Players

  • President: The Hon. Sam Nunn
  • National Security Advisor: The Hon. David Gergen
  • Director of Central Intelligence: The Hon. R. James Woolsey
  • Secretary of Defense: The Hon. John White
  • Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff: General John Tilelli (USA, Ret.)
  • Secretary of Health & Human Services: The Hon. Margaret Hamburg
  • Secretary of State: The Hon. Frank Wisner
  • Attorney General: The Hon. George Terwilliger
  • Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency: Mr. Jerome Hauer
  • Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation: The Hon. William Sessions
  • Governor of Oklahoma: The Hon. Frank Keating
  • Press Secretary of Gov. Frank Keating (OK): Mr. Dan Mahoney
  • Correspondent, NBC News: Mr. Jim Miklaszewski
  • Pentagon Producer, CBS News: Ms. Mary Walsh
  • Reporter, British Broadcasting Corporation: Ms. Sian Edwards
  • Reporter, The New York Times: Ms. Judith Miller
  • Reporter, Freelance: Mr. Lester Reingold

The Dark Winter exercise was the collaborative effort of 4 organizations. John Hamre of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) initiated and conceived of an exercise wherein senior former officials would respond to a bioterrorist induced national security crisis. Tara O'Toole and Tom Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies and Randy Larsen and Mark DeMier of Analytic Services, Inc., (ANSER) were the principal designers, authors, and controllers of Dark Winter. Sue Reingold of CSIS managed administrative and logistical arrangements. General Dennis Reimer of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) provided funding for Dark Winter.

 

I was honored to play the part of the President in the exercise Dark Winter . . You often don't know what you don't know until you've been tested. And it's a lucky thing for the United States that, as the emergency broadcast network used to say, 'this is just a test, this is not a real emergency.' But Mr. Chairman, our lack of preparation is a real emergency. The Honorable Sam Nunn, House Hearing on Combating Terrorism: Federal Response to a Biological Weapons Attack, July 23, 2001