A couple of weeks ago, President Obama hosted a nuclear security summit in Washington to address an issue so grave, 40 heads of state were in attendance. Had Obama also extended invitations to the mayors of America’s major cities, it’s unclear how many would have been able to squeeze the summit into their busy schedules.
The Washington Times reports:
The U.S. military has canceled a major field exercise that tests its response to a nuclear attack, angering some officials who say that what is now planned for this month will be a waste of time.
U.S. Northern Command in Colorado withdrew from major participation in this month’s National Level Exercise (NLE), a large-scale drill that tests whether the military and the Department of Homeland Security can work with local governments to respond to an attack or natural disaster.
The exercise was canceled recently after the planned site for a post-nuclear-attack response — Las Vegas — pulled out in November, fearing a negative impact on its struggling business environment.
A government official involved in NLE planning said a new site could not be found. The official also said the Northern Command’s exercise plans for “cooping” — continuity of operations, during which commanders go to off-site locations — also had been scratched.
“All I know is it’s been turned into garbage,” said the official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information. “It’s a nonevent.”
Will al Qaeda be emboldened by this turn of events? I kind of doubt it. In fact Las Vegas — which might not generally epitomize a realistic outlook — is probably making a safe bet here as it wagers that its economic health takes precedence over its need to be prepared to handle a nuclear attack.