Cities tapped for 2007 Topoff drill

Portland, Ore., and Phoenix appear to have gotten the thumbs-up as the sites for the Topoff 4 national disaster exercise to be held in May 2007.

The multimillion-dollar drill, whose name is short for "Top Officials," is the third to be run by the Department of Homeland Security to test federal, state and local preparedness and response capabilities to a complex terrorist attack scenario.

Portland has been selected for the event by DHS, according to Anna Richter Taylor, a spokeswoman for Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski. "We have been awarded this opportunity," Taylor said in a phone interview today.

News reports in Oregon also indicated Phoenix was selected for Topoff 4, although Taylor said she could not immediately confirm that information. DHS officials did not return a phone call for comment.

Taylor said the governor supports Portland's hosting of the Topoff 4 drill and is willing to consider providing some financial aid for it. "The governor made it clear that we wanted to collaborate and there would be grants involved," Taylor said in the phone interview.

The first federal Topoff drill was held in May 2000, before the formation of DHS. Topoff 2 took place in Chicago and Seattle in May 2003 to test responses to simulated dirty-bomb and a biological weapon attacks. That exercise involved thousands of response agencies in both locations, both public and private, as well as Canadian agencies.

Next month Topoff 3 will be held in Connecticut and New Jersey, with additional support in the United Kingdom. The types of attacks to be simulated have not been disclosed.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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