week the FBI was honored to participate in a first-of-its-kind
conference in Arlington, Virginia, on "Lessons Learned
from the 9/11 Attack on the Pentagon" -- a conference
dedicated to the proposition that the American people will
be best protected by cemented partnerships among U.S. law
enforcement and public safety organizations on local as well
as national levels.
The word that best sums up the focus of the conference? "Multidisciplinary."
Multi-disciplinary teams of local government officials, local
emergency and medical personnel, and law enforcement agencies
in these local areas -- all working together, all planning
together, all learning how to analyze the response capacity
in their particular jurisdiction and set up local plans accordingly.
And so some 900 professionals from all over the country attended
-- city/county managers, emergency management directors, fire
chiefs, medical personnel, federal agents, police chiefs,
sheriffs, and deputies. They listened to speeches by Arlington
Fire Chief Ed Plaugher, Arlington County Manager Ron Carlee,
FBI Director Mueller, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. They discussed things
like emergency management, unified incident command, logistics,
perimeter security, evidence collection, and medical issues.
FBI Director Mueller, who briefed attendees on the nation's
progress in the war against terrorism, focused hard on the
primary lesson learned from the 9/11 attacks: "Unified
command," he said, "is not just the FBI and other
federal agencies working together; not just the FBI, other
federal agencies, and state and local law enforcement working
together. Unified command is the FBI, all federal, state,
and local law enforcement, the fire departments and first
responders, the ambulances and medical personnel all working
together. This is the model. We are all part of the team,
some of us large, some of us small, all working together to
successfully take control of the scene and respond effectively,
not as a group of separate entities, but as one."