Katrina – The Prophesied Storm

“Because of its low-lying landmass, the region is also uniquely vulnerable to hurricanes. Should a major hurricane hit the Bayou region, the potential loss of life and property could be tremendous. Consequently, evacuations must be carefully choreographed.” (January 1, 2005, Clifford S. Barney, John Borden, GeoIntelligence)

As of January 2005, The Department of Defense and Homeland Security were already studying the security and infrastructure of Louisiana. Did it help? Did anyone listen?

Geointelligence – Cajun Counterterrorism: “The road southwest from New Orleans into the heart of Cajun country rolls past chemical plants, oil refineries, pipelines, and storage tanks, crisscrossing a network of manmade waterways and natural rivers and lakes. In this land of levees, canals, bridges, and bayous, nearly all industry and residents are connected in one way or another to the maritime and energy industries. This connection means vulnerability.

“Transected by the Mississippi River, which carries 40 percent of all U.S. exports, southern Louisiana is also home to the Port of Southern Louisiana — the busiest port in the world in terms of tonnage — as well as the Port of New Orleans. Combined, these two facilities account for 60 percent of all U.S. grain exports. The economic impact of disrupting these ports was clearly demonstrated when a supply ship near the Port of New Orleans recently sank, blocking the only channel open to ocean-going ships making their way into the lower Mississippi.

“In addition, the region is a hub for both offshore oil and gas drilling operations and the offloading of petroleum from foreign tankers, as well as a strong industrial base for the refining, distribution, and storage of petroleum products. Southern Louisiana accounts for significant production of military and civilian jet fuel. The volume of these hazardous chemicals near populated areas is also a constant source of concern.

“Because of its low-lying landmass, the region is also uniquely vulnerable to hurricanes. Should a major hurricane hit the Bayou region, the potential loss of life and property could be tremendous. Consequently, evacuations must be carefully choreographed.

“These factors combine to make southern Louisiana a potential ‘perfect storm’ for homeland security threats. That’s precisely why the Department of Defense (DoD), through its Homeland Security/Defense Command and Control Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program (HLS/D C2 ACTD), sponsored a pilot project to demonstrate technologies for information sharing and communications interoperability aimed at improving the security of the southern Louisiana oil industry and related critical infrastructure.” (Geointelligence)

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