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Joint Press Statement by the United States of America and Switzerland on a Co-hosted International Bioterrorism Response Coordination Exercise ("Black ICE II")

On September 7-8, 2009, the United States Government and the Government of Switzerland co-hosted an International Bioterrorism Response Coordination Exercise (called “Black ICE II”) in Montreux, Switzerland.  This two-day tabletop exercise was an opportunity for officials from numerous international and regional organizations and national governments to examine the critical cooperation and coordination issues that would be necessary to respond to an international bioterrorism attack.  Black ICE II built on the lessons learned through the original Black ICE exercise, also held in Montreux, in September 2006.

Black ICE II challenged participants with a fictional attack scenario involving pneumonic plague.  The scenario is not based on real-world threat information and is not meant to indicate that this particular type of attack is likely.  Rather, the scenario was designed to raise key questions exploring coordination across borders and among a wide variety of national, regional and international institutions.  Coordinating efforts internationally across the public health, security, transportation, and law enforcement sectors  poses significant challenges.  Through Black ICE II, participants examined these challenges and cooperated in identifying capabilities, needs, and issues to be addressed in order to ensure an effective international response to a potential bioterrorist attack.

Organizations attending Black ICE 2 were the Implementation Support Unit for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC ISU) , the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Organization of the American States (OAS), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO),  the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UN ODA), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  Experts from India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland, and the United States, a well as from the European Commission and the European Council Secretariat also participated in order to examine the interactions between efforts taken at the national, regional and international levels.

Points of Contact:

Press and Information Service
Bundeshaus West
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: (+41) 31 322 31 53 

Lisbeth Keefe
Public Affairs Office
U.S. Embassy
Bern, Switzerland
Tel: (+41) 31 357 72 38