The US has several warning systems for our CIKR. The one I think we are most familiar with is the Emergency Broadcast System because testing THIS system usually interrupts a good game or show we were watching at the time.
But more to your point, Sir, the false missile alert last year in Hawaii is a great example. Last January an employee of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, was supposed to initiate an internal test which is routinely performed. Apparently, during the test, there is a drop-down menu with the OPTIONS: “Test missile alert” and “Missile alert.” Well, the whole world now knows, he chose the latter, and initiated a real-life missile alert.
The fact that it was a false alarm did not matter, it caused widespread panic (and news coverage), the alert DIDN’T come with instructions on what to do or where to go AND it took almost 40 minutes for the Gov to retract it!!
Can you imagine those vacationing in Hawaii, (or who live there), believing they were all about to be obliterated and they’d never see their family and friends again?
Such a human error caused not just panic and fear but now, more distrust. It’s not like we actually TRUST, TRUST our Gov in the first place but, who CAN we trust with the emergency alarm systems after THIS?
Although this was unfortunate, it demonstrated a few things: the first is that we, Americans have no idea what to do in case there actually was a nuclear attack and WHERE we need to improve.
Putting myself in this person’s shoes, I had a list of questions:
Where the two options he had to choose from VISUALLY identical?
- Why did 38 minutes pass prior to the alarm being recalled?
- What was happening at the agency during the false alarm?
Where was the extra layer of protection to mitigate a human error, like this?
Since there were reportedly no directions or instructions contained in the alert: Are directions and instruction-type information manually entered (per incident conditions) after the alarm is sent?
- If so, by whom?
- If so, why were no instructions included with this alert even though it was a false alarm?
- If no, why not? (What are those affected supposed to do? Wait for CNN?)
(Forgive me, my mind is till in risk management mode, so I find myself asking EVERY question I can think of to identify as many vulnerabilities as possible).