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Strategic Partnership Program Agroterrorism (SPPA) Initiative

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Federal Bureau of Investigation

August 2005

A Joint Effort of the FBI, DHS, USDA, and FDA to Help Secure the Nation's Food Supply


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will collaborate with private industry and the States in a joint initiative, the Strategic Partnership Program Agroterrorism (SPPA) Initiative. The SPPA Initiative will be a true partnership program, where an industry member or trade association or State may volunteer to participate. To volunteer, the industry or State member must submit a completed response form.

Program Objectives

The federal government members in partnership with industry and State volunteers, plan to:

  • Validate or identify sector-wide vulnerabilities by conducting critical infrastructure/key resources (CI/KR) assessments in order to:
    1. Identify gaps;
    2. Inform Centers of Excellence and Sector Specific Agencies (SSA) of identified research needs; and
    3. Catalog lessons-learned.
  • Identify indicators and warnings that could signify planning for an attack.
  • Develop mitigation strategies to reduce the threat/prevent an attack. Strategies may include actions that either industry or government may take to reduce vulnerabilities.
  • Validate assessments conducted by the United States Government (USG) for food and agriculture sectors.
  • Gather information to enhance existing tools that both USG and industry employ.
  • Provide the USG and the industry with comprehensive reports including warnings and indicators, key vulnerabilities, and potential mitigation strategies.
  • Provide sub-sector reports for the USG that combines assessment results to determine national critical infrastructure vulnerability points to support the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) and national preparedness goals.
  • Establish and/or strengthen relationships between Federal, State, and local law enforcement and the food and agriculture industry along with the critical food/agriculture sites visited.


To facilitate this work, a series of site visits will be conducted at multiple food and agriculture and production facilities. Every Food and Agriculture Sector sub-sector will be studied (i.e. production, processing, retail, warehousing, and transportation) in order to assess the farm-to-table continuum. The primary purpose of the visit is to work with industry to validate or identify vulnerabilities at the specific site and the sector as a whole. These visits will be built upon the work done by the SSAs in order to assist in developing the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), Federal Sector Specific Plans (SSP) and state SPP. All of the visits will be conducted on a volunteer basis.

The target start date for the SPPA program is September 1st, 2005. Two sites visits will be conducted each month - approximately one FDA and one USDA facility.

Teams comprised of knowledgeable personnel from the SSA, FBI, DHS, local and state officials, and industry will be formed to conduct the surveys.


The desired results of the SPPA Initiative are:

  • Reports that details identified vulnerabilities, possible mitigation strategies, and warnings and indicators for each site. The reports will be distributed to all site participants.
  • Reports that outline sector-wide vulnerabilities and lessons learned to effectively and appropriately prioritize national assets and resources. The reports will be distributed to DHS, USDA, FDA, and FBI.
  • Each industry sub-sector will apply the CARVER assessment tool, and adapt, if necessary, to its unique production, processing, retrial, warehousing, and transportation system. Data sets will be set by GCC. Those data sets will be collected during the site visits and will be compiled by subsector (i.e. slaughterhouse, processing plant, etc). This data will be translated so outputs can be compared with other critical infrastructure sectors.
  • CARVER + Shock templates
  • Lessons learned
  • Assessment templates for each 'system' by sub-sector that can be exported to other sites to identify vulnerabilities that incorporate existing tools.
  • Sector-specific investigative templates and field guides for the food and agriculture/intelligence sector.
  • Provide data to the NIPP working groups for further development of the NIPP and national preparedness plans.
  • Increase awareness within industry and government needs regarding resources requirements and capabilities; current threats; and recognition of attack indicators.
  • Identify and validate R&D initiatives related to the food and agriculture sector. Ensure that industry concerns and issues are carried forward to further R&D efforts.

Example Timeline for Site Visit

After receiving an application from an industry or State volunteer, the SSA will work through the Food and Agriculture Sector Coordinating Councils to establish contact initially. After the site selection and initial contact has been made by the SSA, the following serves as an example of how to approach the visit:

4 weeks prior to the visit:
The contractor will contact the participant to set up administrative and logistical arrangements.

1 week prior to the visit:
The contractor will confirm all arrangements for the site visit and send a read ahead packet to the industry participants. The contents will likely include objectives and agenda for the visit and any supporting or relevant documents.

Site visit:
The total visit will take 2-5 days to complete depending on complexity.

Proposed Agenda:

  1. Introductions (all agencies represented and industry)
  2. Threat brief and/or case studies
  3. CARVER + Shock review by Lead SSA
  4. Design flow diagram of subject food, animal or plant production/process
  5. Documents/references
    1. Template
    2. Agents
    3. Technical information
  6. Conduct Assessment of vulnerabilities
  7. Review results (including implications of an attack, investigative leads)
  8. Identify mitigation strategies
  9. Identify gaps to serve as research questions
  10. Close

4 weeks after the visit:
The final report will be distributed to the USG representatives and the participants.

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