Skip to main content
Tabletop Exercise

Atlantic Storm

This training tabletop exercise is based on a fictional scenario. The inputs experts used for modeling the potential impact were fictional. It is a teaching and training resource for public health and government officials.


How would world leaders manage the catastrophe of a fast-moving global epidemic of deadly disease? Atlantic Storm was a ministerial table-top exercise convened on January 14, 2005 by the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Center for Transatlantic Relations of the Johns Hopkins University, and the Transatlantic Biosecurity Network. The exercise used a fictitious scenario designed to mimic a summit of transatlantic leaders forced to respond to a bioterrorist attack. These transatlantic leaders were played by current and former officials from each country or organization represented at the table. There was an audience of observers from governments on both sides of the Atlantic as well as from the private sector, but the venue was designed to focus all attention on the summit principals and their discussions around the table .

Take a ringside seat with Atlantic Storm Interactive: The presentation brings the event to life as you watch the news, learn the facts, read the briefings, and listen to excerpts of the players' discussions--from the ringside perspective of an observer, or from the hot seat perspective of a world leader facing a global outbreak of a deadly infectious disease. Atlantic Storm Interactive walks you through the day, unveiling events, materials, and developments in the same sequence in which they were unveiled to the players. You can listen to audio that highlights the most important moments in the players' deliberations, watch videos that brought the scenario to life for the players, and use an interactive timeline to move back and forth through the day.

BBC Newsnight Video: BBC Newsnight aired a report on Atlantic Storm on January 17, 2005. Watch the video below (made available with permission of BBC).

Navigating the Storm: this article by Atlantic Storm authors includes a summary report on the exercise and recommendations for actions to improve national and internation response to large-scale attacks with biological weapons or fast-moving pandemics of a natural source.

Organizers and Sponsors

Atlantic Storm was authored and organized by the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC, the Center for Transatlantic Relations of Johns Hopkins University, and the Transatlantic Biosecurity Network

The exercise was sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

Atlantic Storm Executive Committee

  • Tara O'Toole, MD, MPH, Director/CEO, UPMC Center for Biosecurity
  • Thomas V. Inglesby, MD, Deputy Director/COO, UPMC Center for Biosecurity
  • Daniel Hamilton, PhD, Director, Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Esther Brimmer, PhD, Deputy Director & Director of Research, Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Colonel Randall Larsen (USAF, retired), Founder & CEO, Homeland Security Associates, LLC
  • Brad Smith, PhD, Atlantic Storm Project Director, UPMC Center for Biosecurity

Our special thanks to D.A. Henderson, MD, MPH for his invaluable contributions to the development of the Atlantic Storm exercise.







Situation Updates


Press Conference


Use of Materials

If you who would like to reference or use Atlantic Storm materials to please note the following:

  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security retains copyright with all rights reserved for all materials created for the Atlantic Storm exercise and posted on this website.
  • Links to our materials do not signal our endorsement of the site where the links originate.
  • Materials may not be reprinted (including reproduction for distribution or posting on another website) or adapted without the permission.

Requests to reprint, reproduce, or adapt Atlantic Storm materials, may be submitted by email to Please be sure to include your name, your institutional or organizational affiliation, the materials you would like to use, and a brief description of how you intend to use them. Please use the phrase "Request to use Atlantic Storm materials" in your subject line.


Exercise Observers
  • Morten Aasland, Embassy of Norway to the U.S.
  • Jason Altmire, UPMC
  • Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post
  • Ron Atlas, University of Louisville
  • Morten Baek-Soerensen, Embassy of Denmark to the U.S.
  • Pascal Barollier, AFP
  • Michael Bartoszcze, The Military Institute of Hygiene & Epidemiology, Poland
  • Karen Becker, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Penelope Bevan, UK Department of Health
  • Walter Biederbick, Robert Koch Institute
  • Ambassador Christian Blickenstorfer, Embassy of Switzerland to the U.S.
  • David Bowen, Office of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy
  • Martin Briens, Embassy of France to the U.S.
  • Ed Brown, U.S. Department of State
  • Don Burke, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Public Health
  • Jose Manuel Calvo, El Pais
  • Gabrielle Carruth, U.S. Congress
  • Seth Carus, U.S. National Defense University
  • Eileen Choffnes, U.S. National Academy of Sciences
  • Mirko Cigler, Embassy of Slovenia to the U.S.
  • Robert Cindrich, UPMC
  • Mitch Cohen, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Ambassador Arlette Conzemius, Embassy of Luxembourg to the U.S.
  • Nerissa Cook, U.S. Department of State
  • Richard Danzig, CSIS (Former Secretary of the United States Navy)
  • Jim Davis, Battelle
  • William de Laat, Embassy of Canada to the U.S.
  • Hans de Vreij, Radio Netherlands
  • Jerome Donlon, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times
  • Jacques Drucker, Embassy of France to the U.S.
  • Robert Duiven, Office of the National Co-Ordinator for Counter Terrorism, The Netherlands
  • James Dunlap, The Scowcroft Group
  • Gerald Epstein, Center for Strategic & International Studies
  • Pam Fessler, National Public Radio
  • Bruce Gellin, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Ralph Gomory, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Phil Green, Gardner, Carton & Douglas LLP
  • Jesper Gronvall, Crismart, Swedish National Defence College
  • Harald Guenther, Embassy of Austria to the U.S.
  • Marc Guillet, Algemeen Dagblad
  • Elin Gursky, ANSER
  • Michael Haltzel, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Clifford Hansen, U.S. Northern Command
  • Shelly Hearne, Trust for America's Health
  • D.A. Henderson, Center for Biosecurity of UPMC
  • Fred Hiatt, The Washington Post
  • Lars Hollner, EU Delegation to the U.S.
  • George Huber, UPMC
  • Guiseppe Ippolito, Istituto Nazionale Malattie Infettive Lazzaro Spallanzani
  • Robert Jevec, U.S. Department of Homeland Security - FEMA
  • Marvin Kalb, Harvard University
  • Elaine Kamarck, Harvard University
  • David Kay, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
  • Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, Die Zeit
  • Jozef Knap, Office of the Chief Sanitary Inspector, Poland
  • Paul Koring, The Globe and Mail
  • Peter Kovler, The Kovler Foundation
  • Marci Layton, New York City Department of Health
  • Corinne Lesnes, Le Monde
  • Rachel Levinson, U.S. Office of Science & Technology Policy
  • Christian-Marc Liflander, Embassy of Estonia to the U.S.
  • Miroslaw Luczka, Embassy of Poland to the U.S.
  • Sean Madigan, Congressional Quarterly
  • Stanislaw Majcherczyk, Foundation for Prevention of Terrorism and Biological Threats
  • Joel McCleary, Pharmathene
  • Kip McCormick, U.S. Military Academy
  • Maureen McGaffin, UPMC News Bureau
  • Tom McGinn, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • John Mintz, The Washington Post
  • Steve Monblatt, Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism
  • Bernard Munos, Eli Lilly and Company
  • Guido Olimpio, Corriere della Sera
  • Paula Olsiewski, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Stephen Orosz, CEP Consultants (Former NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General)
  • Marc Ostfield, U.S. Department of State
  • Nick Palarino, U.S. Congress
  • John Parker, The Economist
  • James Pavitt, The Scowcroft Group
  • Bob Perkins, Consensus Research
  • Ben Petro, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Florian Reindel, Embassy of Germany to the U.S.
  • Charles Robb, Former United States Senator
  • Kathleen Robertson, AT Kearney
  • Loren Roth, UPMC
  • Matthias Rueb, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
  • William Sanders, American Enterprise Institute
  • Klaus Schafer, U.S. Department of Defense
  • David Schanzer, U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee
  • Cynthia Schneider, Georgetown University
  • Marika Selga, Embassy of Latvia to the U.S.
  • Andrew Shapiro, Office of United States Senator Hillary Clinton
  • Stewart Simonson, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Jamie Smith, The Albright Group
  • Mark Smolinski, NTI
  • Byron Spice, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Ron St. John, Health Canada
  • Bengt Sundelius, Swedish Emergency Management Agency
  • Anders Tegnell, Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare
  • Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas, Embassy of Lithuania to the U.S.
  • John Vitko, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Frank Welsh, Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Tad Zachurski, Newsweek Poland

About the Transatlantic Biosecurity Network

The Transatlantic Biosecurity Network is a group of medical, public health, and national security experts from North America and Europe who have been meeting since early 2002. Members have provided insight on key issues that the transatlantic community would face in the event of a bioterrorist attack, and they were consulted in the development of Atlantic Storm. Members act in a personal capacity and not as official representatives of their nations or employers.

  • Dr. Walter Biederbick, Deputy Director, Centre for Biological Security, Robert Koch Institute, Germany
  • Eric Chevallier, MD, Associate Professor, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, and the French Ecole Nationale d'Administration, France
  • Dr. Ottorino Cosivi, Project Leader, Preparedness for Deliberate Epidemics, Department of Communicable Disease, Surveillance and Response, WHO
  • Jacques Drucker, MD, Counselor for Health Affairs, Embassy of France, Washington, DC, United States
  • Rob Duiven, Deputy Director, Department for Coordination and Cooperation, Staff of the National Anti-Terrorism Coordinator, The Netherlands
  • Jesper Grönvall, Senior Analyst, Co-director Training Program, Crismart, Swedish National Defence College, Sweden
  • Giuseppe Ippolito, MD, Scientific Director and Director of Department of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Italy
  • Stanislaw Majcherczyk, MD, PhD, President, Foundation for Prevention of Terrorism and Biological Threats, Poland
  • Dr. A.J.D. Neal, Member, UK Defence Scientific Advisory Council, High Level Expert to NATO Civil Emergency Planning Directorate, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Mary O'Mahony, Director, Local & Regional Services, Health Protection Agency, United Kingdom
  • Stephen C. Orosz, Director, CEPCON, a civil emergency consultancy, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary General,, Civil Emergency Planning and Exercises, NATO, United States (based in Brussels, Belgium)
  • Professor Bengt Sundelius, Chief Scientist, Swedish Emergency Management Agency, Sweden
  • Anders Tegnell, MD, PhD, MPH, Communicable Disease Unit, SoS, Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, Sweden
  • Frank Welsh, PhD, Director, Office of Emergency Preparedness, Planning and Training, Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Public Health Agency of Canada