Exclusive: Terrorism for the Next Generation

by JIM KOURI, CPP March 31, 2009
The Federal Bureau of Investigation predicts that sub-national and non-governmental entities will play an increasing role in world affairs for years to come, presenting new “asymmetric” threats to the United States, according to a report submitted to the National Association of Chiefs of Police and other law enforcement and security organizations.
The U.S. faces the threat of terrorism for at least the next generation, and terrorism targets will not necessarily be high profile ones such as the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. or the British transit attacks in July 2005, claim the authors of a new book on terrorism published.
“The fact that we have not been struck since 9/11 is a combination of preemptive strikes overseas, extra measures of diligence at home ... and a whole lot of good luck,” say Robert T. Jordan and Don Philpott, co-authors of Terror – Is America Safe?
There were over 11,000 terrorist attacks worldwide last year that killed more than 14,600 people. There hasn’t been a major terrorist incident in the United States since 9/11, but experts agree that it’s not “if,” but “when” we will be attacked in the future.
According to FBI estimates, there are at least 200,000 domestic terrorists in the United States, and counterterrorism agents have broken up a number of plots designed to attack national landmarks, kill and maim. Plots were thwarted in recent weeks to blow up national landmarks like Chicago’s SearsTower and to blow up trains in New York’s transit tunnels. Although official details have not been released, several other plots were uncovered and prevented.
Although the United States will continue to occupy a position of economic and political leadership – and although other governments will also continue to be important actors on the world stage – terrorist groups, criminal enterprises, and other non-state actors will assume an increasing role in international affairs. Nation states and their governments will exercise decreasing control over the flow of information, resources, technology, services, and people.
“As potential targets, such as military facilities, symbols of democracy, government buildings and infrastructure are ‘hardened,’ terrorists will shift to softer targets, such as churches, schools, malls, mass entertainment centers, high-rise apartments, transportation centers, and energy facilities,” they say.
“The terrorist’s goal will be to disrupt or destroy our economy, impose fear and uncertainty, break our national will and deflect our attention and support from the Middle East,” they add.
Technological advances will also provide terrorists and others with the potential to stay ahead of law enforcement countermeasures. For example, it will be easier and cheaper for small groups or individuals to acquire designer chemical or biological warfare agents, and correspondingly more difficult for forensic experts to trace an agent to a specific country, company, or group.
The authors claim that it is not the intent of their book to exaggerate the threats to people’s safety and security. It is, rather, to equip them with information that empowers them not to overreact, but to be prepared for possible terror attacks, including those involving biological and chemical weapons.
“Our hope is that this book will be a resource to intelligently put things in proper perspective ... so people and their loved ones may fully enjoy their birthright as Americans to pursue their right to seek the ‘security and happiness’ that is promised in our Constitution,” say Jordan and Philpott.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Jim Kouri, CPP is currently vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and a staff writer for the New Media Alliance . Feedback: editorialdirector@familysecuritymatters.org.

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