Global insurgents are becoming an epidemic. Insurgents utilize the internet, religious institutions and radical ideology to identify conspirators to accomplish their goal of inflicting terror. The United States has not been exempt from global insurgents. According to the media, it appears that international terror plots are foiled on a monthly, if not a weekly basis. This suggests that law enforcement is commendably collaborating on an international level.
In the United States, law enforcement has exhaustively trained to defeat Active Shooters. Regardless of the training, these Active Shooter scenarios seem to occur at an ever growing pace. Some blame the media for immortalizing the suspects, while others contribute it to the frustrating economic conditions. Theories about the cause of an Active Shooter differ dramatically, however one commonality exists: the end result equals death and devastation to the community.
Key note individuals with intelligence backgrounds comment on the growth of hometown terrorists. Law enforcement and the American public are aware of this prediction. Imagine the devastation, not only from a casualty or economically perspective, but from a psychological one. Many of us recall the DC Sniper case. Residing in the area, I experienced firsthand the emotional tribulations that citizens and law enforcement faced; the anxiety attacks and family scheduling changes for something as simple as fueling their vehicles to avoid being the next victim of a sniper attack. Chaos gripped the Washington DC region. This chaos was caused by an adult and teenager that were at best, mediocre in comparison to a military-trained sharp shooter.
From an international perspective, in the first week in October 2010 the United States State Department issued travel warnings to western European nations. The Washington Times reported on how United States operatives gained information that Ahmad Siddiqui, a German citizen, had direct contacts with some of the September 11th, hijackers. "One reason Siddiqui is important is because he was recruited at the Taiba Mosque in Hamburg, Germany, which was a core part of Osama bin Laden's network at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks. The mosque was closed down just weeks after Siddiqui was detained in Afghanistan," relayed Thomas Joscelyn, a member of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "This says to me the plot is being planned at the highest levels of al Qaeda: Osama bin Laden."
The picture on the puzzle box is becoming uncomfortably clear to United States intelligence and law enforcement operatives. Terrorist cells are becoming the norm in today's modern world. Subsequently, like all things, these cells will evolve to maximize their desired effect. The majority of law enforcement has had some exposure to acronyms, such as B-NICE (Biological, Nuclear, Incendiary, Chemical and Explosive) or CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive). The meaning of these acronyms is quickly becoming something that America's defenders must be prepared to encounter and mitigate.
Terrorists are graduating from the Active Shooter scenarios and transcending into the realm of weapons of mass destruction, WMD. The over utilized statement of it is hard for terrorist to acquire these types of weapons, (meaning WMDs) should be a statement of the past and certainly not for the present. International examples of terrorist use of WMDs are evident. In a country whose majority of citizens prior to September 11 were in a blanket of darkness they have rapidly been brought into the relentless battle with terrorism.
We know the ideology and the terrorist recruitment method exists. Terrorist have used the international community as their playing field. This war of terror is unlike any in our nation's history. The war is not conducted on a sterile environment like past wars, where the enemy was on foreign soil. America's homegrown terrorists are evolving like a cancer and rapidly spreading. The odds of attainment and deployment of WMD on America's soil are becoming a reality. Terrorist are graduating from junior varsity tactics, such as single Active Shooters incidents, to the varsity club of WMDs.
Terrorist attacks have also evolved, such as the 2008 Mumbai incident where ten coordinated attacks resulting in the death of over 170 people and 300 wounded. This decade has hosted numerous terror plots against Europe alone. The Madrid train bombing is perhaps one of the most destructive and publicized European terror attacks in recent memory. This attack killed over 190 people and injured over 1,800. It is yet another example of coordinated terrorist attacks. Examples of this type of terrorist attack can be extensively referenced. However, our goal as American intelligence and law enforcement communities is to learn from these incidents and prevent them or at the very least curtail the effects of such an attack.
In my opinion, one of the most important contributions in preventing terrorists' attacks is educating the general public. The majority of law enforcement is trained, or at the very least exposed, to terrorist indicators and the practical effects of WMD, not the exaggerated Hollywood version on the affects of WMDs. The current White House administration National Security Strategy advises, in context to a terrorist threat, Our best defenses against this threat are well informed and equipped families, local communities, and institutions. Subscribing to the belief that education is critical in preventing a terrorist attack or reducing the terror that subside such an attack, the questions raised are why are we as law enforcement not partnering with the public to instruct them on terrorist indicators and the real effects that a WMD will have on a community and the nation?
Educational crime seminars with topics of narcotics, gangs and identity theft are commonly taught by law enforcement to educate communities. Community members, to include business organizations, understand their affects and provide law enforcement with immeasurable tips and insight on dismantling these types of organizations. However, where perhaps the most immediate and dangerous threats to this nation exist, we have done little to educate the public. Knowledge on the acquisition and affects of a WMD will minimize the nation's potential of an executable terrorist plot. It will also allow the public to rationally react to such an attack in the event one is ever executed. This reaction will reduce the amount of terror in our community, ironically counteracting the terrorist goal of creating terror.
The word terrorist is becoming a common household topic in America. Experts agree the reality is that America will see another terrorist incident on her soil. Unfortunately, it may include the use of WMDs. Terrorists continually look for innovative ways to employ maximum terror. These fanatical organizations are cunning, driven and financially supported. There is little reason to believe that a WMD of some sort will not be attained and deployed on American soil. It is often not the situation that dictates chaos but the response. Therefore, community, media and law enforcement partnerships are essential in preventing and minimizing the affects of a terror strike.