Terror plots continue to increase on United States soil. Although many have been foiled by law enforcement officials, some, like the Christmas Day Terrorist, as labeled by the media, are increasingly becoming more likely to succeed. This Nigerian National who attempted to destroy a Northwest Airlines aircraft as it came on final approach to Detroit is a vivid demonstration how United States protection resources still have their challenges on effectively reacting to actionable intelligence. Terrorist such as this individual often hide under the Muslim extremist ideology of Jihad. Jihad... this term has various meanings and components amongst Muslims. However, my research indicates that Jihad dominantly means struggle to most Muslims. This term has become the billboard terminology for the religious war against western culture. Jihad is often related to the preservation of the Islamic state; however, it has come to describe the ideology of militant Islamic groups’ associated with terrorism.
Ideologies stem from ones perception of social and political forces. We understand that Muslim extremist often use their perception of Jihad to motivate acts of terror against western cultures. Ideology is perhaps the single most important weapon in this new war on terror. Understanding the components of extreme Muslims ideology is essential in diffusing terror organizations. However, is American law enforcement lumping all acts of mass violence as a terrorist action?
I agree that terror can be instilled by one person just as effectively as an organization. However, preventing attacks relies on understanding individual motives. Terrorist organizations rely on ideologies, predominately religious, rather than self compiled reasons for their violent acts. Terrorists belong to an organization that continues to learn from its foot soldiers actions. Information, both organizational successes and failures, are thoroughly analyzed. The data extracted from this analysis is used for future terrorist acts. In essence terrorist organizations are a living organism that strives for success and instilment of its ideological values.
Incidents such as an active shooter(s), regardless if they are at school, work, or a public location, are motivated by an individual or individual’s personal incentive that can typically be linked to a triggering incident. Stimulus for this type of individual contrasts that of an organizational terrorist. Although both progress through the four stages of any terrorist, previously defined in a past article The Enemy Within, as Visionary, Developmental, Advance and Execution stage, the active shooter's killing reign will typically end the day of commencement. Terrorist organizations will continue to grow and improve with every attempt, regardless if their plan was thwarted. American authorities have increased their understanding on the motivation of a domestic active shooter, which has remorsefully become a common term in the American household. However, it appears that state and local law enforcement, predominantly, are relying on then federal partners to identify local terrorist organizations. This is not a viable trend for the safety of our country. Understanding various ideologies, drives and recruitment methods by state and local agencies creates a force multiplier in our current war. The patrol element is the most visual component of any state and local police department. It is these patrol officers that can typically identify irregularities occurring in their geographic area of responsibility.
Terrorist organizations are emerging globally. They are not restricted to near or middle east countries. An example of a powerful ideological group dominating Europe beliefs in Salafisim. Their ideology visualizes that all of human kind live under one umbrella, that of the ancient Muslim religion. Individuals who believe in this ideology are referred to as Salfists.
Research demonstrates that Salafists are increasingly growing globally. They are embracing Jihad as defined by Muslim Extremist. Salafisim is spreading to young Muslims through the use of the internet and chat rooms. Their ideology is rapidly growing on a global level. Osama bin Laden's second in command of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiriv is a follower of the Salafisim ideology. Although my experience with local American law enforcement is that they can associate this individual with al-Qaeda, they do not understand what ideology drove this individual. It is noteworthy to highlight that while the majority of Salifists value traditional Muslim beliefs, not all Salifists endorse the Jihad as defined by the Muslim extremists.
From a global perspective, European authorities understand and monitor radical ideological groups. They understand that terrorist organizations are not necessarily tied to a particular country; rather, they are united by their beliefs. This allows for global recruitment based on ideology. Although European officials continue to take a proactive approach in identifying global jihadist organizations, such as Salafists, American authorities have neglected to take such an approach on all levels of enforcement. United States officials on the local and state level must enhance their vigilance in educating themselves on this identification process.
American Law Enforcement has created community awareness, reactionary and recovery plans for an active shooter. These practices are not as widely implemented when it comes to identifying terrorist organizations that reside in the United States. Proactive monitoring of communities and communication with citizens are essential cornerstones in identifying emerging terrorist cells. Lateral communication through fusion centers and law enforcement intelligence components, must be incorporated. This war on terror is not one that can be won by armies alone, but rather by altering prospective terrorist recruit's ideology. This is the prevention phase. Recent events highlight the effects of home grown terrorists. Communities in conjunction with American law enforcement must maintain vigilance with the ability to quickly react to identified threats. It is critical that these terrorists become dismantled prior to them reaching the Execution Stage. Terrorist organizations are becoming more complex and engaging in terrorist plots on a more frequent level. American law enforcements untapped defense is education at the local and state level, specifically the patrol officer. It is the patrol officer that understands the community that they patrol, more so than a detached intelligence unit. American officials have a vast amount of underutilized resources in this war; the luxury of reliance on specialty units or federal partners can no longer be accepted as the norm.
Perhaps it was best said by former President George W. Bush, "Terrorists need to be right once. We need to be right 100% of the time."