Terrorist Strategies and Tactics

Step #2: Understand What Potential Terrorists Wish to Accomplish, and How They Operate. While there are would-be terrorists who are content to create nuisance events - hoax bomb threats for example - serious terrorists aim to cause major damage to people, property, and society, in four basic ways.

• Inflicting mass casualties by explosion, fire, or toxic release: for example, detonating a bomb, attacking a chemical storage tank to release its contents, releasing a biologic agent, or arson in a public building.

• Contamination: for example, adding a pathogen to drinking water, introducing an agricultural disease.

• Disruption of basic infrastructure or society: for example, initiating a computer virus attack, blowing up key electrical substations or factories, attacking government officials and offices, and attacking key cultural icons such as sporting events, tourist destinations, and national monuments.

• Theft or improper acquisition of materials for various purposes including to conduct the types of attacks described above, for example, stealing an ingredient with which to manufacture illegal drugs (which finance terrorist activities), buying fertilizer from an agricultural distributor for use as a bomb, hijacking an airplane.

Actions may fit into multiple categories. For example, the 9/11 terrorists misappropriated airplanes, crashed them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, causing fire, mass casualties, and disruption of communications and financial market activity, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars in military spending and the lives lost in subsequent military action.

Depending on the extent of the result the terrorist seeks, a terrorist or a terrorist group may plan its attack well in advance, in some cases for many years before launching the attack. Planning can include obtaining publicly available information about the target, infiltrating the target organization, conducting surveillance, and colluding with an employee inside the target organization, either forcefully or with that employee's knowledge.

The advance planning and the associated surveillance provides the best opportunity to deter, detect the attack during the planning stages so that the attack can be stopped before it happens, or to delay an attack to lessen its impact or provide time for military or police response.

Different groups of terrorists tend to organize their attacks in common patterns. For example, Al Qaeda favors broad-scope attacks that are technically advanced, but do so much less frequently than Palestinian terrorists who act more frequently - by some accounts more than 20,000 attacks on Israel from 2000 to 2004 - with a single operative, on a relatively smaller scale.

Therefore, by being aware of the results certain terrorist groups wish to achieve and the tactics used by these groups, a facility owner can better understand how the facility could be used by the terrorist.

0 0

Post a comment