Cilluffo, Cozzens, and Ranstorp (2010) outline potential problems areas associated with the trend of western nationals going into troubled
areas and becoming radicalized. Read this paper and using it with the many sources contained within, answer the following questions:
- How are terrorist recruiters using target assessment and vulnerability analysis in their selection?
- What tools do the recruiters use to select targets?
- Based on the reading, how vulnerable does the U.S and Western Europe remain today to this type of recruitment and utilization? Explain
- Using the Boyd loop, how would you prepare the steps for counter activities prior to the ACT phase?
DOMESTIC TERRORISM 2
Terrorism is the premeditated use of threat by subnational groups or even individuals to
use violence against noncombatants with an aim to obtain social or political objectives trough the
intimidation of a large audience. Terrorism can be categorized as transnational or even domestic
events, whereby domestic terrorism involves homegrown terrorists, who in most cases are
trained at home and even financed there. On the other side transnational terrorism occurs when
victims, governments, institutions, perpetrators of more than two countries are involved example
the hijacking incidences. Investigations have been conducted to be able to discern the cumulative
aggregate patterns of the terrorists over a long period whereby terrorist threats have changed over
time (Brandt & Snadler, 2009). Along the perimeters of the government buildings, improved
barriers were placed in order to minimize damage from the car and truck bombs thus; bomb
sniffing devices were also installed at airports after on-board bombs brought down planes.
According to Brandt and Sandler (2009), terrorists are known to use the target assessment
and vulnerability analysis in their selection process to improve their chances of success during
their strikes. In addition, Hoffman (2006) supports that most of the latest terrorist attacks have
been more successful than the past attacks due to initial target assessment that is designed to
eliminate any possible errors. Moreover, the terrorist are likely to strike the most vulnerable
groups with more a valuable price. With this regard, attacks on private parties have increased
over time since they provide soft targets that favor their vulnerability analysis (Cilluffo, Cozzens,
& Ranstorp, 2010). Terrorists are known to choose among their targeted groups to maximize
their expected utility or even payoff since the average cost per incidence is constant and not
dependent on the number of attacks. A state should not favor one type of target since this will
increase the incidences against the target class and terrorists may take advantage of this.
Terrorists who pose high political demands to the government, they become more publicly
DOMESTIC TERRORISM 3
known for their cause of actions. If granted their political demands the terrorists may reduce the
number of attacks against their target group and in turn they increase the number of attacks on a
relatively cheaper other types of targets.
According to Brandt and Sandler (2009), there are many types of tools used by the
terrorists such as bombs, non-aerial hijackings, skyjackings, hostage seizures, barricade and
kidnappings which are regarded as the best weapons by the terrorists to their target groups.
Nature of victim is a tool that terrorists use to select their targets and it helps them identify
whether the attack only involves property or involves people alone. More missions against
people rather than property are being completed as planned for all target types owing to relative
considerations since their vulnerability is always high. Logistical success is another tool used by
terrorists in selecting their target and this is done by securing one or more hostages in a
kidnapping or even they may decide to plant a bomb that will later explode (Hoffman, 2006).
Target classes, especially military and the officials are now allocated more security as we also
anticipate to see a reduction in terrorist attacks on them. There are various media tools used by
the terrorists in selecting their targets and these tools include: YouTube, Facebook, blogs, twitter,
message boards, audio recording, DVDs and websites (Brandt & Sandler, 2009). These tools are
known to provide figures that can bridge and relate to social subgroups in a comfortable medium
that is well understood by the targeted audience.
The United States and Western Europe are vulnerable to the terrorist recruitment and
utilization due to their deployment of their fighters in the Middle East regions which is the
bedrock of terrorists. In addition, the stationing of their troops in Islamic countries has greatly
fueled the mobilization of Muslim fundamentalist that are determined to advance the terrorism
ideals. The western military involvement while tackling terrorists also continue to award them
DOMESTIC TERRORISM 4
more sympathy, especially from the Muslim community who feel that they are being targeted
with by the west. Moreover, there is a very high presence of social media in the west and the
terrorist use such media to source for cheap recruits to advance their ideals (Cilluffo, Cozzens, &
Ranstorp, 2009). Therefore, the United States and other western countries are highly vulnerable
to terrorist activities.
In order to counter the terrorist activities, the western countries first need to fully
understand the operations of the terrorism threats, both at the tactical and strategic level. The law
enforcement and the intelligence services should be properly equipped with tools and
technologies that can help them deal with the terrorists. Moreover, the western countries should
heavily invest in counter-radicalization efforts that are effective enough to destabilize all the
radicalization threats (Brandt & Sandler, 2009). Moreover, the west should not overlook the
opportunities to infiltrate the jihadist networks and pay a close attention on how such networks
utilize homogenous groups of foreign fighters.
DOMESTIC TERRORISM 5
Brandt, Patrick T., and Todd Sandler. 2009. Hostage taking: Understanding terrorism event
dynamics. Journal of Policy Modelling 31 (5):758-778.
Brandt, P. T. and Sandler, T. (2009). What do transnational terrorists target? Has it changed? Are
we safer? Journal of Conflict Resolution.