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Discussion Questions: What new terrorist tactics do you expect to see in the future? How should U.S. counter-terrorism strategy evolve to meet these threats?
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1. For this weeks discussion I will be expanding upon some of the tactics I believe terrorists will us in the future and some of the ways in which the U.S. will have to alter its strategy to counter such threats. As terrorists evolve their tactics, I believe one of the methods that they will increasingly use more and more into the future is that of mass murders through active shooter tactics (FEMA, 2011). For starters the reason that I refer to this tactic as mass murders through active shooter tactics is to separate this tactic from mass murders conducted by mentally ill individuals who carry out active shootings for an individual plan not connected to terrorism but rather based off a mentally sick and simple desire to hurt others. The main reason that I believe this to be a tactic used by terrorists moving forward is due to the simplicity of planning and the large response produced by fear and spotlighted by the media and political figures. The ability to use one individual will few resources and be able to effectively render high numbers of casualties by kinetic force can produce much larger desired results in the days, weeks, and months following a terrorist attack by this tactic (FEMA, 2011). From this basic attack it will create fear, panic, and division among the general population resulting in the terrorists desired outcome. So how does the United States adapt its strategy to meet such a threat and tactic? In order to counter such a tactic, it will require a strategy which empowers local law enforcement to have the necessary resources in order to identify potential threats and if such a threat is carrying out an attack to safely stop such a threat (Schwerin, 2022). Additionally the strategy should include means of which suspected individuals who are displaying signs can be reported in order to conduct an investigation in order to stop such types of tactics from being carried out (Schwerin, 2022).
2. What new terrorist tactics do you expect to see in the future?
Besides access to the internet, I can see and expect terrorists to use artificial intelligence and drone technology more in the future for their tactics. Drones are relatively cheap and are easily accessible in Iran, which we all know is a flagged terror state by the US. Between 1994 and 2018, there have been more than 14 terrorist attacks with drones, and the number continues to grow with how relatively inexpensive drones are becoming. ISIS has already used unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct attacks and the Iranian-backed Shia militants (ODNI, 2021). An attempted assassination of President Maduro of Venezuela occurred in August of 2018 with two drones loaded with explosives. In January 2018, 13 homemade drones also attacked two Russian bases in Syria (Pledger, 2021).
As technology advances with drone technology, their capability to carry more explosives, weapons, and even chemical weapons in more significant quantities makes the future of terrorism scarier. More efficient batteries and electric motors to gas-powered jet engines allow drones to be as small as less than 2 feet across or allow massive 8-bladed drowns that can carry upwards of 500 pounds. Drones can also be high-speed. Jet-powered drones can reach speeds over 600 mph and reach an altitude of up to 30,000 ft. Whether flown autonomously through GPS programming or under the control of a person and a remote control, the use of drones in more terror attacks in the future is almost certain (Pledger, 2021).
How should the US counter-terrorism strategy evolve to meet these threats?
To counter the threats of terrorist drones domestically, the US government, in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), needs to develop a better radar tracking system for all drone systems. The US and the FAA can create and implement radio frequency (RF) jammers and place them in strategic locations around government buildings and military bases around the globe. RF jammers are relatively effective in blocking or jamming both radio frequencies for radio-controlled drones and in jamming or blocking the signals for Wi-fi or Bluetooth wireless-controlled drones that are programmed to fly autonomously. Another possibility of countering rogue terrorist drones is the potential of training large prey birds such as eagles and falcons. Police in the Netherlands have trained sea eagles to take down illegal drones but were limited to their training area. The US Air Force is also considering the possibility of training falcons to take out drones (Pledger, 2021) (Ong, 2017).