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Describe the strategy, tactics, and tools that are available to agencies within the U.S. To perform counter-terrorism operations
The basic strategy for agencies within the U.S. is to focus on coordinating with states and local officials. This means that between the different levels of government, there will be increased amounts of intelligence sharing. At the same time, there is a concentrated effort in working with first responders to effectively prevent and mitigate the effects of a terrorist attack. This is accomplished by having threat level alerts that will let everyone know when to be vigilant. (Alexander, 2007, pp. 559 -- 597)
Some of the tools that are utilized during this process include: facial recognition technology, bomb / explosive detectors, dogs, surveillance cameras and laws that give officials greater powers. A good example of this can be seen with the passage and renewal of the U.S.A. Patriot Act. After September 11th, these laws made it easier for the police to monitor the electronic and telephone related activities of terrorists without having to obtain a search warrant. When this tool was used in correlation with other assets, officials were more effective at catching terrorists during the process of planning an attack. (Alexander, 2007, pp. 559 -- 597)
Moreover, the U.S.A. Patriot Act went directly after the financing and support that terrorists were receiving (by requiring banks to report large transactions). This helped to provide any early warning sign of illicit activities. While it is providing a more complete picture of how the cell is operating and where they are receiving their support. The combination of these factors has allowed law enforcement to successfully prevent terrorist attacks. (Alexander, 2007, pp. 559 -- 597)
Describe the strategy, tactics, and tools that are available to U.S. agencies and the military to perform counter-terrorism operations abroad
The basic strategy that the U.S. is using abroad is to directly target Al Qaeda operatives wherever they are located in the world. In most cases, this will involve working with allies and other nations to go after these individuals. However, there are situations where they have been hiding out in remote regions that are supported by unfriendly regimes. (Kagely, 2011, pp. 217 -- 222)
In this case, the U.S. strategy is to directly or indirectly send forces in an area to create stable governments (which are friendlier). They would work with the military and other agencies in establishing a security presence and directly going after terrorists. In Afghanistan, this approach involved sending in military troops. While at other times, the basic strategy may require local forces or a contingent of allies going into the region. (Kagely, 2011, pp. 217 -- 222)
To achieve these objectives, the U.S. will use a number of different tools in conjunction with each other. To include: the use of military forces / assets, electronic communication, unmanned aerial drones, computer virus and monitoring Al Qaeda-based chat rooms / websites. A good example of how the U.S. will use these tactics in correlation with one another can be seen with drone strikes occurring inside Pakistan. Despite working with U.S. officials, Pakistan was unable to root out key elements in the Northwest tribal region. (Kagely, 2011, pp. 217 -- 222)
To prevent this from becoming a safe haven, the U.S. has been conducting aerial drone strikes. This is designed to disrupt the activities of Al Qaeda by targeting their top leadership. The fact that Pakistan could not go after these people is a sign that the U.S. will use any of its resources to locate and kill these individuals. This is illustrating how this kind of approach will target the terrorists where ever they are located. In those situations when there is good cooperation, the U.S. will work exclusively with local officials. While in instances where there could be a potential safe haven, the military will use it resources to after these groups. (Kagely, 2011, pp. 217 -- 222)
Note key differences between counter-terrorism strategy, tactics, and tools in and outside the U.S.
The biggest difference in the use of counterterrorism is the ability to use lethal force and other methods of integration. Overseas, this is designed to provide U.S. officials with actionable information they can use to directly disrupt Al Qaeda's activities. The way that this is accomplished is to try to arrest and send suspects to locations where they will be subject to harsher treatment (i.e. foreign prisons and Guantanamo Bay). This is where prisoners will go through intense questioning (with the utilization of tools such as: water boarding). These kinds of tactics are more severe (which are circumventing many international accords and provisions). However, there is no legal definition or classification on how to treat terrorist suspects. Given the fact that they are a threat, the military will not take any chances and will use these tools / tactics to find out what they know. (Kagely, 2011, pp. 217 -- 278)
This is different from the techniques that are utilized domestically. In these kinds of situations, there is a focus on using legal tactics to target terrorists (by having everyone stay within the provisions of the law). However, there are situations where American citizens have been arrested. In these cases, many have been sent to military prisons and were declared enemy combatants. After a lengthy court challenges, is when they are turned over to law enforcement and prosecuted. (Kagely, 2011, pp. 217 -- 278)
This is showing how the domestic tactics have become more aggressive. Yet, they are still very limited in comparison to the kinds of tools that are utilized when questioning suspects overseas. As a result, the U.S. will take the more questionable cases and send them to overseas locations (in order to learn everything about Al Qaeda's activities). This is creating two different approaches that are being used by counter terrorism officials when dealing with these threats. (Kagely, 2011, pp. 217 -- 278)
Explain why it is or is not necessary for the U.S. To maintain a presence abroad to perform counter-terrorism operations
It is imperative that U.S. maintains some kind of presence abroad to perform counter terrorism. The reason why is because if this position is not taken, many nations will no longer focus on these kinds of threats. This is when terrorist related groups could be able to continue with their work without any kind of interference.
Once this happens, is when these organizations have the potential of being able to develop more sophisticated financing and deadly weapons. This is the point that there is a realistic possibility of Al Qaeda acquiring nuclear, biological or chemical related materials. If this were to occur, these weapons could be used to target an American city. This is when there will be severe disruptions to the economy and specific regions (from the collateral damage).
If the U.S. is maintaining an active counter terrorism presence overseas, these kinds of threats can be dealt with early. This is because it will make it difficult for Al Qaeda operatives to have any kind of safe havens. Instead, they are forced to face the constant threat of attack and arrest. This makes it harder for them to plan, prepare and coordinate. As the materials they could use will be closely monitored and there is a constant presence on the street. This is when they will face more challenges during the planning and preparation stages. (Mickoulus, 2011, pg. 164)
A good example of this can be seen with the arrest of three individuals who were planning on attacking Fort Dix, New Jersey in 2007. Their basic strategy was to gain access to the base (through their pizza delivery jobs) and then attack personnel. To prepare, the group video recorded their meetings and training. When they were having all of their videos dubbed into one, is…[continue]
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