Of note to our course on HLS/HLD, the new 2015 NMS states; “Provide for Military Defense of the Homeland. Emerging state and non-state capabilities pose varied and direct threats to our homeland. Thus we are striving to interdict attack preparations abroad, defend against limited ballistic missile attacks, and protect cyber systems and physical infrastructure. Key homeland defense capabilities include resilient space-based and terrestrial indications and warning systems; an integrated intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination architecture; a Ground-Based Interceptor force; a Cyber Mission Force; and, ready ground, air and naval forces. We also are leveraging domestic and regional partnerships to improve information sharing and unity of effort. These capabilities will better defend us against both high technology threats and terrorist dangers” (Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2015, p.11).
Now, let me shift a little here, since this is a class in Homeland Security and Homeland Defense, you may be aware that one of the greatest threats this nation faces to the homeland comes from within – by that I mean homegrown extremism and homegrown terrorism. The main threat of homegrown attacks at this point in time is from terrorists that are directed by groups such as al Qaeda or increasingly from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria / al-Sham or ISIS (like happened in Paris and Brussels) or (more likely) inspired online by these groups (as we saw in San Bernadino, Orlando and NY City recently–twice). In fact, the former Secretary of Homeland Security frequently stated that “We are concerned about the independent actor, the so-called lone wolf who could strike at a moment’s notice” (see DHS Secretary Comments). Another example of this was the attempted terrorist attack in Garland Texas where two ISIS inspired “lone wolf” extremists in body armor and assault rifles attempting a mass shooting and/or assassination against a cartoon contest there. Recently, Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security stated that the threat from homegrown terrorism can be expected to be a permanent condition (see Tom Ridge on threat to America from ISIS). Also, for more on this I wrote an article for AMU’s InHomelandSecurity titled “The Ever Evolving Terrorism Threat to the US” that you may find informative. All of these predate the attacks in San Bernardino, Orlando and the two in NY City recently.
So the main forum question for this week focused on the importance of strategies related to homeland security, how these efforts are aligned, and that (hopefully) these strategies help prioritize national efforts and focus effort, and resources. So taking what I said above about the current homegrown terrorist threat and combining that with your lesson readings and forum question on homeland security strategies, I would like to know your thoughts on how these strategies (in particular, the below National Strategy for Counterterrorism) addresses this threat of homegrown terrorism (either directed or inspired by overseas terrorist groups)?
Thanks, Dr G.
Obama, B. (2011). National Strategy for Counterterrorism. White House. Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/counterterrorism_strategy.pdf