Prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States had a long record of safeguarding against home front attacks. When the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred, many people, including key government officials, were shocked that a terrorist attack, especially one of such magnitude, could occur on American soil. Since then, homeland security has become a top priority. Structures, policies, and strategies in existence prior to 9/11 have been critically examined to determine inadequacies, and new structures, policies, and strategies have been developed. This course is designed to give you an understanding of terrorism, terrorist groups, and pre- and post-9/11 U.S. counterterrorism structures, policies, and strategies. Understanding these areas is fundamental to combating terrorism and predicting and preventing future terrorist attacks.
Terrorism by definition is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of criminal laws for purpose of intimidation, coercion, or ransom. Terrorist acts range from threats and assassinations to hijackings and bombings (FEMA, 2009). These acts are of extremism born from no single race, religion, national, or political affiliation. Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. It has existed in every era of history and continues to evolve. Likewise, terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda have evolved, adapted, and sometimes flourished despite heightened international efforts to combat terrorism and dismantle terrorist groups. The likelihood of terrorism ceasing to exist in the future is slim to none; however, there are strategies that can slow the promulgation of terrorist groups, stifle terrorist activities, and predict and prevent future terrorist attacks.
You begin your study of terrorism by examining its potential causes as well as the motivations of terrorists. In doing so, you might be surprised to learn that there is no one single cause of terrorism. Rather, there is a multitude of causes or contributing factors that may lead to terrorism. These causes or contributing factors include poverty, perceived social and political injustice, religious extremism, fanaticism, ethnic conflict, and inequality. Just as there is no one single cause of terrorism, there is no agreed-upon profile that applies to all terrorists. While many people may assume that terrorists generally are uneducated, mentally unstable, or have a history of criminal activity, this simply is not the case. Terrorists come from a wide array of backgrounds and in some ways share similarities with the general population, making it difficult to detect them. There also are many different political, religious, social, and psychological motivations for terrorists to commit acts of terror.
In addition to studying terrorists and their motivations, you also examine terrorist groups, their evolution, and their distinct characteristics. Initially you are exposed to literature on a wide range of terrorist groups, including homegrown and international terrorist groups. However, as you progress through the course, you focus exclusively on Al Qaeda and its associated movements (AQAM). You focus on AQAM because it poses a significant threat to U.S. homeland security. As you study AQAM, you consider its political objectives, ideology, worldview, and terrorist activities. You also consider the current debate about its evolution and structure as a leaderless movement or a hierarchical organization.
The remaining weeks of the course focus on U.S. counterterrorism structures, policies, and strategies. You begin by examining the pre-9/11 approach to terrorism. Prior to 9/11, terrorism was viewed as a law enforcement issue rather than a homeland security issue. Therefore, the focus was on gathering evidence to capture and convict suspected terrorists of crimes they had already committed rather than trying to predict and prevent terrorist attacks. In addition, government agencies vital to the prevention of terrorism (e.g. FBI, CIA, FAA, etc.) lacked communication and collaboration. To round out your study of the pre-9/11 approach to terrorism, you also explore the 9/11 Commission Report. The 9/11 Commission was created in late 2002 to examine the circumstances surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2004, the Commission published a report that included missteps that occurred prior to the attacks as well as recommendations for future counterterrorism efforts. You explore those recommendations, their significance, and their implementation.
After the 9/11 Commission published their report, there were major changes made to national security laws and policies. Several legislative acts were passed to strengthen national security, ensure public safety, and prevent future terrorist attacks. You explore many of these legislative acts, including the Transportation Security Act, Homeland Security Act, Comprehensive Security Act, and Patriot Act, as well as their strengths and limitations. This provides you with foundational knowledge for a later week in this course, in which you examine the delicate balance between civil liberties and national security. It also provides you with foundational knowledge to complete the Final Project. For your Final Project, you are asked to develop a proposal on how to improve U.S. counterterrorism policy in a specific area.
The “lessons learned” and recommendations from the 9/11 Commission Report, and the laws and policies passed following 9/11, directly influence contemporary U.S. counterterrorism strategies. One area that received significant attention was intelligence. Information gathering is an important tool for predicting and preventing terrorist attacks and warning government officials and citizens of potentially imminent terrorist attacks. However, there are many challenges related to collecting intelligence and issuing warnings. In this course, you explore pre- and post-9/11 counterterrorism strategies and consider some of the challenges related to ensuring the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts.
As you near the end of the course, you take an in-depth look at international law, its impact on the designation, detainment, and treatment of suspected terrorists, and the political, legal, and ethical issues related to the treatment of detainees. As you do so, you consider the complexities related to how to best manage suspected terrorists during times of war. You also reflect on the future of Al Qaeda in the coming years and consider how the U.S. might amend or adapt its structures, policies, and strategies to address the evolving terrorist threat.
Causes of Terrorism
Experts agree that there is no single cause of terrorism. Depending on the terrorist and the terrorist group, terrorism might arise from any number of factors including but not limited to religious beliefs, political ideologies, and perceived injustice. How do you determine which of these factors or causes are most significant? The answer to this question directly shapes future policies developed to prevent terrorism. For instance, if a terrorist group has a specific religious affiliation, that does not mean that all people with that religious belief are terrorists. Thus, any future policies created to impact this terrorist group need to be aware of the differences within that terrorist group and their religious affiliations.
To prepare for this Discussion:
Review the Course Introduction, located above in BOLD. Keep this overview in mind as you work through each week of the course.
Review Chapter 2 in the course text, Introduction to Homeland Security: Understanding Terrorism with an Emergency Management Perspective. Pay particular attention to how terrorism is defined. Also, consider different types of terrorism.
Review Chapter 3 in the course text, Introduction to Homeland Security: Understanding Terrorism with an Emergency Management Perspective and the course media, “Causes of Terrorism.” Reflect on the causes of terrorism.
Select three causes of terrorism you believe to be the most significant and consider why.
With these thoughts in mind:
Post by Day 1 a brief description of the three causes of terrorism you selected. Then explain why you think they are most significant. Be specific and use examples to support your explanation.
Note: Put the names of the causes you selected in the first line of your post. You will be asked to respond to a colleague who selected at least one cause that you did not.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.
Expand on your colleague’s posting.
One and a half page with at least two reference….
It is important that you cover all the topics identified in the assignment. Covering the topic does not mean mentioning the topic BUT presenting an explanation from the context of ethics and the readings for this class
To get maximum points you need to follow the requirements listed for this assignments 1) look at the page limits 2) review and follow APA rules 3) create subheadings to identify the key sections you are presenting and 4) Free from typographical and sentence construction errors.
REMEMBER IN APA FORMAT JOURNAL TITLES AND VOLUME NUMBERS ARE ITALICIZED.
MULTIPLE USE OF INTEXT CITATION
Course Introduction (located on the left navigation bar)
Course Text: Mahan, S., & Griset, P. L. (2013).Terrorism in perspective(3rd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.
oChapter 1, “What is Terrorism?”
oChapter 3, “International Terrorism” (pp. 98-107 only)
oChapter 7, “Women Terrorists” (pp. 245-254 only)
Course Text: McEntire, D. A. (2009). Introduction to homeland security: Understanding terrorism with an emergency management perspective. New York: Wiley.
oChapter 2, “Identifying Terrorism: Ideologically Motivated Acts of Violence”
oChapter 3, “Recognizing the Causes of Terrorism: Differing Perspectives and the Role of Ideology”
oChapter 4, “Comprehending Terrorists and Their Behavior: Who They Are and What They Do”
Website: U.S. Department of State: More Information. Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/j/ct/info/index.htm
Video: Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Terrorism: Legislation and policy: Causes of terrorism. Baltimore: Author.