September 11, 2001, better known as “9/11”, is undoubtedly a day carved in the minds of many people, not only in the United States, but across the world. On that day terrorists shattered the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. Additionally, they smashed the Pentagon building by means of skyjacked commercial airlines as weapons of mass destruction. As a result, thousands of innocent lives were destroyed in the air and on the ground.
Apparently, one week later, bio-agent threats from domestic terrorism occurred there. In this regard, envelops containing anthrax spores were delivered to the broadcasting media via the United States Postal Service in New Jersey. On October 9, more anthrax mailings addressed to the United States Senators in Washington D. C. were found. Terrorism has thus resulted in a number of deaths and contributed to growing anxiety about terrorism in America and the world in general, necessitating the need for tactics/organizations to effectively deal with it.
History of Tactics/Organizations
In order to fight terrorism, one of the organizations was put in charge that was a National Counterterrorism Centre in the United States. Its mission is to lead the nation’s effort to fight terrorism not only within the American borders, but also abroad (NCTC, 2012). It generally works by analyzing terrorist threats, sharing information with partners, as well as integrating all implements of national power for the sake of unity of effort (NCTC, 2012).
NCTC is made up of employees from partner organizations. Some of these organizations include Departments of Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigations, Departments of State and Homeland Security, and Defense among others. In most cases, it maintains a cordial relationship with many foreign partners with the aim of diversifying their backgrounds as well as breaking down cultural and physical barriers in the fight against terrorism (NCTC, 2012). Over and above, the centre is very effective in providing a unique environment to optimize the government’s collective knowledge and formidable competence (NCTC, 2012).
Department of Homeland Security
Another key department that deals with securing the homeland against the threat of terrorism in the United States is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, 2011). It was created as a result of the integration of the whole or part of 22 diverse Federal departments as well as agencies into an amalgamated and integrated department (DHS, 2011). Eleven days after the 9/11terrorist attacks, Governor Tom Ridge, the Pennsylvanian governor, was appointed as the first Director of the Office of Homeland Security in the White House (DHS, 2011).
His appointment saw the establishment of a comprehensive national strategy in safeguarding the nation against terrorism as well as responding to any such attacks in future. The DHS has now become very effective in creating a strengthened homeland security enterprise as well as a more protected America (DHS, 2011). In November 2002, the Congress passed the Homeland Security Act, thus reinforcing the DHS as a stand alone, Cabinet level department that coordinates and unifies all national homeland security efforts. It officially opened its doors on March, 2003.
An Examination of the Threat of Terrorism
The terrorism history dates back to approximately 1500 years when groups of the Jewish resistance, also well-known as Zealots, destroyed much of Romanian property and murdered Roman soldiers around 66 to 72 AD (DECJC, 2012). Between 1090 and 1275, the assassin term came up, mainly from the Shi’ite Muslim sect that was fighting against Sunni Muslims. It also came up during the Medieval Christendom who was resisting occupation at the time of the crusades.
The assassins were known for spreading terror as a way of gaining 72 virgins if killed (DECJC, 2012). The modern terrorism development started in the period between 1793 and 1794 when there was the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. It was during this period that the terrorism term was coined for the first time. Since then, terrorism has been used to reach political ends. In this regard, it has developed as a freedom tool, tyranny, as well as global international politics (DECJC, 2012).
By and large, terrorism is a form of violence that is used by an individual or a group of people in a bid to address fundamental differences. The late 1990s saw the change of the terrorism face. This kind of terrorism resulted from the forces of late modernism, in particular, globalization, which manifested itself in a number of ways. Terrorist groupings continue to be moderately diminutive organizations (Neumann, 2008).
However, their structures have continued to diffuse, reaching international levels (Neumann, 2008). Far from the more formalized organizations that existed before, the new form of terrorism is somewhat in the form of networks. In this regard, what matters is not an individual’s formal rank, but rather who they know and the kind of connections they can make possible (Neumann, 2008). Unlike the old kind of terrorism, which had a well defined geographical ‘centre of gravity’, some of the current terrorism features have no single lasting geographical point of reference (Neumann, 2008).
The Threat of Terrorism
In as much as it may not be new to the United States, the threat of terrorism is altering and becoming more and more noxious. As a matter of fact, the FBI has noted new tendencies of terrorism over the past couple of years. This involves the changeover from a number of low intensity occurrences to less recurrent but more disparaging attacks (NIC, 2007). According to the National Intelligence Estimates, the US Homeland faces an unrelenting and developing terrorist threat over the last couple of years. The main threat majorly comes from Islamic terrorist groups and terrorist cells (NIC, 2007).
The United States faces a more homegrown and hard to predict terrorist threat that is very difficult to envisage. Unfortunately, the U.S. government is not well prepared to comprehend the situation. Today, terrorism is more likely to come as small-scale attacks (NIC, 2007). A good example is the one that happened in November 2009, where shootings took place at Fort Hood military base with a gunman killing 13 people. Another one of this kind was in May 1, 2010 incident where there was a botched effort to set off explosives in Times Square.
Over the past few years, the United States has witnessed wealthy suburban Americans as well as the progeny of assiduous immigrants incline towards terrorism. This has been the case with Caucasians as well as persons of color. Women, men, students, high school dropouts, as well as well-educated individuals have joined the fray. The common denominator that justifies their violence seems to be a newfound hatred for their native or adopted country. They also have a degree of pliability and a religious vehemence. The botched attack on Times Square was a clear reminder of the susceptibility of the government of the United States.