Terrorism and Organized Crime Week 2 First Response to Ashley Bukent

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Possible Terrorist Threats and Actions

Terrorist groups and organizations do not focus their attacks towards just one target, instead there is a large span of potential threats which can be affected. When a terrorist looks at the overview of the attack, they are less likely concerned over the success or the amount it will cost in resources but instead focus towards the actual benefit of the significant target. There are two forms of targets, which are hard and soft and the difference between the two depends upon one main factor. Soft targets are seen as an east alternative for an attack since there are very little to no security or military protection coverage. Some example of soft targets include power stations, stadiums hosting sporting events, or shopping centers. Hard targets have a larger risk of encountering the possibility of being intercepted. This target is known to have a considerable amount of security or guarding capabilities. These examples include politicians at a high level, president, military bases, airports, or political organizations. No matter how hard the polite tail risk is, terrorism groups want to generate the maximum amount as possible in media coverage. This is especially true if the attack included international visitors (Dugdale-Pointon, 2005).

In the event that terrorist groups perform an attack, they can resort to using many different forms of weapons. For instance, one of the first types that come to everyone’s mind is the use of firearms, especially AK-47 assault rifles. The next level of severity which terrorism group might use instead of firearms is the use of bombs, such as in cars, improvised explosive devises, and suicide bombers. This form is generally used when the group is significantly weaker than their target especially in order to draw and attract individuals who are sympathetic. Another form of bombing is referred to as a dirty bomb, which is classified as a weapon using radioactive material such as dynamite or conventional explosives with material that is radioactive. Even though a dirty bomb is considered to be a powerful weapon, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission identifies nuclear weapons to be more powerful. Even though a nuclear weapon has not been used as a terrorist attack, officials of the government and political scientists find that nuclear terrorism as one of the greatest threats towards global security. Another source of weapons is the use of chemical and biological to cause an illness or death by releasing bacteria, germs, or viruses. These agents can inflict a serious threat because of the ability to easily spread it into the environment, whether by water, air, or even food. Not only is the spreading of it a factor but these agents can be difficult to detect and when they are finally detected, the agent has been released for a time frame of a few hours or days already (Amy Zalman, Ph.D., 2018).

As like the weapon possibilities, there are also a various amount of methods for delivery towards the target. A attack that is easy to plan and carry out without being detected is the used of vehicles that are street legal. Vehicle based attacks do not require the use of explosives, instead they use the motor vehicle to a track other vehicles or even to run over pedestrians. Motor vehicle attacks are found to be effective but are not considered to be very destructive. A deliverable method which is found to be favored by terrorism groups is the action of hijacking, especially for airplanes. With the advancement in technology, cyber terrorism is found to be another form of delivery especially since this tactic is considered to be more difficult to intervene since the traceability is a factor and the actual location of where the threat has been executed from can be across the world. The United States Security of Defense, Leon Panetta, stated during a speech in October of 2012, that the seriousness of cyber terrorism can actually be just as destructive as the 9/11 terrorist attack (Panetta/U.S. Secretary of Defense, 2012)


Amy Zalman, Ph.D. (2018, March 15). The Preferred Weapons of Terrorists. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/terrorism-weapons-and-ta…

Dugdale-Pointon. (2005, May 26). Terrorist Targets. Retrieved from http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/concepts_terr…

Panetta/U.S. Secretary of Defense, L. E. (2012). Defense.gov Transcript: Remarks by Secretary Panetta on Cybersecurity to the Business Executives for National Security, New York City. Retrieved from http://archive.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript….


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