U.S. Greatest Security Threat
Spectacular terrorist attacks, such as those committed on September 11, 2001 in New York City and Washington D.C. (9/11) have defined the United States’ counterterrorism efforts. Much of the training and funding in counterterrorism and antiterrorism efforts have been focused on preventing, preparing, responding, and recovering from such catastrophic attacks as those that occurred on 9/11. U.S. homeland security policy concentrates on mitigating the consequences of such attacks (Tallen, 2008). Combating large scale terrorist attacks have been on the forefront of all of those charged with protecting the United States homeland. U.S. counterterrorism seems to focus extensively on bombings (Maras, 2015).
Although terrorism has garnered much of the attention of law enforcement officials, another phenomena has also captured their attention, active shooter incidents. Active shooter incidents have instilled their own brand of fear into society at large. Many active shooter incidents have been perpetrated against some of our most vulnerable populations.
Recently the paths of terrorism and active shooter has intersected to create a threat that combine the inoculation of fear that terrorism promotes, along with fear of vulnerability that comes along with active shooter incidents. The active shooter terrorist attack is an evolution in terrorist tactics (O’Rourke, 2010). This potential double dose of horror has been proven to be overwhelming to law enforcement resources and a source of anxiety to citizens. The psychological and strategic impact of an active shooter terrorist attack could be enormous (Tallen, 2008). Active shooter terrorism is the greatest risk to security that United States faces. Effective countermeasures must be implemented in order for there to be productive preparedness and response.
Maras, M.H. (2015). Contemporary Security Issues (eBook). Jones and Bartlett. ISBN: 978-1-284-00226-3
O'Rourke, S. (2010). The emergent challenges for policing terrorism: Lessons from Mumbai. Australian Counter Terrorism Conference.
Tallen, B. (2008). Paramilitary terrorism: A neglected threat. Homeland Security Affairs, 4(2).
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2008). Active Shooter: How to Respond. Retrieved from http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/active_shooter_booklet.pdf