From Chesley Brown International
"Threat mitigation is a team effort; it’s this relationship and collaboration which is critical to the counterterrorism fight."
We face the same threats today as we did on September 11, though the threat actors have evolved over the years. Al Qaeda and ISIS maintain a threatening presence and spawn other groups which evolve over time. Complex, specific plots by terrorist groups have yielded to attacks by individuals, usually inspired by online propaganda, producing our most imminent threats from Homegrown Violent Extremists, who tend to mobilize and escalate violence quickly.
It could be a school or work grievance or a personal motivation that prompts these Extremists in their goal to commit harm to others, or simply willful violence. Some are educated, younger and born in the US, at an average age of 19-25, and some aren’t. The one common factor is the desire to execute and escalate violence quickly.
Michael McGarrity, Assistant Director for the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI says the response to any threat is the same: “Whether it’s a terrorism incident or an active shooter mental health issue or just someone who wants to kill people, it doesn’t matter in our response.”
The FBI’s main tool is the strong partnerships between the US Government and law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels. The interdependence helps identify “homegrown extremists, anomalies and threats” received by 911 call centers and by officers on patrol.
A predominant reliance on the “See Something, Say Something” mindset is key. If the private sector is educated to know when someone is purchasing ingredients that could be used to make a bomb, that allows the purchase to be reported for further investigation and prevention.
Enterprise security should train employees to know their customers and be provided with information relevant to terrorism prevention. Recent attacks have induced private citizens to pay attention to the news and their surroundings. If something suspicious is witnessed, more citizens are reporting suspicious behavior.
According to McGarrity, “threat mitigation is a team effort; it’s this relationship and collaboration which is critical to the counterterrorism fight.”