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Asleep at the Wheel: U.S. Strategy to Combat Emerging Terrorist Threats in the United States

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Technical Report,31 Jul 2017,20 Apr 2018

Corporate Author:

Joint Forces Staff College / NDU NORFOLK United States

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Since the Richard Nixon presidency, the U.S. strategy to fight terrorism in the homeland consistently attempted to keep pace with the changing nature of the threats or the organizations engaged in terrorism. In the Cold War, the U.S. was preoccupied with fighting Marxist ideology and state-sponsored terrorism. As the Cold War ended, the U.S. concentrated on right-wing domestic terrorism and did not fully recognize the rise of Islamic extremism and the threat it posed to the homeland. On 911,the focus of both international and domestic counterterrorism CT strategy changed significantly. The U.S. became preoccupied with Islamic extremism at home and abroad. The current U.S. CT strategy for international and domestic terrorism is still preoccupied with Islamic extremism and seems to ignore what is reality and what might be coming next. This thesis analyzes the U.S. CT strategy of the previous eight U.S. Presidents and determines whether they adapted to change in emerging terrorist threats in the U.S. The thesis provides recommendations based on the findings whether the U.S. CT strategy is a priority, whether it addresses the current or emerging terrorism threat, or what changes ensure a proactive strategy is in place to support federal, state, tribal, and local LE agencies.

Subject Categories:

  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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