Protecting the Homeland: The Importance of Counter-Illicit Trafficking to Prevent an Attack with Weapons of Mass Destruction
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV NORFOLK VA JOINT ADVANCED WARFIGHTING SCHOOL
Pagination or Media Count:
Since the mid-1990s, the Al Qaeda Network has expressed the desire to obtain a nuclear or radiological weapon for use against the United States. While international protocols exist that are designed to inhibit acquisition by nonstate actors and proliferation to rogue states, it is still possible for Al Qaeda to obtain a nuclear or radiological weapon capability. If they are successful in their pursuit of a weapon, the task facing the United States becomes prevention of a successful attack on the U.S. homeland. As international illicit trafficking efforts have grown more sophisticated, Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations increasingly use criminal networks and criminal-like techniques to fund their efforts. Thus, preventing cooperative efforts between a terrorist organization and a criminal network to smuggle a weapon of mass destruction into the United States has become a part of our national strategy. This paper posits that while current counter illicit trafficking efforts are unable to stop the flow of illicit goods into the United States, they influence trafficking behaviors and introduce interdiction risk. These behavioral changes and risk, when combined with differing organizational goals of traffickers and terrorists, inhibit cooperative efforts between Al Qaeda and international trafficking organizations. As a result, continued pursuit of diverse means to counter illicit trafficking networks should be an essential component in the strategy to prevent the Al Qaeda Network from conducting a weapon of mass destruction attack on the United States homeland.
- Sociology and Law
- Unconventional Warfare
- Nuclear Weapons