Intelligence in Homeland Security

Topics: Terrorism, September 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden / Pages: 9 (2210 words) / Published: Dec 9th, 2012
1. Can terrorism be predicted? (If so, how/ to what extent? If not, why not/what are the limitations?) Paul Pillar argues in Terrorism and American Foreign Policy, "that the war against terrorism will not be won outright, it can only be managed. It is more like the Cold War than war in a traditional sense; it will require a patient and persistent effort. Nor will the war on terrorism conclude with a clear victory. Terrorist acts, rare events by definition, cannot be predicted. Increasingly, they seem to depend on sudden, extemporaneous decisions of single individuals or small teams. Because terrorism is a product of complex forces, forecasting it is specious. What we can predict is that terrorism will endure." [1] Pillar is correct in his argument but of course the intelligence community can mitigate many factors to at least make it more difficult for terrorists to attack.
Since terrorism cannot be predicted, the goal should be to anticipate future attacks. Anticipation sounds futile in certain contexts yet it should be viewed as being prepared and having an appropriate response. Indeed, "while prediction for the future is a non-starter, we should be able to anticipate the nature of upcoming problems so hopefully leaders and decision makers can be prepared to react intelligently when a crisis arises." [2] After reading so much after 9/11 and how we might, which I think is a gross exaggeration, prevented it, the clearer it becomes that with anticipation comes planning, then a strategy and then response. Having a response like Thailand has done to prepare people in the event of a tsunami seems a key ingredient yet does not sound reassuring to voters, hence Congress who is controlling the purse strings.
"Judging our "success" will depend to a large extent upon what we identify and set as our homeland security goals. As a Nation we are unlikely to definitively "win the war against terrorism" since terrorist threats are subject to constant change, resources are

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