What Are the Objectives of Counterterrorism?
Each US Government agency involved in counterterrorism has an objective in the war on terror. The FBI mission is to neutralize terrorist cells and operatives here in the U.S. and to help dismantle terrorist networks worldwide. In the US, numerous agencies including the FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security and the State Department have authority to combat terrorism. The National Counterterrorism Center objective is to integrate and orchestrate the formidable capabilities of the US Government dedicated to defeating the scourge of international terrorism and reducing the threat to US interests at home and abroad.
How Does Counterterrorism Work?
There are two aspects of counterterrorism. The first is to make citizens safer from terrorist threats through screening of airline passengers, placing video cameras and metal detectors in public places, random patrols of bomb-sniffing dogs, etc. The second is neutralization of terrorists through arrests, prosecutions, assassinations, raids on terrorist facilities, military action, etc. Full counterterrorism encompasses threat reduction by making the US a "harder target" and actively "going after" terrorists.
Who Makes Decisions on Counterterrorism Policy in the US?
Effective counterterrorism is a challenge because of all the agencies involved. The White House, State Department, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Agency, Department of Justice and state/local authorities may all be involved in a counterterrorism program. One of the criticisms leveled at the US Government regarding the attempted bombing of Flight 253 to Detroit by Nigerian