The ability to set up basic
counterterrorism and intelligence
operations is the starting point for an
effective approach to combating and
preventing future problems. By gaining
the skills necessary for intelligence
collection and analysis, counterterrorism
analysts will have the essential tools to
identify suspected targets and determine
terrorist threats. Knowledge of current
terrorist organizations and what tactics
they employ will help prevent future
attacks and develop relevant contingency
plans for when attacks happen.
Counterterrorism training encompasses a
long list of activities that range from
clandestine to liaison operations overseas
or investigations on national security
crimes. Other forms of counterterrorism
training include counterintelligence, law
enforcement intelligence analysis, and
fusion analysis, to name a few.
A challenge for anyone in the
counterterrorism field is to foresee what
event a terrorist might be planning. By
possessing deeper knowledge of who
these terrorist organizations are and
what type of strategies they use,
analysts can be one step ahead of any
terrorist threat. Analysts in the
counterterrorism field must become
adept at risk assessment as well as the
more narrow threat assessment, which
includes the identification of threats, an
assessment of vulnerabilities and the
likelihood of an attack, as well as an
evaluation of the impact of such an
attack. Employment of game theoretic
analysis also provides a more analytical
approach to threat and risk assessment.
Counterterrorism careers make up a large
part of the strategic security industry. As
previously mentioned, just about every
type of agency is looking for individuals
with experience in counterterrorism.
Many of these agencies have created
their own counterterrorism divisions.
There are many different areas of
expertise in just this one field. These
agencies are looking for analysts,
specialists in terrorist strategy and target
selection, technology specialist and
weapons specialist to name a few.
In 2004 President George W. Bush
established the National Counterterrorism
Center (NCTC), later that same year
Congress passed the Intelligence Reform
and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA).
This act placed the NCTC with the Office
of the Director of National Intelligence.
The creation of the NCTC has linked
together all the agencies to prevent
terrorism in the U.S. and overseas.
Agencies such as the NCTC demonstrate
the importance and need for people with
backgrounds in counterterrorism.
|The Importance of
in the Private
and Public Sector
While pundits have bantered endlessly
about the definition and theories of
terrorism, many people are unaware of
the role played by counterterrorism
analysts in all sectors of employment in
the strategic security field. This article
seeks to provide a quick overview of
counterterrorism and counterterrorist
analysts within this larger field.
There is no single definition of terrorism.
Almost every U.S. agency has come up
with its own definition of terrorism that
best fits the core values of what that
agency is trying to protect. While there is
no right or wrong definition, there are
similarities among each definition. For the
sake of this piece, terrorism is defined as
the use of violence or threat of violence
by a group or individuals to achieve
objectives of political, economic or social
demands by targeting human beings or
Often used as a buzzword in today’s
media driven world, terrorism is an issue
that cannot go unchecked. The threat of
an attack on a nation from a group or an
individual is a concern of government
officials and citizens alike. The ways these
attacks are executed often never take
into consideration the fundamental
human freedoms of the innocent. Since
September 11th, policies such as the
Patriot Act have been implemented to
counter these terrorist acts. Knowledge
of how and why terrorist commit these
acts of violence has been crucial in
indentifying and preventing possible
While an understanding of the history of
terrorism and terrorist theories is
important, what is integral to
contemporary analysts is the ability to
use that knowledge in practice – the
practice of counterterrorism operations.
Counterterrorism is not simply some
theoretical field or body of knowledge.
Rather, the field of counterterrorism
operationalizes theories of terrorism and
terrorist analysis in order to implement
strategies to prevent and counter future
The need for qualified individuals in this
field is growing. Every sector of service
and protection has a need for someone
with knowledge in the counterterrorism
field. Ranging from top government
agencies to local law enforcement, the
ability to protect people from terrorist
acts is crucial. But what does one need
to know to be effective in
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|Copyright © 2016 Barry M. Baker