Have we gotten lax in our security?

wall A certain segment of the population has indeed gotten complacent when it comes to security. It’s important to state that this segment I speak of is probably the vast majority, to include those in security and law enforcement and the general population.

Most think an act of terror will happen at some place other than where they live and frequent. The proverbial “It won’t happen here mentality” is prevalent.

However with the increase in activity across the world in terror related incidents and the recent activities in New York and Colorado indicating potential terrorist cell members and pre-planning taking place should have all those part of our population fine tuning and honing awareness levels that sharpens their orientation to what’s going on around them and reporting what they see. This will strengthen the wall of security needed to prevent an attack. 

What other ways should we beef up security in the U.S. in the event of another attack plan?

The federal, state and local government working collaboratively is paramount in our efforts to collect actionable intelligence, information we can use to detect potential terrorist activity. But it must be remembered that this information comes from the citizens, the person on the street who notes something out of the normal routine and has the presence of mind to report it.

The satellites, computer equipment and other technology is very helpful in these efforts, yet we must always remember that it usually comes down to an alert individual familiar with his/her area that makes the connection something is amiss and needs to be looked into more thoroughly.

How nervous should we be about an attack?

We do not want to be nervous about an attack. Nervousness or being overly apprehensive about an attack can lead to hypervigilence which leads to false positives or “everything is something bad about to happen”.

What we want to be is in a relaxed state of awareness and vigilant through understanding that terrorist organizations, who want to commit acts of violence are always positioning themselves for opportunities.

We prepare through understanding normal patterns in the areas we frequent and their opposites, that something that seems out of place, as well as gathering knowledge  on terrorist behavioral indicators, the signs and signals that show themselves in both obvious and subtle ways and then reporting what we see to the proper authorities.

Al-Qaeda appears determined to continue its jihad against the U.S. Is the group stronger or weaker today than in the past?

Strength and weaknesses of an organization like Al-Qaeda are hard to determine for most law enforcement and security personnel. Most suspect the next terrorist attack will be bigger than 9-11 and that the targets may be something big.

However current trends have shown terrorist to be targeting hotels, hospitals, malls and using small unit tactics at multiple location as a form of disruption to overload our the local infrastructure such as they did last year in Mumbai .

Is our intelligence about Al-Qaeda better or worse these days?

My opinion is the intelligence is better; now whether or not it’s shared to the level needed to make the clear difference is a question I ponder frequently. We still have the human factors to consider such as ignoring the sign and signals, failure to communicate, egos, laziness etc.

However I will say that today most know much more about terrorists, terrorist ideology and the methods they use which are usually something unorthodox and least expected. Don’t forget this can sometimes be something obvious applied where least expected…This fact that we have gained much more knowledge is a clear advantage we now have throughout the country as long as we take action in reporting and once reported it’s followed up on.

Terrorists and their organizations are good at what they do. They plan, conduct surveillance, prepare and adapt at a level we struggle to keep up with. We must increase our observation, orientation, decision and action cycle individually and as a nation so we stay ahead of the danger and prevent the next attack.

Stay Oriented!

Fred