Cover image for Terrorism, asymmetric warfare, and weapons of mass destruction : defending the U.S. homeland
Terrorism, asymmetric warfare, and weapons of mass destruction : defending the U.S. homeland
Cordesman, Anthony H.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2002.
Physical Description:
x, 448 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1520 Lexile.
Format :


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UA23 .C667 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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There is a wide spectrum of potential threats to the U.S. homeland that do not involve overt attacks by states using long-range missiles or conventional military forces. Such threats include covert attacks by state actors, state use of proxies, independent terrorist and extremist attacks by foreign groups or individuals, and independent terrorist and extremist attacks by residents of the United States. These threats are currently limited in scope and frequency, but are emerging as potentially significant issues for future U.S. security. In this comprehensive work, Cordesman argues that new threats require new thinking, and offers a range of recommendations, from expanding the understanding of what constitutes a threat and bolstering Homeland defense measures, to bettering resource allocation and improving intelligence gathering and analysis.

No pattern of actual attacks on U.S. territory has yet emerged that provides a clear basis for predicting how serious any given form of attack might be in the future, what means of attack might be used, or how lethal new forms of attack might be. As a result, there is a major ongoing debate over the seriousness of the threat and how the U.S. government should react. This work is an invaluable contribution to that debate.

Author Notes

Anthony H. Cordesman is Co-Director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a special consultant on military affairs for ABC News

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Chapter 1 The Changing Face of Asymmetric Warfare and Terrorismp. 1
The Growing Focus on Terrorismp. 7
Terrorism versus Asymmetric Warfarep. 8
Chapter 2 Risk Assessment: Planning for "Non-patterns" and Potential Riskp. 11
Looking Beyond Emotional Definitions of Terrorismp. 11
Rethinking the Mid- and Long-term Risk of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Attackp. 13
Patterns and Non-patterns in the Number of Attacksp. 16
Casualties versus Incidents: The Lack of Correlationp. 16
U.S. and American Casualties versus International Casualtiesp. 20
Considering the Threat from State and Non-state Actorsp. 25
States, "Terrorists," and Acts of Warp. 25
Planning for Major Attacks and Asymmetric Warfare by State Actorsp. 31
The Threat of "Proxies" and "Networks"p. 32
Dealing with Nuance and Complex Motivesp. 32
Consideration of the Full Spectrum of Possible Types and Methods of Attack: The Need to Consider "Worst Cases"p. 33
Making Offense, Deterrence, Denial, Defense, and Retaliation Part of Homeland Defensep. 34
Linking Homeland Defense to Counterproliferationp. 36
Chapter 3 Threat Prioritization: Seeking to Identify Current and Future Threatsp. 39
Potential State Actorsp. 39
A Department of State Assessment of State Threatsp. 40
A Department of Defense Assessment of Threats from Foreign Statesp. 45
The Probable Lack of Well-Defined Strategic Warning of a Threat from State Actors and Unpredictable Behavior in a Crisisp. 49
Foreign Terrorists and Extremistsp. 51
Continuing Threats and Counterterrorist Actionp. 54
Major Foreign Terrorist Groups and Extremistsp. 57
Threats from Foreign Students and Immigrantsp. 74
Domestic Terrorists and Extremistsp. 76
The Implications of Past Terrorist Attacksp. 80
Probability versus Probability Theoryp. 85
Chapter 4 Types of Attack: Determining Future Methods of Attack and the Needed Responsep. 89
Illustrative Attack Scenariosp. 92
"Conventional" Means of Attackp. 96
Weapons of Mass Destructionp. 97
Chemical Weapons As Means of Attackp. 101
The Impact and Variety of Possible Chemical Weaponsp. 108
The probable Lethality and Effectiveness of Chemical Attacksp. 109
Methods of Deliveryp. 117
Detection and Interceptionp. 118
Acquiring Chemical Weaponsp. 119
The Impact of Technological Changep. 122
The Aum Shinrikyo Case Studyp. 122
Political and Psychological Effectsp. 124
The Problem of Responsep. 125
Biological Weapons As Means of Attackp. 128
Categorizing the Biological Threatp. 135
Case Studies: Iraq and Russiap. 142
State Actor, Proxy, and Terrorist/Extremist Incidents to Datep. 147
The Yugoslav Smallpox Incidentp. 150
Cases in the United Statesp. 150
The Lethality and Effectiveness of Current Biological Weaponsp. 151
Means of Deliveryp. 160
Manufacturing Biological Weaponsp. 161
Changes in Technology and the Difficulty of Manufacturep. 166
The Growing Lethality of Biological Weapons and Growing Ease of Manufacturep. 168
New Types of Biological Weaponsp. 169
Changes in Disease: Piggybacking on the Threat from Naturep. 170
Agricultural and Ecological Attacksp. 174
The Problem of Responsep. 177
Radiological Weapons As Means of Attackp. 194
The Practical Chances of Using Radiological Weaponsp. 195
The Practical Risks and Effects of Using Radiological Weaponsp. 196
Nuclear Weapons As Means of Attackp. 199
Lethality and Effectivenessp. 207
Is There a Threat from State Actors, Proxies, Terrorists, and Extremists? The Problem of Getting the Weaponp. 216
The Problem of Deliveryp. 222
Dealing with the Risk and Impact of Nuclear Attacksp. 222
Chapter 5 Threat Assessment and Prioritization: Identifying Threatsp. 237
Dr. Pangloss versus Chicken Little and the Boy Who Cried Wolfp. 238
The Problem of Detection, Warning, and Responsep. 239
Living with Complexity and Uncertainty: A Flexible and Evolutionary Approachp. 239
The "Morning After," Multiple Attacks; The "Morning After" and the "Learning Curve Effect"p. 242
Chapter 6 U.S. Government Efforts to Create a Homeland Defense Capabilityp. 245
Key Presidential Decision Directives and Legislation Affecting the Federal Responsep. 247
Ongoing Changes in the Structure of the Federal Effortp. 249
The Growth of the Federal Effortp. 250
The FY2000 Programp. 251
The FY2001 Programp. 253
The Details of the Federal Effortp. 254
The Changing Patterns in Federal Spendingp. 255
Planning and Programming the Overall Federal Effortp. 261
Antiterrorism, Counterterrorism, and Core Spendingp. 264
Spending on Preparedness for Attacks Using Weapons of Mass Destructionp. 269
Chapter 7 Federal Efforts by Department and Agencyp. 275
Department of Agriculturep. 276
National Animal Health Emergency Programp. 276
Central Intelligence Agencyp. 277
Department of Commercep. 289
Department of Defensep. 289
Analyzing the Role of the DODp. 291
The Size of the Current DOD Effortp. 295
Dedicated FY2001 DOD Expenditures for CBRN/WMD Homeland Defensep. 297
Key DOD Activitiesp. 300
Antiterrorism and Force Protectionp. 303
Counterterrorismp. 306
Terrorism Consequence Managementp. 307
Specialized DOD Teams and Units for Defense and Responsep. 318
Research and Developmentp. 323
Intelligencep. 324
Counterforce Capability against an Adversary's Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Infrastructuresp. 324
The Cooperative Threat Reduction Programp. 327
Conclusionsp. 328
Department of Energyp. 329
Office of Nonproliferation and National Securityp. 329
Office of Emergency Managementp. 330
Office of Defense Programsp. 330
Office of Emergency Responsep. 330
Nuclear Emergency Search Teamp. 330
Radiological Assistance Programp. 330
The Nuclear Safeguards, Security, and Emergency Operations Programp. 331
Research and Developmentp. 331
Environmental Protection Agencyp. 331
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Responsep. 332
On-Scene Coordinatorp. 332
Federal Emergency Management Agencyp. 332
Response and Recovery Directoratep. 333
Preparedness, Training, and Exercises Directoratep. 333
U.S. Fire Administrationp. 334
National Fire Academy and Emergency Management Institutep. 334
General Services Administrationp. 336
Department of Health and Human Servicesp. 336
Metropolitan Medical Response Systemsp. 337
National Pharmaceutical Stockpile Programp. 339
Public Health Surveillance System for WMDp. 340
Research and Developmentp. 341
Department of the Interiorp. 341
Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigationp. 341
National Domestic Preparedness Officep. 345
Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Supportp. 350
National Domestic Preparedness Consortiump. 355
Awareness of National Security Issues and Response Programp. 356
National Institute of Justicep. 357
National Security Communityp. 358
Nuclear Regulatory Commissionp. 358
Department of Statep. 358
Embassy Protectionp. 358
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorismp. 360
Bureau of Consular Affairsp. 362
Bureau of Diplomatic Securityp. 362
Anti-Terrorism Assistance Programp. 362
Export Controls and Homeland Defensep. 363
Arms Control and Homeland Defensep. 363
Department of Transportationp. 364
Department of Treasuryp. 364
Department of Veterans Affairsp. 366
Looking Beyond September 2001p. 367
Chapter 8 Federal, State, and Local Cooperationp. 373
Planning for Low- to Mid-Level Terrorismp. 374
West Nile Outbreakp. 375
The Lessons from "Jointness"p. 377
Chapter 9 How Other Nations Deal with These Threatsp. 381
Leadership and Managementp. 383
Policies and Strategiesp. 384
Claimed Reliance on Criminal Prosecution As the Major Response and Deterrentp. 385
Oversight, Planning, Programming, and Budgetingp. 386
Resource Allocations Are Targeted at Likely Threats, Not Vulnerabilities: Limited Concern with WMD Threatsp. 387
Learning from Foreign Countriesp. 388
Chapter 10 Lessons from Recent Major Commissions on Terrorismp. 391
The Gilmore, Bremer, and Hart-Rudman Commissionsp. 391
Areas Where the Commissions Made Similar Recommendationsp. 394
Gilmore and Bremer Commissions: Executive Coordination and Managementp. 394
Gilmore and Bremer Commissions: Congressional Oversightp. 397
Gilmore and Bremer Commissions: Intelligence Gathering and Sharingp. 398
Gilmore and Bremer Commissions: Clarify Authority, Command, and Controlp. 399
Bremer and Hart-Rudman Commissions: Biological Pathogens, International Consensus against Terrorism, and Strengthening of Public Health Systemsp. 402
Bremer and Hart-Rudman Commissions: Strengthening the International Consensus against Terrorism and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorismp. 403
Areas Where the Commissions Made Different Recommendationsp. 403
Gilmore Commission: Threat Assessmentsp. 404
Gilmore Commission: National Strategy for Domestic Preparedness and CBRN Terrorism Responsep. 404
Gilmore Commissions: Standardization of Legal Termsp. 407
Gilmore Commission: National Standards for Equipmentp. 407
Bremer Commission: Treatment of Former and Future States of Concernp. 409
Bremer Commission: Targeting Terrorist Financial Resourcesp. 410
Bremer Commission: Liability Insurancep. 411
Bremer Commission: Realistic Exercisesp. 411
Chapter 11 Conclusions and Recommendationsp. 415
Correcting the Strategic Gaps in the U.S. Approach to Homeland Defensep. 416
Focusing Less on Who's in Charge and More on What They Should Be in Charge ofp. 417
Planning for Higher-Probability, Lower-Consequence, and Lower-Probability, Higher-Consequence Eventsp. 418
Planning for Terrorism and Asymmetric Warfarep. 421
Reacting to the Uncertain Nature of the Threatp. 424
The Lack of "Transparency" in Federal Programsp. 426
Effective Action Must Be Broad-Based and Suboptimize Efficientlyp. 428
Focusing on Priorities, Programs, and Trade-offs: Creating Effective Planning, Programming, and Budgetingp. 430
Managing Research and Development, Rather Than Treating Asymmetric Attacks, Terrorism, and the CBRN Threat As an Excuse for a "Wish List" and "Slush Fund"p. 434
Looking Beyond CBRN Threats: Dealing with All Medical Risks and Costs, the Need for a Comprehensive Public Information Capability, and the Linkage to Improved Strategic Deterrence and Response Capabilitiesp. 435
Homeland Defense and/or Law Enforcementp. 438
The Role of the Intelligence Community and the Need for Improved Intelligencep. 439
The Challenge of Operationsp. 442
Rule of Law, Human Rights, Asymmetric Warfare, High Levels of Attack, and "New Paradigms"p. 443
The Need for Central Coordination and Management of the Federal Effortp. 444
Broader Solutions and New Approaches to National Strategy: Reacting to Asymmetric Warfarep. 446