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Cyber Security’s and Counter Terrorism’ Intersection Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 1st, 2020

Overview of the Current Problem

Realization of national interests is the concern of many states in the current international and security is the main challenge that each government is trying to cope up with given the fact terrorists are ever devising new ways of intimidating state actors globally. Realists are of the view that no state will ever be interested in benefiting another actor in the global system meaning the focus is always on designing the best policies that will be helpful in goal achievement.

Based on this, the state has to deal with all conditions that might interfere with security to an extent that it might choose to intervene militarily in another sovereignty state to flush out bad elements that are considered a major impediment towards attainment of objectives. In 2003, the US embarked on an extensive program in the Middle East aimed at dealing with the members of the Al-Qaeda group after the bombing of the twin towers.

Subsequently, the US has ensured that the belligerent actors and rogue states are prevented from committing the worst crimes, such as killing the innocent people. This has not been an easy task since the government has been forced to establish an entire department referred to as the homeland security whose major mandate is to prevent the occurrence of terrorism in the state borders. In the current international system, each actor is focused on promoting his or her interest implying the system is comparable to the Hobbestian state of nature where life was nasty, brutal, short-lived, and anarchic.

In the state of nature as expressed by Hobbes, human beings realized the need for coming together to end the poor conditions when they agreed to form a leviathan, which was equivalent to the modern day government. Each person was expected to surrender his or her sovereignty to the common authority referred to as the leviathan. The universal authority was given adequate powers to act unilaterally, but through consultation with other members of the public.

In the state of nature, the leviathan ensured no person threatened the existence of others by developing laws that were inclusive. In the modern global system, states are reluctant to surrender their sovereignty to the common authority the way individuals decided to hand the Leviathan with adequate powers. The UN is a representative of the leviathan because it is charged with the mandate of formulating and designing policies that guide the conduct of both state and non-state actors globally. For instance, the UN Security Council has been vocal since early 1990s, especially in dealing with rogue states that are indifferent to the demands of their people.

It slapped economic sanctions to the government of Libya, which forced the state to comply with the international law. In the ongoing Arab Spring, the Security Council has done some commendable job by imposing a no-fly-zone rule to force the dictators to surrender. Various agencies controlled by the UN have been working hard to champion for the policies that are meant to improve the living standards of global citizens. However, the UN has been unable to marshal states to surrender their sovereignty, as far as maintenance of security is concerned.

This has forced several states to spend heavily on defense and policing. Currently, the American public is concerned with the amount that the government spends on security, but the government has no option other than fighting terrorism with all available resources given the magnitude of its consequences.

The state is investing heavily on technology and communication equipments to ensure terrorist threat is minimized. It is unfortunate that powerful states are reluctant to surrender their sovereignties in order to promote global security. The United States has been taking unilateral decisions mainly to safeguard its state interests. After the 9/11 attack, the US has been engaging terrorists without cooperating with other actors.

President Bush declared that those wishing to support his county in the fight against terrorism would be considered friends while those with a different alternative other than military intervention in Afghanistan would be viewed as enemies. Liberalists believe governments should work together globally to end some of the global commons, terrorism being one of them. In this case, the US has to involve other actors in dealing with the problem. In fact, the recent financial crisis that faced the American society has changed the government’s approach towards the fight against terrorism. Currently, the US is in partnership with various governments, especially those in Asia, with the main aim of ending the conditions that favor terrorism.

Explanation of the Problem

National security in the United States is a complicated issue given the fact the country is a cosmopolitan and a superpower that controls economic, political, and social activities of the world. It is necessary to define and understand important security issues that ensure the safety of American people. First, it is important to define the terms that will be used in this essay to ensure the audience is not confused or fails to understand the interactions of various security agencies in America (Bullock 29).

Homeland security refers to the national efforts that are aimed at preventing terrorists from attacking the United States, reduce the vulnerability of Americans to terrorism, and reduce damage and injuries associated with terror attacks (White 19). Cyber security is an effort aimed at ensuring that crimes committed through the internet are minimized or stopped. The role of this effort is to establish guidelines and techniques that will ensure cyber threats are to be detected, stopped, and prosecuted to ensure that the internet is safe for economic, social, and political purposes. Counter terrorism is a deliberate effort by the American government to use various tactics, practices, and techniques to manage terrorist threats whether real or implicated.

The Relationship between Cyber Security and Counter Terrorism

The United States is the worst enemy of terrorists because of its efforts to ensure that terrorism is eliminated in all countries. America has established various measures to curb terrorism and detect it to ensure it does not thrive anywhere in the world (Saunter 59). This has exposed this country to risks of facing terror attacks from insurgents as a way of responding to its influence on terrorism. On the other hand, terrorists have established various ways of ensuring that they continue tormenting America to discourage it from pursuing their activities. This has led to serious conflicts between Americans and terror groups because each group wants to prove that it is superior to the opponent (White 22).

The war on terror has been extended to cyber space and this is due to the influence of internet communication in advancing or fighting terrorism. Terrorists do not have adequate knowledge on how they can use computers to plan and execute their attacks, but the little idea they have makes them very dangerous. America realized the importance of computers for storing information that can be used to plan terror attacks (Bullock 42).

That is why this government is committed to ensuring that it creates a connection between its counter terrorism agencies and internet service providers. It is important to explain that most information obtained from computers used by terrorists help security officers to know what action to take to combat terror activities. In addition, the information has also been used for intelligence purposes where security officers have located training grounds, sponsors, and supporters of terrorism. This information is important in preventing future terrorist attacks on Americans (Bullock 61).

There is the need to explain that terrorism is not an American problem, but a global issue that must be understood from its roots. The American government is committed to ensuring that computers are not used to advance terror plans on innocent civilians, which explains why its anti-terror unit works with cyber security departments to ensure people do not store information that may be dangerous to their lives.

The counter terrorism and cyber security programs established will involve the transformation of the resilience and security options of the United States since it suffered the 2001 attack. National security was not a top agenda in the United States and most government officials had neglected the need to organize the military and intelligence to ensure there were no possibilities of terror attacks.

However, the Washington D C and New York attacks were a turning point in the history of America because they challenged the government to identify weaknesses in its security systems. The commission formed to investigate the issues discovered that lack of surveillance and cyber information contributed to the success of the attack. The events that followed challenged America to establish a strong link between its security forces and cyber communication to ensure no terror related communication was passed into or out of America (White 29).

In addition, the Smiths Detection program is a technology based approach that will play a significant role in combating terrorism activities in the United States. The following are some of the issues the International Security Program and Smith Detection will play in ensuring that America is protected from terror activities. First, it is necessary to explain that technology keeps changing and so does terror activities.

This means that security agencies must also change and move with technology to ensure they are not left behind in terms of equipment, training, and knowledge. In addition, terror groups are using civilians to attack their own countries and the United States is not an exception. Therefore, these programs will use technology to develop software that recognizes faces and biometrics. This will help anti terror units to identify terrorists or those that have connections with them.

In addition, terrorists use the internet to communicate with their colleagues regarding their plans, meetings, and other important issues. The United States is keen on using the internet to ensure that it develops software that can intercept internet communication. However, the biggest challenge in this issue is how to stop terrorists from intercepting communications among security officers. It is necessary to explain that homeland security is a serious challenge because technology has been used to strengthen and weaken it. America uses intelligence information obtained through intercepting communication among terrorists and terrorists do the same. Therefore, this cat and mouse game becomes complicated with the advent of mobile and internet communication.

In addition, the installation of CCTV cameras at international borders and areas that may be attacked by terrorists offers connection between cyber security and counter terrorism. It is necessary to explain that recent and earlier terrorist attacks on American embassies have been done at close range and this means that there is the need to ensure that these areas have entry restrictions. This has discouraged and thwarted terrorist attacks because it makes it impossible for militants to throw hand grenades from far. In addition, suicide bombers have not achieved their targets because these measures ensure the number of injured civilians and property destroyed is reduced.

Lastly, it is necessary to explain that the internet offers a lot of information to terrorists and anti terror agencies. America is known for its advanced technology where almost everything is done through the internet. Similarly, terrorists have taken advantage of America’s inventions to advance their training and gain knowledge on how to improve their operations (Bullock 79).

Counter terrorism efforts include the screening of websites, emails, and communication in social media to ensure people share important information. The world most feared terror group uses various social media accounts to post messages that threaten people and inform them about their planned attacks. Therefore, America has not been left behind in monitoring internet communication to track terrorists and know what they plan to do.

The Need for Cooperation


Unlike during the bipolar era, the economic power of the US has gone down in the recent years following a financial crisis that hit the country from 2008 onwards. The citizens of the country are struggling with huge government debt, which have seen the increase of food prices making live unbearable for many. Policy makers are aware of the challenges that the state face and have shifted from a costly leadership position to a leaner administration.

The problems faced in the US and Europe has affected the performance of developing countries, with some opting for alternative developmental partners. Currently, China is the major developmental partner of many African states since it is engaged in road and rail construction, communication technology improvement, and technical assistance. The emergence of the BRICs, which brings together some of the United States’ antagonists, such as Russia and China, is a real threat to national interests. However, the US does not have the ability counter the emerging trend that would see the collapse of its financial system.

When the country was facing serious economic problems, the stock exchange markets in China and Japan were really doing well. Currently, the economic strategists in the country advised the government to incorporate China into World Trade Organization since the emerging state had become a major force economically and it could not e neglected. There have been calls from all quarters in the country to end the war in the Middle East since the economy cannot support it.

Many corporations nearly closed their operations because of insufficient profits meaning that consumers are careful on how they spend their resources, something that affect the margins. Initially, the US was the best market because of the capability of the population, but the case is different currently, as many organizations are shifting to China, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea.

Security Interests

Interstate and intrastate conflicts are common in various parts of the world, particularly in Western Europe, Middle East, Asian subcontinent, North Africa, East Africa, and Central Africa regions, but the United States is reluctant to intervene, which is not normal given the fact that it did everything possible to avert the situation during the bipolar era. The ongoing conflicts between the Shea and the Sunni in the Middle East is of much concern because it would affect the flow of oil globally, but the US has been reluctant to do something to an extent that even the weakest states, such as Iran, are trying to intervene.

During the Cold War, the US made unilateral decisions to stop belligerent actors and rogue states, such as Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan from threatening the world peace, but it is not doing enough currently. Iran declared that it was going to test its nuclear yet the European powers and the US never took any action. In developing countries, states have been violating the law by playing critical roles in fuelling conflicts that result in mass murder and forceful transfer of populations yet the US insists on following the international law that is not developed.

In Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Ivory Coast, elections resulted in forceful transfer of populations in what referred to the internal displacement, but the US was never interested in bringing sanity. In the Stalled Engines scenario, the inability of the US to intervene in Iranian case is interpreted to mean lack of power. China is known to take a non-interventionist approach, but it was quick to give a comment on the nuclear testing claims.

Identity Interest

In the current international system, the US is doing little to bolster its identity globally, as it has turned inward with an aim of strengthening the living conditions of its people. In the previous global order, the US ensured that the entire world was attracted to its culture by promoting equality and diversity through education, music, and art. For instance, it established Fulbright scholarships to cater for the needs of international students wishing to pursue their careers in the US.

Such students would be instrumental in developing the identity of the US once they returned to their native countries since they would be offered higher positions in government while some would be professors in colleges and universities. Additionally, exchange programs were available for students, as this would help in strengthening cultural ties, which have an impact on identity, but the country is much focused on the issue of national security and such arrangements are unavailable. In the stalled engines, the American political reforms by the year 2030 are revealed and the idea of creating megacities is discussed thoroughly, as it would enhance regional cooperation. Through the megacities, global issues, such as global warming and refugee migration would be tackled effectively

Current Posture

Terrorism is a complicated crime because of the issues involved in promoting or controlling it. Today, America has established an elaborate plan that will ensure terror attacks do not occur and in case they do, they will not have serious impacts on people or property (Saunter 51). Its plan is to ensure it has adequate domestic intelligence and standard police to intercept communications and trace people that have connections with terror groups. It uses new technology to expand law enforcement and counter terrorism operations to ensure it has an upper hand when fighting terrorists (White 33).

Its domestic intelligence is usually directed at specific groups that are usually determined by religious or ancestral origin. However, the terror groups are way ahead of most counter terrorism operations and use homegrown terrorists to attack their nations. This allows them to stay under the security radar for a long time and confuses anti-terrorism units during their operations. America ensures it understands the source, methods of planning, motivation, and tactics used by terror groups to select effective actions that have higher chances of succeeding.

In addition, America operates under legal contexts to ensure that it does not violate the rights of civilian and suspects in its fight against terrorism. There must be rulings before any force is deployed to undertake a counter terrorism operation. This means that the president must be fully aware and in charge of commanding military agencies to conduct their operations regarding terrorism.

Other acts that determine the deployment of various security agencies in homeland security include the Posse Comitatus Act and Pentagon Policy (Nemeth 49). Moreover, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guides counter terrorism groups in their operations to search and seizure people, buildings, motor vehicles and property believed to be associated with terror activities. The department of Homeland Security consolidates the activities of various security agencies and ensures they work together to combat terrorism in the United States.

The American constitution allows its security agencies to detain civilians or insurgents believed to be involved in terrorism. It is necessary to explain that their detention helps security officers to obtain information from them regarding planned activities, training grounds and financiers of terror groups. In addition, it also helps to stop terrorists from attacking people since they cannot do so when they are under detention.

The practice dismantles terror groups and makes them weak because some will fear being arrested and thus may decide to resign or commit suicide rather than being detained in American security institutions (White 49). Detainees might be detained without judicial processes while some are tortured or extradited to their nations, depending on the nature of evidence obtained from them. However, most of them are usually deprived sleep or prevented from communicating with their families and friends to threaten them to confess and say what they know about terrorism.

America is known for using preemptive neutralization attacks that include arresting and killing suspected terrorists before they mount attacks on civilians and property. In addition, they also interrogate terror suspects to ensure they offer information about their plots and targets. This helps the United States to identify members of terror groups using their facial features or biometrics and this reduces the influence of terror activities on Americans.

The use of military and non-military measures to combat terrorism is also another successful strategy employed by the United States to ensure its homeland security is promoted. Non-military interventions include the provisions in the constitution that grants equal access to resources by all people irrespective of their gender or race (Jefferson 35).

This ensures there is equality and delineates people from insurgent activities and empowers them by assuring the public that they are free to demand their rights without fear. Military interventions include attacking camps of terror groups and this includes the invasion of Afghanistan to flush out Al-Qaida followers. Military interventions are today the most common way of controlling terrorism because it has short-term benefits like disbanding terror groups. In addition, it helps military personnel to destroy training and hiding facilities of terrorists and some of them may be arrested during these operations.

Lastly, America has special anti terrorism units that are trained to handle terrorists and rescue hostages. Their role is to engage terrorists directly and prevent them from attacking civilians or property. They ensure they perform their operations with minimal causalities and are well equipped to fight terrorists and ensure hostages are not killed during operations.

Emerging Threats

Counter terrorism activities are facing serious challenges in terms of technology, equipment and terror tactics. It is necessary to explain that modern technology is available to everyone that can afford to buy the required equipment. For instance, internet connectivity has spread to almost all countries in the world and people can access different websites from various locations. In addition, individuals ought to manipulate technology to achieve their desired results (White 77).

This means that when security personnel establish counter terrorism efforts they can be intercepted through internet communication by terrorist groups and this affects their operations (Jefferson 73). Therefore, technology has become a serious challenge that hinders the promotion of homeland security in the United States. This explains why there are various measures of ensuring that communication between anti terror groups is protected from internet crimes.

Secondly, the equipments used to combat terrorism are not adequate or sophisticated to detect terror activities in advance. It is necessary to explain that terrorism is just like other criminal activities that occur in the society and it is not easy to detect them unless when they have already happened. Therefore, counter terrorist units are facing serious threats if they continue using ordinary equipment to combat terrorism. On the other hand, terrorists use crude weapons to attack civilians and national institutions and this makes them very dangerous.

In addition, terror groups keep changing and they do not have identification marks. Therefore, it is not easy to differentiate civilians from terrorists. Moreover, terrorists use civilians with dual citizenship to attack their countries and this enables them to conduct their activities without being identified (Nemeth 79). The need to differentiate terrorists from civilians is hampered by the use of locals to attack their fellow citizens. It is necessary to explain that most terrorist attacks occur when they are least expected because there is usually no sign of strangers around these scenes. Therefore, it is not easy to tell when terrorists will attack because they have interacted with locals and know how to hide their identities.

Lastly, terror groups continue to thrive because of international requirements to respect human rights. America is facing a lot of criticism on how it obtains information from detainees. Hum rights groups have criticized the use of forceful interrogation methods and this makes most countries not to torture terrorists to obtain information from them (White 83). Therefore, America is arm twisted to use lenient ways of interrogating suspects and this gives them chances to be released without giving important information to security agencies.


One of the recommendations is that the US should consider working with other countries to ensure it is not alone in the war against terrorism. It is necessary to explain that this country will not achieve its objectives of maintaining homeland security if other nations continue to suffer terrorist attacks. Therefore, there is the need for this country to ensure its military operations involve other nations that are interested in fighting terrorism. This can involve the exportation of trainers to countries that are committed to fight this crime to offer professional assistance to their security forces.

In addition, there is the need to ensure that military interventions are carried out after consulting international organizations, such as the United Nations. This will minimize cases of conflicts of interest that were witnessed in the Afghanistan invasion. America has been criticized for moving its military troops to countries that are suspected of having terrorist links with Al Qaeda.

Therefore, to reduce cases of these criticisms it is necessary for this country to involve others in its military operations to fight terrorism. Moreover, counter terrorism agencies must be equipped and funded to ensure they have everything they need to combat terrorists. It has been noted that most terrorist groups earn a lot of income from trade activities that are based in their countries. This means that they have adequate funds to acquire and finance their operations. Therefore, America must allocate sufficient funds to its counter terrorism efforts to ensure it combats this crime.

Lastly, it is necessary to promote community policing to ensure the public is involved in reporting suspicious activities in the society. It is important to explain that the public is the best monitor of all activities that happen on the ground. Therefore, it can offer intelligence reports to security officers and this will help the government to promote homeland security. Those that provide useful information to security personnel should be rewarded and their identities protected from the public to motivate others to do so.

Works Cited

Bullock, Jane. Introduction to Homeland Security, Fourth Edition: Principles of All-

Oxford: Hazards Risk Management. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2012. Print.

White, Jonathan. Terrorism and Homeland Security. Connecticut: Cengage Learning,

2013. Print.

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