One of the challenges that the United States face is a growing risk of terrorism activities. In the United States, terrorism did not begin with the 9/11 attack; such an act only highlighted its devastating effects. In the United States, multiple strategies and responses have been developed to counter-terrorism. The military, as well as various public sector entities, are tasked with preparedness, planning, and development of responses to terrorist attacks in the United States. This paper presents the role of the military and public sector entities in responding to terrorist attacks in New York, with a particular focus on preparedness, planning, and development.
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Following 9/11, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was the first major city police division to have a substantial operational in-house counterterrorism infrastructure. The system adequately covered the entire city and beyond and offered reliable means of sharing intelligence and developing strategies for combating the threat of terrorism (Committee on Homeland Security, 2019). The single significant element of the system that enhanced its success is the heightened collaboration and collective problem-solving. Terrorism activities are not limited by borders and, thus, entities that are working together include federal, state, and local agencies.
These agencies include the Fire Department, Port Authority, and Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA), in addition to other entities that serve as solid support to NYPD’s efforts in fighting terrorism in the state.
The Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) are at the forefront of safeguarding the country from domestic and international terrorist attacks. The first JTTF was formed in New York City in 1980 and was constituted by Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents as well as other police departments in the state (Committee on Homeland Security, 2019). Currently, the units consist of highly trained investigators, special agents, analysts, as well as intelligence agencies. JTTF brings together multiple law enforcement partners around the United States. In New York, the unit helps to identify any suspicious transactions that may be associated with terrorism activities or plots.
One of the sub-units under the collaboration is the NYPD Shield which is one of the umbrella counterterrorism initiatives in New York. The program encompasses a series of both current and future policy efforts that are associated with the private sector security as well as counterterrorism in the state.
The public-private cooperation under NYPD Shield is built on offering the best-proven practices as well as lessons gathered, opportunities for counterterrorism training, and information exchange. The authority aims at partnering with a private security manager to protect the city of New York from any terrorist activities (New York City Police Department [NYPD], 2021). NYPD Shield helps the NYPD to serve the diverse, unique needs of every constituency and offers presentations that assist the general public as well as private sector entities in staying safe from terrorist attacks. As part of the city’s efforts to combat terrorism, the authority has set up radiation detection equipment at crucial points.
The system ensures that New York City is virtually surrounded by a ring of radiological alarm systems. The NYPD also takes part in multi-agency operations that are focused on critical locations that include bridges, ferries, and tunnels.
Additionally, New York depends on the NYPD Critical Response Command (CRC), which forms one of the first lines of the jurisdiction’s command against terrorism. CRC members are highly trained and are required to respond swiftly to most of the highly orchestrated heavily armed terrorist attacks. Every member of CRC is well trained in handling special weapons as well as long-range guns. They are skilled in explosive trace detection, both nuclear and radiological awareness, and chemical and biological arms cognizance. The team is highly competent in detecting impending attacks and employing the best possible response in case of an emerging situation (NYPD, 2021).
As part of the agency’s mandate, it undertakes daily counterterrorism surveillance on critical infrastructure locations across New York City. The deployment helps to saturate strategic sites with a uniform presence that, in turn, assists in disrupting and preventing any terrorist activity plans.
Further, New York City works with the Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT), which supports federal, state, local as well as private sector initiatives that are aimed at protecting against terrorism. OCT also partners with tribal efforts to adequately prepare for any acts or threats of terrorism in neighborhoods (“Office of Counterterrorism,” 2021). The agency offers protection to critical infrastructure, offers public safety, and provides an analysis of terror-related information. The unit is an Emergency Preparedness Exercise Section which acts as the interface with the New York City Office of Emergency management.
Moreover, the NYPD partnered with Microsoft to create a tool that helps the city in its counterterrorism efforts. The system referred to as Domain Awareness System (DAS) is a powerful innovation that allows the NYPD in its policing initiatives. The system acts as a central platform that is applied in aggregating data from both internal and external closed-circuit cameras. The systems also pick data from registration plate readers as well as environmental sensors. The system is skillfully built such that it can obtain data from the NYPD database as well as from 911 calls (NYPD, 2021). The system relies on an interactive control panel to show any real-time alerts any of the sensors is triggered or when a 911 call is received.
Additionally, the efforts of New York City to stay safe from terrorist attacks are supported by the Bomb Squad. The unit is tasked with the investigation and mitigation of any suspected packages and items that are reported in New York City. The team must render such suspicious packages found in the city safe. The unit dismantles and transports safely disposes of such objects, thus preventing any harm that such items may have caused.
In this regard, the agency works closely with the Crime Scene Unit to locate, collect and transport such potential explosive items. The items are often presented as forensic evidence to aid in investigations should there be a need to do so. The members are armed with various highly specialized tools that are used in the defragmentation of the located explosive devices. In some instances, robots are deployed to monitor, manipulate and transfer suspected devices remotely.
The threat of terrorism is one of the challenges that the US faces, and states have diverse methods of addressing the issue. New York is working closely with various agencies in its counterterrorism efforts. NYPD collaborates with specialized units to prevent, plan and develop responses to terrorist attacks within the jurisdiction. Each collaboration is aimed at addressing a specific aspect of the threat of terrorist attacks. Apart from the organized institutions and public entities, the city works closely with the citizenry to protect the state from any terror activities.
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Committee on Homeland Security. (2019). Local efforts to counter the terror threat in New York City: A retrospective and a roadmap. Web.
Office of counterterrorism. (2021). New York State. Web.
New York City Police Department. (2021). Counterterrorism. Web.