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Preventing Terrorism: Strategies and Challenges Essay

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Updated: Aug 27th, 2020

Terrorism is one of the major global concerns of modern society. The government of the United States is putting significant efforts to developing an efficient system of preventive measures against terrorist attacks. The purpose of such measures is to stop the destructive incidents that harm the citizens, property, and the entire quality of life of the nation (Bjorgo, 2013). The counter-terrorist programs are aimed at stopping the attacks from happening and prevent individuals from following the extremist groups. The authorities are working on increasing the national protection concerning the terrorism. In case if the attacks are impossible to avoid, the government is to make sure that the influence of such attacks is minimized. For an extended period, America used to address terrorism with “military forces and suppression” (Bjorgo, 2013, p. 3). However, lately, the officials give preference to the strategies that will ensure the longer safety. Such strategies include the thorough investigation of the enemy, known as intelligence.

The Intelligence in the United States is considered the best in the world. American intelligence organizations use a broad range of methods and progressive technologies to seek and study data from around the world. They incorporate various satellites, air forces, vessels and internet technologies. Annually the government spends a significant amount of financial resources to budget such institutions. Currently, there are seventeen organizations involved into intelligence cycle in the United States. Their work is related to the national intelligence, defence intelligence, military service intelligence, and civil department intelligence (Richelson, 2015, p. 12).

Numerous executives in the US administration need intelligence to accomplish their duties. The process of policymaking requires a profound research of data not only within the country but analyzing the situation in the world. Richelson (2015) defines intelligence as a product of gathering, processing, integration, evaluation and interpretation of data regarding the global conditions and possible threats to the society (p. 11). National security is a sector that requires the proper intelligence the most.

Examining data regarding the activities and objectives of different terrorist groups is a primary concern of intelligence organizations in America. The undertakings of such organizations include collecting information from media, people, different reports, and statistics. The workers monitor domestic and foreign newspapers, radio and television. The foreign nationals could also be engaged in the process by secretly providing the information. The military forces often get information through interrogations of those suspected in connection with terrorists. The terrorist activity is being monitored geographically by using electronic and radio devices to build maps and mark the locations.

The researchers define two types of intelligence: the raw and the finished one.

The “raw intelligence” contains the complex information taken from various sources, while the “finished intelligence” present a report with accurate facts (Richelson, 2015, p. 12). The intelligence gives the opportunity to predict the probable outcome of various global political processes and intentions of terrorist individuals. The intelligence cycle provides a forecast and guidance for the authorities regarding the preparation and implementation of policies.

The unpredictable nature of terrorism makes it extremely difficult to control it. The enemy is constantly invisible and tends to act without warning or clear purpose. Intelligence is a powerful tool to develop a forecast of the probable actions of the enemy. Since terrorist attacks is an issue of a global scale, the United States cannot fight it on its own. The joint effort of all nations is vital to address the problem. However, in the experience of cooperation, the Europe was not willing to share some secret information valuable for counterterrorism. The legislation of the European countries differs from the American one and has strict principles regarding personal information privacy (McGill, & Gray, 2012). To develop the most efficient framework of fighting and preventing terrorism the world nations must collaborate with each other.

The history has numerous evidence showing the importance of a proper intelligence and the results of the lack of it. The tragedy on September 11, was a failure of American intelligence organizations. The researchers could have foreseen the annexation of Crimea by the Russians and the nuclear weapon appearance in Syria. The data collected by the workers of intelligence organizations present the rough ideas of the political, economic and social conditions in the world and suggest the number of measures to be taken in order to influence these conditions. The possibility of a favorable impact on the events gives a chance to maintain stability within the country and prevent the negative events in the world.


Bjorgo, T. (2013). Strategies for preventing terrorism. New York, NY: Springer.

McGill, A. K. S., & Gray, D. H. (2012). Challenges to International Counterterrorism Intelligence Sharing. Global Security Studies, 3(3), 76-86.

Richelson, J. T. (2015). The US intelligence community. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

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