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Terrorism Mitigation and Risk Essay

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Updated: Mar 9th, 2022


Ever since the September 11 attacks, the capacity of the US federal government to effectively and efficiently ward off or respond to the impacts of portable nuclear weapons used by Al Qaeda has been under close public scrutiny.

Structural measures

Carrying out aerial background surveys could help deter attacks from portable nuclear devices. These are able to detect a threat from radioactive devise, measure radioactivity levels after an attack and decrease the cost of clean up (GAO, 2007). This is however costly which hampers implementation. This challenge can be solved through increased funding of the Department of Energy and Department of Homeland security.

The increasing capability of the Remote sensing laboratories will also help to contain possible attacks. These facilitate detection and mobilization of response to impending nuclear attacks. The challenge is that the laboratories are not dispersed and equipped enough to be effective against attacks. Dispersing the centers across the states and equipping them will resolve this impediment.

Screening at airports and other entry points has also been automated using the latest technology to curb the sneaking of suitcases like portable nuclear devices. This has increased the efficiency and effectiveness of any explosive or radioactive devices since the 9-11 attacks. However, terrorists are always devising new techniques mechanisms of evading detection. This can be solved by boosting vigilance and research into emerging loopholes that could be exploited by terrorist networks.

The closure of nuclear reactors producing highly enriched uranium could help reduce the possibility of portable nuclear attacks by starving the black market from such supply. This will deny Al Qaeda the supply of such weapons. The greatest challenge is how to get all key stakeholders to agree with such a strategy due to suspicion existing among the nuclear power. This can be implemented by bringing the dissenting groups to the negotiation table so as to arrive at a possible agreement to cut such production.

Non-structural measures

In order to avert the danger of possible portable nuclear attacks, it is important to assess the possibility and impact of attacks in the first place. In 2002, the national security strategy assessed the possibility of these weapons landing in the hands of extremist groups through the aid of tyrannical and failed governments (Millar, 2006). Its bottlenecks are devising the most effective and efficient way of assessment. With proper research, the development of suitable impact and threat analysis mechanisms can be possible.

To deal with possible leakage of a portable nuclear arsenal to the terrorist, the Russian surveillance program should be strengthened in partnership with other major powers. Russia is known as the greatest stock of fissile and suitcase nuclear bombs which could easily be sneaked to terrorists due to corruption and unemployment among the nuclear scientist along with a poor surveillance system. Getting its cooperation amidst spying suspicions would be the major impediment. Negotiations and multilateral agreements will be important in allaying the fears.

The enrichment and reprocessing process of uranium should be banned on its whole. Terrorist groups have little capacity to produce complete nuclear arms and rely on the sneaks in the black market. The barrier of this avenue is how to incorporate North Korea and Iran which are feared to be assisting terrorists into the program. The possible resolve is offering to supply these countries with nuclear fuel for civilian use in order to avoid the enrichment programs.

Another approach would be empowering the International Atomic Energy Agency to give them adequate power to enforce strict securing and control of nuclear programs. This will prevent possible infiltration of the weapons along with associated technology to the terrorist. The challenge is however the fact that the agency lacks the power to enforce compliance. This can be overcome by getting the countries to sign the nonproliferation and empowering the agency to enforce compliance treaties that will control the armament programs of the country.

Europol and the Policing of International Terrorism

The cooperation of Europol with other joint investigation teams provides a better opportunity to deal effectively with dangers posed by portable nuclear devices. By harmonizing the investigation processes the Europol presents a better approach to preventing the potential threats than the systems developed by the US. Its development of an elaborate legal system within their areas of cooperation ensures chances of success are greatly enhanced.

Reference List

Government Accountability Office (GAO), (2007). Combating Nuclear Terrorism: Federal Efforts to Respond to Nuclear and Radiological Threats and to Protect Key Emergency Response Facilities Could be strengthened. U.S. Government Accountability Office. Web.

Millar, A. (2006). Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction: How to Prevent the Deadly Nexus. Fourth Freedom Forum, Web.

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