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IACSP’s Homeland Security Bookshelf

Hell On Wheels:

Vehicular Ramming Attacks As The Tactic Of Choice Operation Regional Shield:

Combating MS-13 New Trends In Asymmetric Warfare Threats

Can Bin Laden Heir Salvage Jihad In Syria? Sri Lanka:

Counterinsurgency Victory Hard “New War” Lessons

Fall Issue Vol. 23 No. 3 2017 Printed in the U.S.A. IACSP.COM

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Complete a certificate or graduate degree—completely online! U.Ed.OUT 18-WC-0559/gam/smb Journal

of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 23, No.3

Join the ranks of security and public safety professionals worldwide that have achieved the Certified Anti-Terrorism Officer (cATO™) credential as recognition of their unique expertise in the field of managing terrorism-related risk.

The Certified Anti-Terrorism Officer (cATO™) credential is the global benchmark for recognizing career achievement and knowledge in the protection of facilities, organizations, and the public against acts of terrorism. The Certified Anti-Terrorism Officer designation is awarded to a candidate who has met eligibility requirements and passed the cATO™ Certification Examination in accordance with the standards set forth by the Certifying Board of The International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals (IACSP). Becoming board certified as a Certified Anti-Terrorism Officer distinguishes you in the security and public safety profession by demonstrating your expertise in the specialized field of managing terrorism-related risk and commitment to the safety and welfare of your community. Learn more and apply online:

Vol. 23, No. 3 Fall 2017 IACSP Director of Operations Steven J. Fustero

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Associate Publisher Phil Friedman

Hell On Wheels: Vehicular Ramming AttacksAs The Tactic Of Choice

Senior Editor Nancy Perry Contributing Editors Paul Davis Thomas B. Hunter Joshua Sinai

By Steven Crimando, CHS-V

Book Review Editor Jack Plaxe Research Director Gerry Keenan Conference Director John Dew

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Communications Director Craig O. Thompson

Can Bin Laden Heir Salvage Jihad In Syria?

Art Director Scott Dube, MAD4ART International

By Hany Ghoraba

Psychological CT Advisors Cherie Castellano, MA, CSW, LPC Counterintelligence Advisor Stanley I. White South America Advisor Edward J. Maggio Homeland Security Advisor Col. David Gavigan

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SITREP, Terrorism Trends & Forecasts

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We Are Losing The Cyberwar And It’s Mostly Our Fault, by David Gewirtz

Personal Security Advisor Thomas J. Patire Emergency Management Advisor Clark L. Staten

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Can Bin Laden Heir Salvage Jihad In Syria? By Hany Ghoraba

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Operation Regional Shield: Combating MS-13, by Paul Davis

Tactical Advisor Robert Taubert

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New Trends In Asymmetric Warfare Threats, by Dr. Joshua Sinai

Hazmat Advisor Bob Jaffin

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Sri Lanka: Counterinsurgency Victory Hard “New War” Lessons,

by Thomas A. Marks

Cell Phone Forensics Advisor Dr. Eamon P. Doherty IACSP Advisory Board John M. Peterson III John Dew Thomas Patire Cherie Castellano, MA, CSW, LPC Robert E. Thorn

by Steven Crimando, CHS-V

Page 34 Personal Security: Crash Cows Page 38 Secure Driver: The Red & Blue: On Twos, by Anthony Ricci Page 40 IACSP Q&A With Mark Bowden, Author Of Hue 1968 And Black Hawk Down, by Paul Davis Page 44

Security Driver Advisor Anthony Ricci, ADSI Cyberwarfare Advisor David Gewirtz

Page 24 Hell On Wheels: Vehicular Ramming Attacks As The Tactic Of Choice,

Director of Emergency Ops. Don L. Rondeau

Southeast Asia Correspondent Dr. Thomas A. Marks European Correspondent Elisabeth Peruci Middle East Correspondent Ali Koknar

IACSP Homeland Security Bookshelf, reviews by Dr. Joshua Sinai

CTSERF Research Professor David Gewirtz, M.Ed National Sales Representative Phil Friedman, Advertising Director Tel: 201-224-0588, Fax: 202-315-3459

THE JOURNAL OF COUNTERTERRORISM & HOMELAND SECURITY INT’L is published by SecureWorldnet, Ltd., PO Box 100688, Arlington, VA 22210, USA, (ISSN#1552-5155) in cooperation with the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals and Counterterrorism & Security Education and Research Foundation. Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the authors and are not necessarily those of the editors or publisher. Editorial correspondence should be addressed to: The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International, PO Box 100688, Arlington, VA 22210, USA, (571) 216-8205, FAX: (202) 315-3459 . Membership $65/year, add $10 for overseas memberships. Postmaster: send address changes to: The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International, PO Box 100688, Arlington, VA 22210, USA. Web site:

PHOTO CREDITS: Reuters,,, and authors where applicable.

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TERRORISM TRENDS & FORECASTS Global Overview 2017 Trending Fourth Quarter 2017 Iraq faced greater instability when government forces swiftly took back disputed territories including Kirkuk in the aftermath of the Kurdish region’s independence referendum, while in Libya fighting worsened in the west and could spread in December. Insurgent violence spiked in Afghanistan resulting in mass casualties, and Somalia saw its deadliest ever terror attack. In Cameroon, security forces cracked down on militant secessionist groups in the Anglophone minority, while tensions over the contested independence referendum in Spain’s Catalonia deepened. Clashes between herders and farming communities in Nigeria could flare with the Benue state government imposing its ban on unrestricted grazing.

Outlook The government of Iraq responded to the Kurdish region’s


independence referendum – in which Kurds overwhelmingly voted “yes” – by forcibly taking back the disputed city of Kirkuk and its oil fields, as well as other parts of the disputed territories. Federal forces met little resistance as Kurdish troops withdrew or fled. The move pushed the Kurdistan regional government onto the back foot; with few options. It accepted Baghdad’s call for dialogue and offered to suspend its push for independence. In Libya, fighting escalated in the west. The Anti-ISIS Operations Room militia said in early November it had taken full control from rival militias of Sabratha, a major jumping-off point for illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. In Somalia’s deadliest ever terror attack, two lorry bombs killed over 350 people, mostly civilians, in the capital Mogadishu. No one has claimed re-

sponsibility but suspicion falls squarely on Islamist insurgent group Al-Shabaab The confrontation between Cameroon’s government and the Anglophone minority in the South West and North West regions continued to sharpen, with the security forces’ repression of protests claiming dozens of lives and stoking calls for secession. Militant secessionist groups’ symbolic declaration of independence on in early autumn set the stage for more intense clashes. Last monthsaw another spike in casualties from insurgent attacks in Afghanistan. Among the incidents, over 70 people were killed, mostly police, in Taliban attacks in Paktia and Ghazni provinces, south of Kabul, on 17 October. Two days later, a Taliban attack on a military base in the southern province Kandahar killed over 40 soldiers.

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Tensions worsened in Spain as Catalonia’s regional government pressed ahead with a unilateral independence referendum on 1 October. Catalan officials reported hundreds of people were injured as police tried to block voting. After Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare independence on 27 October, Madrid dismissed the Catalan government and called snap regional elections. Spain’s attorney general announced it had filed charges against Catalan leaders for rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. Deteriorated Situations • Cameroon, Somalia, Afghanistan, Spain, Iraq, Libya Improved Situations • None Conflict Risk Alerts • Nigeria, Libya

Few military requirements are as enduring as the need for timely, accurate information.

The Taliban’s Special Forces Unit The Afghan Taliban recently promoted its “Special Forces Unit” that purportedly is operating in the eastern Afghan province of Laghman. Since 2015, the Taliban has advertised its so-called “Special Forces Unit” which is known to have operated in southern Afghan provinces. Afghan military officials confirmed the existence of a Taliban “Special Forces Unit”, known as the Red Group or Danger Group, in the summer of 2016. An Afghan Army special forces commander said the group uses “advanced weaponry, including night vision scopes, 82mm rockets, heavy machine guns and US-made assault rifles.” According to The Associate Press, the Red Group has fought in Helmand and other provinces. While the Taliban’s “Special Forces Unit” certainly isn’t trained to the same standards and proficiency as US special operations forces, it has proven to be effective on the battlefield against its Afghan adversaries. Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.

Nature’s Silent Sentinels Could Help Detect Security Threats New program envisions plants as discreet, self-sustaining sensors capable of reporting via remotely monitored, programmed responses to environmental stimi

Fortunately, nature, the master of complexity, offers potential solutions. DARPA’s new Advanced Plant Technologies (APT) program looks to seemingly simple plants as the next generation of intelligence gatherers. The program will pursue technologies to engineer robust, plant-based sensors that are self-sustaining in their environment and can be remotely monitored using existing hardware. DARPA’s vision for APT is to harness plants’ natural mechanisms for sensing and responding to environmental stimuli and extend them to detect the presence of certain chemicals, pathogens, radiation, and even electromagnetic signals. If the program is successful, it will deliver a new sensing platform that is energy independent, robust, stealthy, and easily distributed. Such sensors could find application outside of the military too, making it possible, for instance, for communities to safely identify landmines or unexploded ordinance leftover from past conflicts or testing grounds. Source:

Cost of War On Terror Since 9/11: $5.6 trillion As of late September 2017, the United States wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria and the additional spending on Homeland Security, and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs since the 9/11 attacks totaled more than $4.3 trillion in current dollars. Adding likely costs for FY2018 and estimated future spending on veterans, the costs of war total more than $5.6 trillion. Over 6,800 U.S. soldiers have died in the wars. The report is part of the Cost of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute. The Cost of War report, first released in 2011, has been compiled

and updated by more than thirty economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists as the first comprehensive analysis of over a decade of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.

Summary of some of the findings • 370,000 people have died due to direct war violence, including armed forces on all sides of the conflicts, contractors, civilians, journalists, and humanitarian workers. • It is likely that many times more than 370,000 people have died indirectly in these wars, due to malnutrition, damaged infrastructure, and environmental degradation. • 200,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence by all parties to these conflicts. • Over 6,800 U.S. soldiers have died in the wars. • Many deaths and injuries among U.S. contractors have not been reported as required by law, but it is likely that at least 6,900 have been killed. The ripple effects on the U.S. economy have also been significant, including job loss and interest rate increases. Source:

Internet Scams That holiday card in your inbox? Think twice before clicking. That deep discount in your newsfeed on the season’s hot gadget? Does it seem too good to be true? The FBI’s authority on Internet scams suggests keeping your guard up as holiday shopping season kicks in. The Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, is the Bureau’s virtual complaint desk for people who believe they have been victimized or defrauded online. The

unit, established in 2000 in the FBI’s Cyber Division, receives about 800 complaints every day through its website, “The scams that we get all year long are the same scams that happen around the holiday season,” said Donna Gregory, head of the IC3 unit, which is based in West Virginia. “It’s just that people are more apt to maybe fall for them during the holidays—especially for non-delivery scams or clicking on links for greeting cards that are actually malware.” The IC3 consists of special agents, technical experts, and analysts who look for patterns and trends in the complaints. Some, but not all, complaints are referred to law enforcement agencies for investigation. While victims reported more than $1.3 billion in losses last year to IC3, the problem is believed to be much larger, since only about 15 percent of fraud victims report the crimes to law enforcement, according to FBI estimates. If you think you might be the victim of Internet fraud, go to to file a complaint. If you think that letter from the Nigerian prince is going to make your holiday dreams come true, think again. Source: FBI

IACSP News Many of our members are not receiving our new monthly CTS Enews (electronic security report) because we either do not have your email address, or you are using a .gov or .mil email address for your membership record. If you would like to receive our CTS Enews, please send me an email with the email address you would like us to use. Also include your current address. Please send the information to my attention to my personal email address: Until next time, as always, be vigilant and safe. Thank you. Steven J. Fustero, Dir. Of Operations/IACSP

We Are Losing The Cyberwar And It’s Mostly Our Fault By David Gewirtz

W (Editor’s Note: David is currently on sabbatical and this is a reprint of a column he did for us over three years ago. That said, we should heed his concerns.)


e are, at least numerically speaking, losing the war. We are, figuratively speaking, being overrun by cyberenemies from all quarters. The rate of growth in cyberthreats is exploding nearly exponentially. Whether it’s malware, advanced persistent threats, breaches, distributed denial of service attacks, or any of the other forms of cyber-based nastiness, it’s growing. Very, very quickly. Let’s dive into some statistics that will help get your blood boiling.

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Take ransom ware, for example. Ransom ware is the form of malware that gets inside a computer, encrypts the data, and then demands a ransom payment be made through some obscure chain of procedures, at which time the criminal extorting the ransom might -- might -- provide a decryption key. Ransom ware, like most malware, travels through a variety of means, from corrupted Web sites to email attachments opened by careless users. In 2011, there were roughly 200,000 unique ransom ware samples in the wild. When we talk about a malware sample, what we’re talking about is a captured malware infection and its unique fingerprint. According to McAfee Labs (part of chip-maker Intel) in their 2013 Q4 Threat Report, ransom ware samples jumped from about 200K in 2011 to about half a million in 2012. That’s a pretty big jump, more than a hundred percent year over year. But that’s nothing. From 2012 to 2013, ransom ware samples jumped from about half a million to almost 1.6 million. Sit down and think that through for a second. That means ransom ware samples from 2012 to 2013 were more than double that of 2011 plus 2012 -- combined. We’re talking more than twice the previous two years added together. Of course, it’s not just ransom ware. Let’s move on to something called “malicious signed binaries.” To understand malicious signed binaries, you have to understand signed binaries. First, programs when they’re ready to run in a computer (or smartphone or tablet) processor are often called “binaries.” That’s to differentiate them from documents. Documents are read. Binaries are executed or run. Creators of software and of the operating systems they run on have long had a mechanism for making sure what you’re running is what you’re supposed to be running. These are called “signed binaries” and they’re basically executable programs that have an authorization code (a signature) embedded in them. If a program has the wrong signature, it’s kept out of execution.

You can see where this is going right? Bad guys figured out how to sign binaries and make them look legit. Now, a computer that would normally reject a piece of malware because it wasn’t properly signed will happily execute something very bad, because it appears to have a valid signature. That’s a malicious, signed binary. In 2011, there were very few malicious signed binaries, barely a rounding error in any chart. By 2012, however, the number of malicious signed binaries in circulation reached a little under two million. Take a deep breath. Are you ready for this? By 2013 (just one year later), the number of malicious signed binaries, according to the McAfee report, reached more than 7.5 million. That’s almost a fourtimes growth in one year, vs. the previous two years combined! Mobile malware samples, malware types running on mobile devices, were barely a factor in 2011. By 2012, there were well more than a million mobile malware samples. And by 2013, that number grew to something over 3.75 million -- almost exactly a 300 percent growth year-over-year. Of course, traditional malware wasn’t sleeping on the job. Traditional malware, the kind that helps bad guys tunnel inside your networks and live there, stealing all sorts of confidential information, that stuff grew to nearly 200 million samples in 2013, beating 2011 and 2012 combined. Nothing seems safe, these days. If you surf the Web (and who doesn’t?), malicious Web links in the U.S. grew by 720 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to a 2013 Threat Report by Websense. While we don’t have the numbers for 2013 growth, it seems likely that the worldwide 6x growth in malicious Web links (Web links that take you somewhere very, very bad) will have grown by another order of magnitude. In fact, given the recent discovery of what’s being popularly called the Heartbleed bug, we can expect Web site security to decline even more. Heartbleed is a bug in the security framework of most of the world’s Web sites that completely opens up secure communications (and what’s stored on the server) to outside criminals.

This wasn’t the result of a nefarious act. Sadly, it was just bad coding that was never double-checked and somehow managed to find its way to most of the world’s servers. Since its public announcement in early April, site operators have been madly rushing to update the OpenSSL code at the heart of the bug, but who knows how many passwords and security certificates have been vacuumed up worldwide before site operators (those that bothered to), actually fixed the bug. Given these malware growth rates, breaches are all too common. Vanson Bourne, a research company, surveyed 1,440 IT decision-makers at more than 500 companies and discovered that while 87 percent had suffered a security breach at some point in their history, nearly half suffered a breach in the last six months. Dell, which makes security appliances as well as computers, has been tracking how many overall malicious attempts were made and stopped using their tools. The company reports catching 1.06 trillion (that was “trillion” with a “T”) intrusion incidents that were detected and prevented. If you figure that there are about six billion people on the planet, that’s about 175 intrusion incidents for every man, woman, and child -- and that’s just in one year, with results from just one vendor. I’m going to wrap this up with a few more completely damning facts and figures. According to the 2012 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 43 percent of all data center breaches were accomplished in seconds. That means from initial attack to compromised system in less than a minute. Another 29 percent took minutes and four percent took hours. But if you look at this from a defense point of view, bad guys basically walk up to almost half the sites they want to get into and don’t even take the time to knock on the door. Seconds to get inside. Oh, but it gets worse. Yes, of course it gets worse. Did you really think there was any good news? Once a bad guy, a criminal, an enemy actor, a teenager -- whoever -breaches corporate systems, Verizon reports that almost 10 percent don’t get discovered for years. Years. Bad guys are rummaging around inside these networks, stealing and modi-

fying who-knows-what, for years. Almost 40 percent live inside compromised systems for months before discovery, nearly a quarter manage to last a week, and another 27 percent are inside for one or more days. Can you imagine the damage that can be done inside a network with days of access? Weeks? Months? Years? Worse, most companies and organizations don’t know they’ve been breached. Ninety-two percent of them have no clue whatsoever, and they only find out when law enforcement (59 percent of the time) or a third part fraud detection service (26 percent of the time) notifies them of the breach. You know what bothers me most about all of this? According to Verizon, a full 97 percent of the attacks were easily avoidable if companies and organizations had merely instituted some level of moderate security controls. In other words, the bad guys are going all out because the victims are letting them. What can you do about this? Simple. Get your act together. Update your network security systems, update your software, make sure you patch regularly, and regularly audit your systems. Don’t expect five-year old software and systems to protect you from the ever-increasing arms race that lives in the cyber realms. Be as vigilant in your networks and computers (and don’t forget all those BYOD and mobile devices) as you are in the physical world. After all, a cyberbreach today can often be even more costly than a physical breach. As I have come to do with these articles, I leave you with one thought: Oh joy.

About the Author David Gewirtz is Director of the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, Distinguished Lecturer for CBS Interactive, Cyberwarfare Advisor for the International Association of Counterterrorism and Security Professionals (IACSP), IT Advisor to the Florida Public Health Association and an instructor at the UC Berkeley extension. His personal site is at: His company site is at:, Follow him on Twitter at: @DavidGewirtz, LinkedIn: davidgewirtz

Can Bin Laden Heir Salvage Jihad in Syria? By Hany Ghoraba


ut of the ashes left by ISIS’s battlefield defeats, a new alQaida branch is trying to stake a claim in Syria. Ansar Al Furqan Fi Bilad Al Sham announced its formation Oct. 9. It is comprised of jihadists who had been affiliated with other terrorist movements, including ISIS, Jabhat Al Nusra and smaller, lesser-known groups. Ansar Al Furqan’s charter describes a Sunni Muslim jihadist group that contains uniting “Muhajreen,” or

immigrants, referring to foreign fighters and “Ansar,” who are local Syrian jihadists. These are battle hardened terrorists who have been fighting since the early years of the Syrian civil war. As with their jihadist counterparts, Ansar Al Furqan wants to establish an Islamic Caliphate.


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The new group is rumored to be led by Hamza bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s 28-year-old son. Al-Qaida released a tape by Hamza bin Laden Sept. 14 urging Syrian jihadists to stand their ground against the infidels. “So do not waver, nor grieve,” he said. “... Weigh your affairs in the scales of the Hereafter, your difficulties will seem trivial to you.”

Multiple British media

A week before Ansar Al Furqan’s declaration, al-Qaida leader Ayman Al Zawahiri lashed out against Jabhat Al Nusra leaders in Syria for breaking off from al-Qaida and operating independently. Jabhat Al Nusra leader Abu Mohammed Al Golani announced in July 2016 that his group wanted to merge or ally with only local jihadist groups. Being linked to al-Qaida made the group a target for all the regional and international powers, Al Golani said.

the younger bin

Al Zawahiri condemned Jabhat Al Nusra for breaking its baya, or pledge of allegiance to al-Qaida, and warned the group fighters in Syria of the consequences of breaking their pledge. “As for us, we believe that the oath of allegiance is a Shari’i undertaking; binding in its nature, its violation forbidden. Our Lord says, ‘O’ you who believe, fulfill your pledges.’ As for us, we shall fulfill our oath; we shall neither wear down nor give in,” he said. Al Zawahiri’s speech also aimed to restore alQaida’s reputation as the leading jihadist group. Ansar Al Furqan’s nine-page charter was published online. It vows to target infidels and their countries including Russia, the United States, Turkey, and Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime. “Those who ally themselves with the non-believers and enemies of Allah from American and Russian or others then they will be judged similarly to them and they shall not be forgiven and only the sword will be their punishment,” it said.

outlets have confirmed Laden’s presence in Syria. British Special Forces SAS dispatched 40 special forces fighters to hunt him down in Syria, the Daily Mail reported. British authorities believe that bin Laden’s praise for “lone wolf” attacks in the speech poses a clear and present danger to national security. Britain has endured a series of such “lone wolf” attacks this year.

The charter calls upon the pious to fight Shia Muslims and anyone supporting Americans or Russians, along with Arab leaders with nationalist or democratic agendas. “We denounce to Allah all the factions of heresy and blasphemy of the atheist, communist, democratic and modern political parties and those who ally themselves with the enemies of Allah from the Crusaders, Shia and other and we shall fight them on all fronts,” the charter said.

calls on Muslims to answer the call for jihad with money and arms. In an attempt to appear more rational than ISIS, however, the al-Qaida affiliated Ansar Al Furqan refrained from labeling all Muslims who don’t follow their path, or who oppose them, as infidels. Only the sinners among them should be punished according to sharia law’s dictates.

Fighting Arab leaders who are traditionally of Muslim faith (Lebanon’s president is a Christian) is a priority in the charter, which calls them infidels who are allied with the West. It also

The charter also strongly criticized the lack of coordination and counseling between the different jihadist factions in Syria, which has led to their current dire situation.

Bin Laden called upon warring jihadist groups to reunite under one banner to face Islam’s common enemy. “The new world order is fighting you because you are attempting to establish a righteous caliphate, so don’t obey them, you have to disobey the infidels and their allies,” he said. “You should be proud that the United States and Russia consider you as their enemies.” Ansar Al Furqan’s charter was released a few weeks later, with its pledge of allegiance to alQaida. The link between the recording and the group’s declaration cannot be ignored as Syria remains a very important to al-Qaida’s plans. The bin Laden speech was called “The ordeal of al-Sham (Syria) is the ordeal of Islam,” signifying that the group will spare no effort in attempting to turn the tide of war against Assad regime by trying to unite Syrian jihadists under one banner and attract more fighters. Multiple British media outlets have confirmed the younger bin Laden’s presence in Syria. British Special Forces SAS dispatched 40 special forces fighters to hunt him down in Syria, the Daily Mail reported. British authorities believe that bin Laden’s praise for “lone wolf” attacks in the speech poses a clear and present danger to national security. Britain has endured a series of such “lone wolf” attacks this year. However, Syrian Democratic Army Brigadier General Ahmed Al Hamadi, the spokesman of northern front, indicated that bin Laden’s presence in Syria remains unconfirmed by his group. Al-Qaida’s successor in Syria could become the region’s next menace if it manages to reunite smaller terrorist groups and fleeing fighters from ISIS and Jabhat Al Nusra. That outcome requires the right leadership. Hamza bin Laden’s status as the son of history’s most notorious terrorist mastermind could help. The next few months may show whether the group is another failed terrorist startup, or one that can actually make an impact. Or, the Syrian army and an international coalition may put an end to those ambitions once and for all.

About the Author Hany Ghoraba is an Egyptian writer, political and counter-terrorism analyst at Al Ahram Weekly, author of Egypt’s Arab Spring: The Long and Winding Road to Democracy and a regular contributor to the BBC. This is a special report provided by:

Operation Regional Shield: Combating the Transnational Drug Gang MS-13

“ By Paul Davis

We’re not talking about ordinary criminals here,” a veteran detective told a writer. “MS-13 is a brutal, ruthless and murderous criminal gang with international tentacles.” The detective explained that La Mara Salvtrucha, MS-13, was a transnational crime group that engages in drug and human trafficking, extortion of business owners, murder and other




members are primarily immigrants or the children and grandchildren of immigrants from El Salvador. 12

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“Their motto is Mata, roba, viola, controla, which means kill, steal, rape and control.” The gang’s beginnings in the U.S. occurred in Los Angeles, but today the gang has branched out and conducts criminal activities in many other cities. Like Cosa Nostra, MS-13 members must commit murder to join the gang and the detective said they don’t hesitate to murder anyone who gets in their way. They are so bloodthirsty, he said, that they like to kill people with machetes. He recalled that last year one MS-13 member murdered a 19-year-old woman and her two-year-old son. “MS-13 has grown to become one of the biggest and most violent criminal gangs in America,” the detective said. “MS-13 is a clear and present danger to the nation.” He approved of the federal government’s recent increased efforts to combat the drug gang, but said that much more was needed to be done. The detective was referring to President Donald Trump’s February 9th Presidential Executive Order On Enforcing Federal Law With Respect to Transnational National Criminal Organization and Preventing International Trafficking.

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“Transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including transnational drug cartels, have spread throughout the Nation, threatening the safety of the United States and its citizens. These organizations derive revenue through widespread illegal conduct, including acts of violence and abuse that exhibit a wanton disregard for human life. They, for example, have been known to commit brutal murders, rapes, and other barbaric acts,” reads the order. ”These groups are drivers of crime, corruption, violence, and misery. In particular, the trafficking by cartels of controlled substances has triggered a resurgence in deadly drug abuse and a corresponding rise in violent crime related to drugs. Likewise, the trafficking and smuggling of human beings by transnational criminal groups risks creating a humanitarian crisis. These crimes, along with many others, are enriching and empowering these organizations to the detriment of the American people.” The order states that a comprehensive and decisive approach was required to dismantle these organized crime syndicates and restore safety for the American people. The executive order’s stated policy is “to strengthen enforcement of Federal law in order to thwart transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including criminal gangs, cartels, racketeering organizations, and other groups engaged in illicit activities that present a threat to public safety and national security and that are related to the illegal smuggling and trafficking of humans, drugs or other substances, wildlife, and weapons, and corruption, cybercrime, fraud, financial crimes, and intellectual-property theft; or the illegal concealment or transfer of proceeds derived from such illicit activities.” The policy further stated: “To ensure that Federal law enforcement agencies give a high priority and devote sufficient resources to efforts to identify, interdict, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including through the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of members of such organizations, the extradition of members of such organizations to face justice in the United States and, where appropriate and to the extent permitted by law, the swift removal from the United States of foreign nationals who are members of such organizations, as well as maximize the extent to which all Federal agencies share information and coordinate with Federal law enforcement agencies, as permitted by law, in order to identify, interdict, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations; - and enhance cooperation with foreign counterparts against transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including, where appropriate and permitted by law, through sharing

of intelligence and law enforcement information and through increased security sector assistance to foreign partners by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security.” On September 19th, six months after the executive order was issued, the U.S. Justice Department in Washington D.C. announced that criminal charges were brought against more than 3,800 MS-13 and 18th Street gang members in the U.S. and Central America. The charges stem from a coordinated action called “Operation Regional Shield.” The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco, Attorney General Douglas Meléndez of El Salvador, Attorney General Thelma Aldana of Guatemala, and Attorney General Oscar Chinchilla of Honduras. The law enforcement officials stated that last March Sessions met with his Central American counterparts and they developed strategies and plans to combat MS-13’s increasingly transnational criminal activities. The officials said that prosecutors from the region shared information and evidence and coordinated simultaneous operations against the gangs. “MS-13 is one of the most violent and ruthless gangs in America today, endangering communities in more than 40 states. But under President Trump’s strong leadership, the Department of Justice is taking them off our streets,” Sessions said. “Today, we are announcing that our partnership with law enforcement in Central America, has yielded charges against more than 3,800 gang members just in the last six months. More than 70 of these defendants were living in the United States, from California to Ohio to Boston. MS13 coordinates across our borders to kill, rape, and traffic drugs and underage girls; we’ve got to coordinate across our borders to stop them. That’s exactly what our courageous and professional DOJ agents and attorneys are doing. We will continue to maintain this steadfast policy and dismantle this gang.” Oscar Chinchilla, the Honduran attorney general, stated that by studying MS-13’s modus operandi, they realized that combating the gang would require working jointly with the United States, Guatemala, and El Salvador. He said that by working together and sharing information, they were able to strike the financial structures of the gangs. “We conducted simultaneous operations coordinated among all of our countries impacting the leadership structure of the gangs and with an emphasis on the gang cliques which are

generating the most revenues and with the strongest transnational ties,” said Douglas Melendez, the El Salvadoran attorney general. Aladana Hernandez, the Guatemalan attorney general, added: “Our citizens demand prompt and effective responses from the security and justice system. We must therefore continue promoting and implementing actions such as Operation Regional Shield that effectively strengthen the rule of law and build safer, more supportive, more prosperous and fairer societies.” Cases resulting from Operation Regional Shield include an indictment in the District of Massachusetts that charges Edwin Manica Flores, aka Sugar, Chugar and Shugar, an MS-13 leader incarcerated for murder in El Salvador, with a RICO conspiracy for alleged criminal activity that he directed in the U.S. in his capacity as the leader of MS-13’s “East Coast Program.” Another case resulting from Operation Regional Shield include charges filed in Long Island on July 19 against 17 MS-13 members for 12 murders. The murders include the April 11th murder of four men in Central Islip. The MS13 members are also charged with racketeering, attempted murders, assaults, obstruction of justice, arson and conspiracy to distribute marijuana and firearms. The U.S. Justice Department stated that the investigation of MS-13 in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemalan was being handled by regional gang prosecutors who receive U.S. State Department-funded training from the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Justice Department’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT). “Along with support from the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, prosecutors from OPDAT helped establish task forces in the region and work with FBI’s local Transnational Anti-Gang (TAG) units, as well as HSI’s Transnational Criminal Investigative Units (TCIUs),” the Justice Department said. “These efforts have helped our Central American partners convict thousands of criminals, seize over $1 billion in illicit assets, and coordinate on dozens of transnational investigations with their U.S. counterparts.”

About the Author Paul Davis is a contributing editor to the Journal.

New Trends In

Asymmetric Warfare Threats By Dr. Joshua Sinai


Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah appears on a screen during a live broadcast as he speaks to his supporters during the ceremony of Ashura in Beirut, Lebanon October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

n late 2017, the multi-faceted terrorist, guerrilla warfare, cyber-warfare, and information operation threats against Western nations and their allies by their smaller asymmetric warfare adversaries continue to evolve and proliferate. Change is so rapid, in fact, that new and unanticipated asymmetric actors and types of threats keep popping up, such as information operations. One recent example are the cyber-attacks, breaches, and information operations by alleged Russian government-directed sub-state cyber hacktivists against the Democratic candidate and the Democratic Party in the 2016 American presidential election that may have played some influence in its outcome. In a parallel sub-state attack, Russian sub-state actors reportedly placed fake avatars in American social media sites in order to sway public opinion in the presidential election, as well. Although the Democratic presidential candidate’s own flaws likely played a major role in her electoral defeat, the fact remains that her candidacy was damaged to some extent by Russian hacktivist interference in which sensitive documents were allegedly leaked to WikiLeaks, which was asymmetric in how it was conducted because the perpetrators could not be directly traced to any sub-state actor.


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In another type of asymmetric warfare, states that engage in terrorism and support of terrorist groups, such as Iran, utilize sub-state groups to conduct cyber-warfare against their adversaries. It is alleged that in mid-August 2012 Iran used proxies to carry out a cyber-attack against the computers of Saudi Aramco, damaging some 35,000 of its computers. Terrorist groups, such as Hamas, allegedly carry out cyberattacks against Israeli critical infrastructural targets, although with minimal success. Also there is asymmetric warfare, with major military powers, such as the United States, challenged by protracted terrorist insurgencies by less powerful, yet persistent, groups such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. All of these types of asymmetric challenges require new ways of conceptualizing the nature of these new multi-dimensional threats and the comprehensive and tailored measures required for effective responses against them. The most notorious past example of an asymmetric threat that surprised its more powerful government adversary was al Qaida’s 9/11 simultaneous catastrophic attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, in which conventional aircraft hijackings were transformed into weapons of mass destruction. Although improved Western governmental counterterrorism capabilities so far have prevented terrorist groups from repeating such wellorganized catastrophic attacks, their less well-organized terrorist operative cells and lone wolf adherents have succeeded in carrying out asymmetric attacks with lower casualties that are still catastrophic. These include the bombings by the Tsarnaev brothers of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, in which three people were killed and an estimated 264 were wounded. Other asymmetric terrorist attacks include (but not limited to) the November 13-14, 2005 attacks by an ISIS cell in Paris, France, in which 130 persons were killed and some 413 were wounded, and the August 17, 2017 attacks by an ISIS cell in Barcelona, Spain, in which 15 persons were killed and 131 were injured. What is especially significant about these types of asymmetric warfare threats is that a variety of technological innovations, especially the exploitation of information technology (IT) in cyberwarfare, and, in what has not yet been employed as weap-

As discussed earlier, “traditional” asymmetric actors include terrorists, whether as groups that are highly organized, such as the Lebanese Hizballah (a guerrilla

ons, unmanned aerial systems (drones), are exponentially escalating the warfare capabilities of sub-state asymmetric actors. The challenge for the more powerful targeted states, therefore, is to counter such evolving threats with appropriate symmetries of responses, including developing cutting-edge warfare-related technologies to defeat them, such as anti-drone jamming technologies. Thus, in accordance with Sun Tzu’s important dictum of “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster,” an understanding of the ever-evolving threats presented by current and future cases of asymmetric warfare will upgrade governments’ capability to defeat such threats instead of being constantly surprised when they occur.

army with a terrorist

What is asymmetric warfare?

capability); loosely

In asymmetric warfare, the adversaries possess unequal military resources, with the weaker opponent using a spectrum of what are generally unconventional tactics, such as terrorism, and weapons that would only be available to non-military forces, such as firearms, IEDs, or, in a future potential trend, weaponized drones, to exploit the vulnerabilities of their more powerful state adversaries. This is in contrast to symmetric warfare, where the adversaries, such as two enemy states, possess relatively comparable military power in terms of their regular forces and military equipment, and in which they employ similar strategies and tactics, that might only differ in their respective relative effectiveness in their military capabilities and warfare execution.

affiliated groups, such as ISIS; self-radicalized lone wolves who are inspired by terrorist groups such as ISIS; or narco-trafficking drug cartels, such those currently terrorizing the Mexican state with their numerous assassinations of those they perceive to be their adversary politicians or journalists.

Who are the Asymmetric Actors? As discussed earlier, “traditional” asymmetric actors include terrorists, whether as groups that are highly organized, such as the Lebanese Hizballah (a guerrilla army with a terrorist capability); loosely affiliated groups, such as ISIS; self-radicalized lone wolves who are inspired by terrorist groups such as ISIS; or narco-trafficking drug cartels, such those currently terrorizing the Mexican state with their numerous assassinations of those they perceive to be their adversary politicians or journalists. In this rapidly evolving threat environment, new asymmetric actors now include hacktivists, such as the “Anonymous” collective, who breach and then leak government agencies’

or companies’ proprietary information and technologies, as

well as sub-state elements that allegedly carried out information operations against political candidates their state sponsor opposes in a foreign election.

In a potential new trend, such asymmetric actors could converge with one another to conduct separate yet simultaneous attacks. For example, the hacktivist attacks against Israel in April 2013 were reportedly linked (however loosely) to several militant pro-Palestinian groups. In another example, the global reach of al Qaida- or ISIS-affiliates could enable them to draw from a pool of fighters from their networks in one country, such as Syria, to dispatch them to far-flung countries such as anarchic regions in Libya in North Africa, Yemen, in southern Arabia, or the Philippines in East Asia.

threat environment of asymmetric warfare is also transforming the nature of the battlefield between asymmetric actors and their state adversaries. This is particularly the case

What Are the Implications of Asymmetric warfare?

for certain states,

One challenge of asymmetric warfare is the problem of attribution, since it is difficult to identify non-state or sub-state perpetrators who operate anonymously from foreign geographical regions, including lawless failed states. In the case of cyber-warfare, in particular, they not only operate in cyberspace where it is difficult to identify the digital fingerprints in a cyber-attack, or they might be protected by their state sponsor, who provide them safe haven, thereby also providing their state sponsor with deniability, if necessary.

conduct asymmetric

The rapidly changing threat environment of asymmetric warfare is also transforming the nature of the battlefield between asymmetric actors and their state adversaries. This is particularly the case for certain states, such as Iran, that conduct asymmetric warfare against their adversaries through proxies, such as Hizballah. In fact, even for Iran the use of such terrorist group proxies is changing. For example, although the perpetrator behind the July 18, 2012 suicide bombing attack against the Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria was identified, the network behind his attack has yet to be conclusively identified, with Hizballah (and possibly Iran) alleged to be responsible for the operation. If it turns out that Iran had some involvement in the operation, then it has shifted its use of “proxies” to include ad hoc terrorist groupings, such as the network behind that attack. In fact, if the targeted state adversary does not respond “in kind” to such attacks against it, then asymmetric actors such as Hizballah and its Iran state sponsor are, in


The rapidly changing

such as Iran, that warfare against their adversaries through proxies, such as Hizballah.

effect, being granted a “zone of immunity” to continue sponsoring such warfare, which is a dilemma that Israeli military planners must grapple with, especially in planning possible strikes against Hizballah’s bases in Lebanon or Iran’s nuclear facilities. In a second challenge, for a country’s military to deploy overwhelming military superiority against one’s asymmetric adversary, it does not necessarily translate into assured military victory. The American military intervention in South Vietnam’s civil war (November 1955 to April 1975), and the current uncertainty of what is likely to transpire in Afghanistan if American troops were to withdraw, are examples of how militarily weaker asymmetric adversaries (i.e., the Vietcong in Vietnam and the Taliban in Afghanistan) are able either to defeat a conventional military army, as the Vietcong insurgents succeeded in South Vietnam, with North Vietnam’s active support, or stand their ground on their own and wait out the larger state adversary, as the Taliban appear to be achieving in Afghanistan. This is also the case with countries with powerful militaries that are proficient in counterguerrilla operations, such as Israel, which had failed to overwhelmingly defeat Hizballah’s guerrilla forces in the Summer 2006 War. In fact, with Hizballah continuously replenishing and upgrading the lethality and range of its stockpile of rockets which are supplied by Iran, Israeli military planners are concerned about the damages to the infrastructure and population in the northern part of the country that Hizballah might inflict in the next round of warfare, which is one of the reasons for Israeli bombings of shipments of such military equipment to Hizballah en route from Syria. A third challenge is that not only are some asymmetric adversaries not deterred by a conventional military’s overwhelming superiority and the disproportionately large loss of lives of its combatants, but are strongly motivated to continue their warfare on behalf of their divine God and religious ideology, such as jihadi groups, with newly radicalized recruits ready to take the place of their fallen comrades in conflict zones such as Syria and elsewhere.

Hezbollah fighters fly a drone at Juroud Arsal, the Syria-Lebanon border, July 29, 2017. REUTERS/ Ali Hashisho

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A fourth challenge is the ubiquity, deceptiveness, stealth, unpredictability and surprise of the asymmetric warfare battleground. In fact, unlike conventional military adversaries where orders of battle and their movements are straightforward and predictable, the asymmetric adversary will employ small cells and covert means to conduct its warfare against its more powerful state adversary’s territory

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and keep it off balance, such as 9/11’s aircraft attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, in which the terrorist tactics of simultaneously hijacking aircraft and suicide martyrdom by their operatives were employed by a terrorist organization headquartered in Afghanistan, in an attack that was considered at the time a major “failure of imagination” to anticipate. A final challenge is the emergence of cyberwarfare as an important asymmetric tactic, with cyber-warfare proficient terrorist operatives, as well as sub-state operatives acting on behalf of foreign governments, such as, at least allegedly, Russia, capable of launching cyber-attacks against their more powerful country adversaries in cyber-space.

Conclusion: Overcoming the Challenge of Asymmetric Warfare With the ever-evolving and multi-dimensional nature of asymmetric warfare, governments’ counter-asymmetric warfare planners need to devise appropriate response measures at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels that are based on

new ways of thinking. At the strategic level, it is essential to possess a “360 degree” understanding of the asymmetric adversary’s strategic environment, and to be as preemptive as possible in order to prevent strategic surprises, such as a repetition of another 9/11 or April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing attack. At the operational level, government agencies need to be agile and adapt themselves to the interplay of offense and defense, with security agencies, such as those that handle intelligence and law enforcement, possessing the capability to seamlessly respond domestically and internationally, in parallel with their militaries. A government’s response must still employ superior military force, but such force needs to be agile, and complemented by intelligence and law enforcement (i.e., law enforcement working with the military to apprehend top terrorist leaders in their overseas safe havens). This is one of the reasons that the United States has substantially upgraded and expanded its special forces’ unique expeditionary capabilities, as well its military’s defensive and offensive cyber warfare capabilities. Above all, whatever tactical “battlefield” victories might be



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achieved by a superior military force against its asymmetric adversary,they must translate into strategically significant outcomes. The asymmetric threat also requires greater use of intelligence, including high-tech algorithmic data mining information capabilities, leading to quickly derived decision information superiority over the lesser capable asymmetric adversary. Effective governmental responses also require close cooperation and flexibility in dealing with other government allies. This includes identifying new allies, even “small” countries that possess various capabilities that enable them to “punch above their weight”, which is essential in developing the ability that is essential in countering asymmetric threats.

About the Author Dr. Joshua Sinai is a senior analyst at Kiernan Group Holdings (KGH) (, a homeland security and counterterrorism research and consulting firm, based in Alexandria, VA. He can be reached at Sinai@

Sri Lanka:

Counterinsurgency Victory Hard “New War” Lessons Dr. Thomas A. Marks

Sri Lankan soldiers prepare army tanks for a rehearsal ahead of the War Victory parade in Colombo May 15, 2012. Sri Lankan military forces will celebrate the third year of defeating the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) with a large parade on May 19, 2012. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

The hero of Sri Lanka denounced in Colombia for war crimes,” screamed the 1 October 2017 headline in the leading Bogotá daily, El Tiempo. There followed the complicated tale of activist-engineered lawsuits in Colombia and Brazil that sought to charge the Sri Lankan regional ambassador, General Jagath Jayasuriya, with war crimes under the principle of universal jurisdiction. The regional commander during the final round against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and ultimately Sri Lankan army commander and chief of defence forces, Jayasuriya was charged in the suits with responsibility for a list of alleged atrocities. Ultimately, the accusation was that he oversaw major combat which resulted in an unconscionable (and illegal as per international humanitarian law or IHL) civilian death toll.


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If May 2009 saw the conclusion of the kinetic phase – the formal initiation of the war by LTTE had been a 7 April 1978 ambush in Jaffna in which four policemen died – what has followed has been a phase dominated by nonkinetic weapons such as lawsuits and actions by sympathetic global networks. The result is a superb example of “new war” as it is waged by insurgents in the 21st Century.

From Sri Lanka’s perspective, the matter ended as Jayasuriya returned home at the conclusion of his tour. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena observed, “I state very clearly that I will not allow anyone in the world to touch Jagath Jayasuriya or any other military chief or any war hero in this country.” Emphatic words but undoubtedly not the end of it. For the struggle continues. If May 2009 saw the conclusion of the kinetic phase – the formal initiation of the war by LTTE had been a 7 April 1978 ambush in Jaffna in which four policemen died – what has followed has been a phase dominated by nonkinetic weapons such as lawsuits and actions by sympathetic global networks. The result is a superb example of “new war” as it is waged by insurgents in the 21st Century.

Setting the Stage The war’s intense conclusion has been held up as everything from atrocity to stunning victory. In particular, though, given the global security context, it is identified by many as a decisive defeat of “terrorism.” This, most decidedly, it was not. Rather, a longrunning Tamil insurgency, which used terrorism as one method among many, maneuvered itself into a position where by 2002 it had achieved a tenuous victory. A ceasefire left LTTE de facto with

its long sought objective, an independent Tamil homeland, or Tamil Eelam. When conflict resumed in 2006, Eelam thus fought as a fledging breakaway state, dominant in the Northern and Eastern provinces (see map), a fatal strategic posture when its larger, more resource-endowed rival engaged in warfighting reform and fielded superior leadership, strategy, and combat power. The result was utter disaster and the

death of all senior LTTE figures, with a final wartime death toll of no less than 120,000. Ironically, LTTE had initiated its own demise. In what was seen at the time as but a tactical error yet one that ultimately proved strategically fatal, the Tigers’ nearlegendary leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, ordered a boycott of the presidential election hastily held in November 2005 after a Supreme Court decision ruled that the term of the then-president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, had run its course. The hardline Prime Minister in Ms. Kumaratunga’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) government, Mahinda Rajapaksa, eked out a narrow victory against the opposition United National Party’s Ranil Wickremasinghe on some 73 percent turnout. Wickremasinghe would by all accounts have been the better option for LTTE’s plans, because he was committed to maintaining the status quo. As events transpired, LTTE’s continued ceasefire violations dwarfed in number those of the government and steadily steeled the new Rajapaksa administration for what was to come. A number of prominent LTTE suicide attacks, which included an effort to kill the army head, LTG Sarath Fonseka and a successful targeting of the army number three, pushed the situation beyond redemption. By August 2006, Sri Lanka was again at war.

Transformation of Response Precisely what occurred operationally is easier to describe than to explain, for even at more than eight years’ remove, considerable disagreement continues as to just who initiated key aspects of military adaptation and was responsible for a series of astute combat decisions. The basis for renewed combat obviously lay in national mobilization, accomplished in the first instance as a consequence of a veritable declaration of Buddhist holy war by the powerful Sangha; in the second instance, by the Rajapaksa government, with Mahinda as president and his army veteran brother, Gotabhaya, as Defence Secretary, marshalling the financial support and determi nation

necessary to rearm and re-equip an expanded military.

lery to rocket launchers to extensive minefields and suicide attacks.

In the field, the overall commander, LTG Fonseka, insisted upon a free hand that allowed him to field the finest galaxy of combat leadership that had surfaced until that time. Innovative deployment of entire battalions as squad and even fire-team (i.e., “brick”) sized units schooled in light infantry (i.e., commando) tactics and able to call in supporting fires served to dramatically multiply the defensive demands for an LTTE now reduced to struggling to defend its pseudo nation-state. Its governance, though innovative in some respects, had remained grounded in coercion, which made problematic the willingness of the populace to mobilize in defense of Eelam. Indeed, one of the most contradictory aspects of the entire conflict was that throughout, best evidence demonstrated, a substantial proportion of Tamils, as well as nearly the entire Indian Tamil and Tamil-speaking Muslim populations, remained within government-controlled areas.

This final point highlights that the end-game, coming as they did at the end of three decades of ever more brutal conflict that progressively brutalized all facets of Sri Lankan life, most resembled the island battles of World War II’s Pacific Theater with the very real caveat that, like Okinawa, Sri Lanka was heavily populated. It was this reality that increasingly galvanized human rights advocacy groups, which became shriller as the climax rose to a crescendo.

First steps to seal off the battle-space and strangle LTTE’s supply lines came with a successful high seas campaign that hunted down and destroyed LTTE’s ocean-going merchant navy. Simultaneously, the development of coastal high speed craft and tactics succeeded in neutralizing LTTE’s hitherto formidable swarm of maritime suicide craft. The air force, though faced even in the final phase of the struggle with LTTE suicide efforts to attack Colombo, used overhead imagery and ground patrol coordination of targeting to eliminate the threat air arm. On the ground, the progression followed was that laid out originally in plans that had been in existence at least since 1985-86. Seizure of the Eastern Province by July 2007, with help of the defecting Eastern Tamil elements, allowed converging columns to draw an ever tighter noose around LTTE forces trapped in the northeast coastal area – even as the first provincial elections were held to foster legitimacy for political reincorporation. Mannar District, in the west, fell by August 2008, with the forces then able to move east. Other units cleared Jaffna Peninsula and pushed south. The LTTE administrative center of Kilinochchi was abandoned and fell to the government in early January 2009. By early 2009, the remaining LTTE forces, with perhaps 30,000 civilian hostages as human shields, were trapped in the northeastern coastal area of the Nanthi Kadal Lagoon, above Mullaitivu (see map). There, five divisions, a force conventionally put at some 50,000 with General Jayasuriya (as the regional commander) at least nominally in command, crushed them by mid-May 2009. In all aspects save the innovative tactics used by the Sri Lankan infantry, the conflict had been major combat, featuring everything from heavy artil-


When Colombo refused to heed calls from advocacy groups and certain Western governments, among them the United States and Britain, to allow some form of humanitarian intervention, advocacy gave way to outright opposition and siding with the defeated insurgents. This posture has continued in many respects to the present, though the recent change of power has altered in some ways the shrill tone of state critique. It is in this sense that the Sri Lankan case transcends the mere “facts on the ground.” The tangible conflict, horrific as it was, nevertheless was fought by a democracy that maintained throughout the rule of law (albeit with very sharp elbows). That major combat places the rule of law under severe strain is a reality that should be readily recognized, particularly given the trajectory of American warfighting since Sherman’s “March to the Sea” during the Civil War. There appear to be no credible sources that claim Sherman gratuitously inflicted harm upon the innocent; but there are few sources that do not recognize his intense determination to embrace the very horror of war for the purpose of bringing it to a conclusion, a stance that delivered victory to democratic order, however flawed it might be. This was the position in which Sri Lanka found itself. The war simply had to end if the country was to survive.

Lessons in an Era of “New War” If we endeavor to use the breathing space since the end if the ground war to draw lessons from this most vexing case of a counter-state that challenged a state that erred and in doing so exposed its ample flaws, some thoughts might be offered. On the one hand, LTTE was an insurgency which struggled to transcend its origins as a traditional rebellion in order to leverage the new possibilities inherent to a post-Cold War world. This it did, both physically and virtually, integrally linking its struggle to regional and global Tamil communities – the Tamils of southern India and the Sri Lankan Tamil global diaspora, respectively – in such manner that it could retain the strategic advantage long enough

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to achieve its goal of Eelam. In the process, it became renowned for its melding of commitment to destruction with its imagery of a new world emerging. With its suicide bombers and the cyanide capsules worn by its combatants, many of both being women, it set the Sri Lankan state back on its heels time and again even as the dictatorial Eelam world it created was hailed for giving a people dignity and freedom, driving off not only the communal Sinhalese oppressors but in the process shattering the Tamil bonds of caste and gender inequity. On the other hand, the conflict waged by the state, which indeed began as ineffective counterinsurgency and gradually grew to equally ineffective civil warfighting, put on display something much more. At each stage in the conflict, Sri Lanka struggled to comprehend just what it was involved in and came up short. Initially, it treated proto-insurgency as emerging terrorism, emphasizing kinetic response when it should have been addressing roots of conflict. Later, having mastered counterinsurgency’s martial facets, it neglected the necessity of holistic response, resulting in Indian intervention. In the period that followed the 1987-90 intervention by an Indian peacekeeping force, the emergence of hybrid war was mistaken for conventional conflict, resulting in devastating defeats and the emergence of LTTE’s temporary victory. Finally, in the renewed 2006-2009 fighting, a new civil-military team engaged in the functional equivalent of national mobilization and delivered a virtuoso display of integrating strategic, operational, and tactical levels of combat to come off the canvas and deliver a knockout punch. LTTE’s end, when it came, had all the characteristics of World War II’s denouement in Berlin or the ashes of Japan’s incinerated cities. Ecstatic at its triumph, Colombo simply could not comprehend that it had again missed the larger picture, the fundamental shift to an age of “new war” which saw an orientation and a structure of law devoted to enforcing a sanitized version of combat which was designed, both practically and ideologically, to make impossible the “total war” of past eras. Sri Lankan warfighting adaptation had been almost completely in the application of kinetic power, without reforms in human rights and legal components necessary to engage in combat within a global fishbowl. It was quite ignorant of (certainly unprepared for) the corresponding growth of new global norms, notably the responsibility to protect (R2P) and the right to intervene, together with the accompanying demands of what has been termed “the liberal peace.” Indeed, it would be difficult to understate the mounting

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intensity with which both state and non-state actors sought to slow if not end Colombo’s final push to LTTE’s elimination, and hence the increasing sense of betrayal that ultimately erupted in Colombo. In the events outlined above, a pathway led from the traditional world of war to what has been called “new war” or “postmodern war” or “post-Heroic war or even (though from a different theoretical angle) “4th Generation Warfare” (4GW). These terms remain much debated but endeavor to assess the reality that globalization has wrought: a networked world in which modern communications and processes have empowered framing and narrative to such extent that traditional, kineticdominated warfare has been supplanted by mixed approaches that specifically target societal processes and beliefs in order to impact will. Regardless of terminology, the heart of the strategic matter was that in the global arena, use of force was required to be legitimate, discriminating, and secondary to more compelling concerns (e.g., human security). If such in one sense seems to describe the operational dictates of counterinsurgency, the fundamental distinction lay in the fact that the latter balanced kinetic and nonkinetic facets as a matter necessary to successful mobilization to the extent necessary for victory, while the former saw the use of kinetics as itself a symptom of a larger failure. To use force to resolve the issue at hand – in this case a drive for separatism – was to forfeit legitimacy. To add to this the bloodshed and destruction inherent to total war was to cross into criminality, which is precisely what very vocal and active voices asserted in demanding legal measures be taken against the victors following the May 2009 elimination of Eelam. Indeed, if any one characteristic may be assessed as a linchpin for postmodern war – and thus to the role of illicit power structures therein – it is in the supremacy of framing and narrative over the normal imperatives of war. Colombo’s frame of “victory” found itself all but overwhelmed by a shrill counter-frame of “repression,” and Colombo’s narrative trumpeting a triumph over terrorism all but swamped by a rival narrative of communal repression and barbarism. Warfare as traditionally waged found itself struggling to deal with lawfare, the use of the law as a weapon to seek to prosecute its officers and commanders after they had been identified and located by NGOs and commercial media outlets. As with all warfare,


the objective was to impose the will of one side – in this case LTTE, aided by its support structure – upon the other, the nation-state of Sri Lanka. Given the astonishing level of brutality and suffering that Sri Lanka had endured for three decades, its wounded pushback was quite comprehensible. Matters were not eased by what can only be described as the profound hubris, if not chauvinism, of both state and non-state critics. Again, we return to the value of the Sri Lankan case for an examination of conflict in the second decade of the 21st Century. In a sense, a globalized world has empowered netwar at the geostrategic-legal level of international relations to such an extent that it all but compels the waging of conflict in the intangible rather than tangible dimension. Netwar references networks of attachment and engagement (i.e., social networks), of which the internet may be a virtual form. Communications, though, are not the issue: rather linkages which allow pressure to be brought to bear asymmetrically upon the seemingly stronger adversary. As used against Sri Lanka, netwar moved steadily from a position as but one LTTE campaign to become a central strategic imperative driven by a final position of military defeat. “Facts on the ground” counted for far less than “facts in the mind,” irrespective of whether “facts” were true or later proved to be false. Seeing is no longer believing; believing has become seeing, with disabling pressure from a networked world directed against the party judged to be “in the wrong,” that is, the party judged to have forfeited legitimacy. If one imagines the Chiapas conflict, which inspired the emergence of the netwar concept, ending not in retreat by the Mexican state but in elimination of the Zapatista challenge according to the normal procedures witnessed throughout Mexican (or perhaps most states) history, one would be at a position not unlike that occupied now by Sri Lanka. Its end-state of an indivisible Lanka, the land of the Buddha, has been secured through achieving the objective of threat destruction, but its ways (as executed by means that included not only material but psychological national mobilization) have been found wanting.

merits or demerits of Sri Lanka’s democratic, market polity. In such a battle, the increasingly problematic and despicable nature of LTTE’s decision-making and actions were pushed aside, as though the very intensity of transgression revealed a great deal as to Colombo’s structural and moral inadequacy and rather less concerning LTTE perverse agency. It is in examining this process that lessons both emerge and startle. From the critique of Sri Lanka, it is impossible to tell that a democracy, however challenged, has triumphed over one of the most odious and bloody insurgent groups to emerge in the entire post-World War II era. That in itself is a tragedy of our “new war” era.

About the Author Dr. Thomas A. Marks is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to the Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security Int’l.

References 1.





Communal chauvinism, went the critique, provided the fuel that allowed an overhauled war machine to “win,” and democracy itself, together with justice, was collateral damage. In such context, the reality of a counter-state that had done as much as any in the post-World War II era to earn the label “evil” was rendered irrelevant. This, too, may be seen as emblematic of the “new war” age. Ultimately, the conflict had become one of dueling narratives as to the fundamental

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Germán Jiminez Leal, “El héroe de Sri Lanka denunciado en Colombia por crímenes de guerra,” El Tiempo, 1 October 2017; available at: gobierno/embajador-de-sri-lanka-en-colombia-fue-denunciado-por-crimenes-de-guerra-136416 (accessed 20 October 2017). Useful summary is “Sri Lanka’s Jagath Jayasuriya Wanted for War Crimes,” BBC, 29 August 2017; available at: news/world-asia-41089396 (accessed 20 October 2017). See e.g. War Crimes in Sri Lanka, Asia Report No. 191 (Brussels: International Crisis Group, 17 May 2010) and Frances Harrison, Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War (London: Portobello Books, 2012). A growing body of discussion and scholarship is available on the topic, to include a blog (jointly sponsored by the Lawfare Institute and Brookings) that adopts the more expansive definition; i.e. the use of law as a weapon of war (irrespective of user); see: http://www. Excellent treatment is Orde F. Kittrie, Lawfare: Law as a Weapon of War (NY: Oxford UP, 2016). For my own contribution, which includes brief discussion of the Sri Lankan case, see “Lawfare’s Role in Irregular Conflict,” inFocus 4, no. 2 (Summer 2010), 12-14. For netwar conceptual development, see John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, The Advent of Netwar (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1996); utilized further in David Ronfeldt, John Arquilla, Graham E. Fuller, and Melissa Fuller, The Zapatista Social Netwar in Chiapas (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1998), with a condensed version available in Ronfeldt and Arquilla, “Emergence and Influence of the Zapatista Social Netwar,” Ch.6 in Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2001), 171-99. Bringing the circle round, in the same work, Arquilla and Ronfeldt offer as Ch.1, “The Advent of Netwar (Revisited),” 1-25.

Hell on Wheels:

Investigators are near the Home Depot truck which struck down multiple people on a bike path, killing several and injuring numerous others at the crime scene in lower Manhattan in New York, NY, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Vehicular Ramming Attacks As The Tactic Of Choice By Steven Crimando, CHS-V


ightmare on West Street

On Halloween, Tuesday October 31, a 29-year-old Uzbek national committed the first deadly terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11. Traveling at a high rate of speed in a rented Home Depot flatbed pickup truck, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov executed a well-developed attack plan and pulled off Manhattan’s West Side Highway (West Street) onto the scenic bike path that runs between the roadway and Hudson River waterfront. Plowing through the groups of pedestrians and cyclists for 17 blocks, Saipov left two dozen people covered in tire tracks and blood, ultimately killing 8 and seriously injuring 12 more. All of this unfolded in the late afternoon shadow of the Freedom Tower, with Ground Zero and the 9/11 memorial only blocks away.


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Such attacks have dramatically increased in their frequency over the past three years. Salafi-Jihadi terrorists have increasingly employed vehicle ramming as a low-cost, low-tech weapon of mass destruction. At holiday celebrations in France and Germany, in crowded tourist areas in Spain and the UK, and on an ordinary day at Ohio State University...

The attack, which Saipov later disclosed to police from his hospital bed, had been several weeks in the making. It was cut short when he collided with an occupied school bus, injuring several on board. Exiting the vehicle while shouting “Allahu akbar,” he began waving two handguns, (later found to be a pellet gun and a paintball gun). Saipov was shot and wounded by the police, arrested and transported to a city hospital. Notes later found in the truck, along with statements made to the police, indicated that he planned to continue mowing down pedestrians along a much longer route that would have taken him onto the Brooklyn Bridge. New York City Police Department (NYPD) Deputy Police Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrrorism, John Miller said in a press briefing that the attack was carried out in the name of ISIS and that the Saipov “followed almost to a T, the instructions that ISIS has put out on its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.” Days after the attack, ISIS pronounced Saipov a “soldier of the caliphate,” its weekly newspaper.

The Tactic of Choice Since motor vehicles are ubiquitous and people are generally comfortable around them it can be difficult to fully appreciate the incredibly destructive nature of vehicular attacks and their capacity for creating mass casualty events. Vehicular Terrorist Attacks (VTAs), also referred to as vehicleramming attacks, are those instances of mass violence in which a perpetrator deliberately rams a motor vehicle into a building or crowd of people. Vehicles have also been used by attackers to breach

security around buildings with locked gates when initiating bombing and/or shooting incidents. This tactic is certainly not new and examples of vehicular attacks date back at least to the early 1970’s. Such attacks have dramatically increased in their frequency over the past three years. Salafi-Jihadi terrorists have increasingly employed vehicle ramming as a low-cost, low-tech weapon of mass destruction. At holiday celebrations in France and Germany, in crowded tourist areas in Spain and the UK, and on an ordinary day at Ohio State University, violent extremists have used cars and trucks to plow into unsuspecting crowds, in several instances following on with knives or firearms to inflict even more carnage. Crowds at large public gatherings and popular outdoor venues are soft, target rich environments. From 2014 through October 31 of this year there were 23 terrorist vehicle ramming attacks, resulting in 204 deaths and 861 injuries. They also include the include the numbers of killed or injured in the vehicle assault in Charlottesville, Virginia in August targeting counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally; an incident U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said met the definition of domestic terrorism. In May, a man driving in New York’s Times Square plowed into a crowd during lunchtime, killing one person and injuring 22. While authorities said the incident was not terrorism, the Islamic State, inspired by the crash, used it to warn that more attacks on the nation’s largest city and popular tourist destinations would follow.

Although vehicular ramming attacks represent only a small fraction of the overall number of causalities from terrorist attacks worldwide, the ease of executive combined with the difficulty in detecting or deterring such attacks has made this attack method a particularly challenging problems for the law enforcement and intelligence communities. In May, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued an unclassified report, “Vehicle Ramming Attacks: Threat Landscape, Indicators, and Countermeasures” providing guidance on detecting and deterring vehicular assaults. The report warned that, “No community, large or small, rural or urban, is immune to attacks of this kind by organized or ‘lone wolf’ terrorists,” and that locations particularly vulnerable are those with “large numbers of people congregate, including parades and other celebratory gatherings, sporting events, entertainment venues, or shopping centers.”

Strategic Aspects of Vehicular Terrorist Attacks The strategic objectives of terrorism include creating the maximum degree of social, economic and psychological disruption. Attacks at large public gatherings using weapons as common and accessible as cars and trucks can have a very chilling effect on the population. Such attacks disrupt public celebrations that foster community cohesion and national unity. They can deter shoppers, sports fans and concert-goers, as well as others who become fearful of public settings producing serious societal and economic consequences.

From the terrorist’s perspective, creating a fear of people simply coming together in large public gatherings plays well into an overarching strategy to change the national character of their enemies, create a climate of fear and distrust, and force the population and its leaders to become increasing divided in their opinions regarding the level of risk and appropriate options for response. The true weapon of terror, of course, is fear, but more specifically ambient fear that is always operating in the background. When every car or truck on the street can potentially be used as a weapon, and every public gathering viewed as a target, the pervasive and constant fear that ensues aligns well with the terrorist’s agenda.

The Terrorist’s Playbook


Target Acquisition: The publications suggest the identification of crowded areas, such as festivals, parades and outdoor markets, and explains that attacks against civilian targets are more devastating and

Immediately following the shooting incident in Orlando in June 2016, considered the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11, Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) published a special edition of their online magazine, Inspire, as an operational guide urging true believers to carry out more attacks against the general population in America, specifically targeting large public gatherings. Shortly after, the ISIS urged followers to wage vehicle attacks on the West in three issues of Rumiyah magazine released in October, November, and December 2016, providing detailed tactical guidance for vehicle ramming and knife attacks in a series of installments titled “Just Terror Tactics.” Subsequent AQAP publications provided further guidance about which types of vehicles would be most effective. One issue featured a glossy, full-page photograph of a Ford F-350 pickup under a banner headline calling the truck “the ultimate mowing machine.”

strategically useful

Motor vehicles are easy enough to own, rent, borrow or steal. Accessing a vehicle does not raise the same red flags as attempting to acquire firearms or bomb-building materials. The 2012 FBI report, “Terrorist Use of Vehicle Ramming Tactics,” suggests that the skill level necessary to execute a successful vehicle attack is extremely low compared to an operation using firearms and/or explosives. Vehicles can be moved around easily without suspicion. No specialized training or covert financing is needed to plan and conduct an effective

victims have limited

than government or military targets. Locations where there are a maximum number of pedestrians and with the fewest vehicles are thought to be ideal. Like mass shooting attacks, locations that are both populated and confined, where opportunity to flee or would cause a stampede injuring others while trying to flee, are also desirable.

Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

vehicle attack which may yield a similar casualty count as a more complex and costly bombing or shooting attack. There is an extremely low threshold for conducting a devastating vehicular attack, and terrorists now have a well-developed template for planning and executing such assaults referred to as the “playbook.” The tactical plan promoted by both ISIS and al Qaeda is both simple and deadly. It requires no permissions, funding or communication with the organizations’ core leadership. True believers are encouraged to formulate and execute these plans independently employing the following action steps: 1. Target Acquisition: The publications suggest the identification of crowded areas, such as festivals, parades and outdoor markets, and explains that attacks against civilian targets are more devastating and strategically useful than government or military targets. Locations where there are a maximum number of pedestrians and with the fewest vehicles are thought to be ideal. Like mass shooting attacks, locations that are both populated and confined, where victims have limited opportunity to flee or would cause a stampede injuring others while trying to flee, are also desirable. 2. Timing: The magazines also suggested that attacks be timed in conjunction with important anniversaries and symbolic events in order maximize their psychosocial impact. Those events or gatherings associated with holidays with religious or patriotic symbolism are especially valuable. 3. Vehicle Acquisition: The publications suggested that the attacker buy, rent, borrow, or steal a truck rather than a car. At least one article provided specific recommendations for certain models of large, heavy trucks that would still be easy to maneuver in crowded or tight spaces. 4. Secondary Weapons: Rumiyah and Inspire both encouraged the use of secondary weapons, specially a knife or firearm to continue the attack when the vehicle is stopped. Great detail has been provided in selecting the best type of knife for an attack, as well as how to most effectively strike with an edged weapon and which areas of the victims’ bodies were the most lethal targets. The use of secondary weapons not only

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increased the scope of the attack, but would likely draw fire from responding police or military personnel, ensuring martyrdom. 5. Martyrdom: An Inspire article dating back to 2010 directed that vehicle ramming attacks should be martyrdom operations and directed attackers to continue fighting to their death. Surrender or capture were unacceptable outcomes and missions ending without martyrdom were likely to be considered failures. 6. Allegiance: Both ISIS and al Qaeda have instructed their followers to make sure that their allegiance to the groups was clearly known through pronouncements and written notes left behind and/ or thrown from the vehicle during the attack. An issue of Rumiyah specifically instructed that the phrase “The Islamic State will remain!” be used to reinforce the attacker’s allegiance and to promote the image of an enduring Caliphate.

Protecting the Public from Vehicular Terrorist Attacks The increasing use of vehicles as a weapon in terrorist attacks presents a daunting challenge for policy makers and others tasked with protecting the public. Such attacks are nearly impossible to prevent, since anyone with access to a truck or car can turn it on a crowd of unsuspecting civilians.

Defense against Vehicular Attacks Like active shooters, terrorists using vehicles as weapons choose soft targets, such as those filled with carefree tourists. Vehicle attacks can be executed spontaneously, and planned attacks may not provide many pre-incident indicators useful to law enforcement or intelligence analysts. Early detection of terrorists on the pathway to a vehicle attack may be impossible in open societies. A VTA is very difficult, and possibly the most difficult type of terrorist attack for law enforcement to prevent and protect the public from. A combination of both active and passive defense measures may be necessary to mitigate this risk, but not necessarily prevent attempts at vehicular attacks. Passive measures include installing barriers and buffers that would prevent a crowd strike,

whether purposeful or accidental. These include both passive and operable barriers: •

Like active shooters, terrorists using vehicles as weapons choose soft targets, such as those filled with carefree tourists. Vehicle attacks can be executed spontaneously, and planned attacks may not provide many pre-incident indicators useful to law enforcement or intelligence analysts. Early detection of terrorists on the pathway to a vehicle attack may be impossible in open societies. A VTA is very difficult, and possibly the most difficult type of terrorist attack for law enforcement to prevent and protect the public from.

Fencing: Construction fencing may slow but not necessarily stop a hostile vehicle from reaching pedestrians, but can provide buffer keeping pedestrians further from likely strike zones. Vehicles: Large construction or public works vehicles, such as dump trucks loaded with sand or stone, can be used for road closures in the areas around large events or along parade routes. The use of vehicles creates a flexible options that can be quickly deployed or redeployed as needed. Stationary Barriers: There are several types of stationary barriers and the selection of the most effective type must be based on several factors requiring a thorough evaluation of the perceived risk. Walls, permanent bollards, and other architectural features can be designed to work with the environment to reduce the possibility of vehicle/ pedestrian contact. Moveable Barriers: Jersey Barriers are an example of moveable barriers. Made of concrete the barriers standing 2.6 to 3.5 feet tall are designed to prevent vehicles from crossing into oncoming traffic to prevent or reduce the damage done in highway crashes. They are easy to construct, position/ reposition, and been effectively used for anti-terrorism purposes. Large moveable bollards ranging in form from concrete blocks to large, heavy decorative planters also can be effective countermeasures. Operable Barriers: Wedge and beam barricades, raised and lowered by electrical or hydraulic power are more complicate, expensive and require more maintenance than stationary barriers. They are used more often for facility protection than to protect special events or temporary crowds.

Active measures are most effective when used in concert with passive measures. Active measure involve technical surveillance of high risk areas by a combination of commercial, public and law CCTV and security video from commercial, public and law enforcement sources, along with direct action. Surveillance: Monitoring the environment before, during and after an incident

through a variety of means helps provide the situational awareness necessary detect any useful indicators of a ATA. This includes: •

Pre-incident Surveillance: Useful for hostile surveillance detection, reconnaissance of potential target areas and potential rehearsals or dry runs of threat activity. Incident Surveillance: Important to real-time situational awareness for law enforcement and first responder deployment and response to a dynamic event. Post-incident: Critical to the identification of the suspect, crime scene reconstruction, and the defensibility of law enforcement officer response, as well as providing meaningful evidence in the instance of a criminal prosecution if the perpetrator survives.

Direct Action Law enforcement and security forces should plan and train to stop a VTA in progress, even though that may prove difficult. Following the attack in Nice, France which killed 86 pedestrians leaving a Bastille Day fireworks display, NYPD amended their policy and procedures allowing officers to fire into a moving vehicle in the instance of a ramming attack. Responding officers must keep in mind that they are facing a determined adversary willing to die (likely seeking to die) in a deadly force encounter. To date, most VTAs have involved only one occupant, the driver, in the vehicle. Officers engaging the vehicle and/or its operator must consider the possibility of additional hostile passengers, explosives or other hazardous materials, such as radiological or chemical agents onboard. Officers must also recognize when firing into a moving vehicle that even if the operator is neutralized, the vehicle may continue for some distance into a crowd with before finally coming to rest. Even with the vehicle stopped and the driver apparently killed, approaching officers should anticipate the possibility of a secondary attack using an IED triggered remotely by others in an operational cell.

ment officials to inform the public about the critical action steps recommended to improve the odds of survival in a vehicle ramming attack.

To date, most VTAs have involved only one occupant, the driver, in the vehicle. Officers engaging the vehicle and/ or its operator must consider the possibility of additional hostile passengers, explosives or other hazardous materials, such as radiological or chemical agents onboard. Officers must also recognize when firing into a moving vehicle that even if the operator is neutralized, the vehicle may continue for some distance into a crowd with before finally coming to rest.

Personal Safety and Survival Strategies Unlike the active shooter risk, there has not been significant information campaign by homeland security and law enforce-


Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

While many people have some familiarity with the basic “Run, Hide, Fight” and variants of that model of active shooter response, very few have any idea of what they would do if caught up in a terrorist vehicle attack while outdoors in a crowded environment. It has become increasingly important that the public under the growing risk of vehicular terrorist attacks, as well as strategies and tactics to recognize avoid and survive what has become the terrorists current attack method of choice. Efforts to inform civilians about how best to improve their personal safety at large outdoor public gatherings or crowded areas should include action steps recommended for before, during and after a VTA. The perpetrators of mass violence are not individuals who just “snapped,” in fact in many instances they have not been individuals at all, but rather teams or cells who have engaged in significant pre-operational planning and preparation. Anyone responsible for bringing their family or a group to a large public gathering should also engage in planning, reconnaissance and onsite situational awareness. Applying a Red Team* mindset to large gatherings can give you a significant advantage in the event of a vehicular attack. While not at the same depth as the type of advance work done for executive or public figure protection, thinking the situation through from the bad guys’ perspective can help event-goers stay off of the “X”] (i.e., point of impact) or a least move quickly toward safety in the event of a vehicle attack. Of course, the safest way to stay off the “X” is simply to avoid the types of places or events that would be attractive to attackers. That is not always possible or desirable, and in a sense, the terrorists win if we change our way of life in response to the threat of violence.

Pre-Event Planning The location of most large public gatherings is typically known well in advance of the actual event date, as are the details of permanent, popular tourist locations. Spontaneous gatherings are less likely to Vol. 23, No.3

be targeted since the attackers have been deprived of any lead time for planning or preparation. The hostile actor knowing this often takes advantage of the time before planned gatherings to conduct their own reconnaissance and operational planning. Their focus is on identifying: • • • • • •

Peak times when the greatest numbers of people will be gathered. Likely security or law enforcement posts or checkpoints. Sections of roadway where the driver can build up speed before veering into a crowd. The locations of barriers and bollards. Areas that afford victims few routes of escape. Choke points that will allow passage of their vehicle but cause panicked flight and potentially dangerous escape mobs or stampedes.

Improving personal safety and survivability means applying a similar mindset and taking the time to do some research. Situational awareness is essential and involves efforts to identify both risks and resources ahead of time. Risks, of course, are those things that will likely be problems or that may sources of danger. Resources are the people, places and things that might be helpful if the going gets tough. Remembering that people don’t do their best thinking during moments of terror, having a plan in mind ahead of time and engaging in mental rehearsal for crisis response can make a big difference if things go wrong. Before attending large public gatherings, individuals and families may consider: • • • •


Finding and reviewing event maps or routes, even if this is done via online maps or Google Earth. Visiting the location prior to the event if it is reasonably nearby, just to get the lay of the land. Identifying choke points that would restrict rapid movement out of the threat environment. Bringing with them only what they will really need for safety and comfort so there is less to carry or manage if it becomes necessary move quickly through a crowd. Carrying a pocket-sized Individual

Since it is possible that friends, families or colleagues may be separated during the initial crowd reaction, it is also important to pre-determine reunification spots. Try to envision the natural lines of drift, that is to say, the likely direction or pathways you think most people in the crowd might take to flee an attack, and establish your primary and secondary

First Aid Kit (IFAK) for self-care and care of others. Having a frank discussion with those in a group attending an event to develop contingency plans for communications and reunification.

When an emergency occurs in a large crowd it is foreseeable that nearby cell towers and local phone circuits may be overwhelmed with volume. Texting may be a reasonable Plan B since SMS operates on different channels than voice communications, and often is still available when voice is not. Understanding that separation from loved ones is the greatest source of anxiety during a crisis, having backup communications plan is essential. Since it is possible that friends, families or colleagues may be separated during the initial crowd reaction, it is also important to pre-determine reunification spots. Try to envision the natural lines of drift, that is to say, the likely direction or pathways you think most people in the crowd might take to flee an attack, and establish your primary and secondary reunification points slightly outside of those high-volume routes. If your reunification point is in the stream of fleeing pedestrians, it might be difficult to stand still to meet up with others if you are being pushed along, or difficult to spot each other in the chaos. There are many brands and models of small, powerful tactical flashlights that are so bright that they can still be seen well in broad daylight. These lights, especially those with a strobe feature, are excellent tools for signaling others of your location if you are unable to communicate by other means.

reunification points

During the Event

slightly outside of

While everyone may be excited to get a front row spot to view a passing parade or be near the action at a special event, in ramming attacks, those along the curb line are often the most vulnerable. Individuals should consider their position in large street gatherings or on crowded sidewalks in busy urban environments that may be susceptible to a vehicular attacks. Some basic countermeasures include:

those high-volume routes.

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Avoiding the center or densest parts of the crowd; trying to stay on the fringe to allow options for movement. Selecting a location (or locations if mo-

bile) based on safety, not convenience or simply having a great view. Taking a position near a street corner rather than the middle of the block. This will allow for more avenues of retreat if side streets are accessible. Not taking a position against walls, doors or other immovable objects one could be pinned against. Being hit and being crushed by a fast-moving vehicle will likely produce different physical consequences; allow some space when near any solid surfaces. Avoiding standing on, under or around temporary structures like stages or viewing platforms. If struck by a hostile vehicle, the collapse of those structures and the people falling from them represents another source of danger.

quickly, so do vehicular attacks. Survivors often report that the car or truck used in the attack seemed to appear out of nowhere, plow through the crowd, and speed onward in its path of destruction all in the blink of an eye. While the action steps recommended in during the event are intended to stop the killing, the steps recommended in the immediate aftermath of a vehicular attack are meant to stop the dying. Once the vehicle has stopped, those nearby should not try to be a hero and approach the vehicle or try to engage the attacker. Anyone near where the attack vehicle has come to rest should move away. It is quite possible that the perpetrator can exit the vehicle and continue the attack with firearms and/or edged weapons. There is always the possibility that there are multiple attackers in the vehicle, or explosives and other harmful materials. The immediate priority should be safety and survival. Using their best judgement in a high-stress situation, individuals should try to determine if it is safe enough initiate care for others who may have been injured or put distance between themselves and the impact zone.

Event organizers, police and security forces often erect heavy barriers or bollards to reduce the risk of pedestrian-vehicle contact. If such barriers are in place, individuals should take advantage and use them as protection. If they are heavy and solid, they may provide good cover and concealment from the vehicle attack, as well as shots fired by the attacker and/or the responding police. Attackers will be looking out for these barriers as well, simply to avoid them when seeking a path of least resistance and maximum impact. In addition to scouting out sources for cover and concealment, such as concrete walls or large trees, individuals should look for places of refuge, such as open stores or allies that they can duck into as the hostile vehicle or frantic crowd passes by. It is important to make sure that such places have alternative exits. It would be dangerous to be trapped in a dead-end ally if others also pack into the same confined space. In mass gathering scenarios, dead ends result in deaths from crowd crush or compressional asphyxiation. While enjoying the event, it is important to keep a high level of awareness and attention on the roads for any vehicle moving erratically or not keeping with the normal traffic pattern. If an erratically-moving vehicle veers towards the crowd, it is helpful to remember that in a crisis, one should not simply run from danger, but instead run purposefully towards safety. This is when pre-event reconnaissance and a preparedness mindset will really pay off.

Police block off the street after a shooting incident in New York City, U.S. October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The attacker has likely anticipated the movement of a terrified crowd. Running with the crowd can get people into even deeper trouble. Keeping in mind those people, places and things previously identified as sources of safety, and while stay calming, and focused, move quickly toward those points of safety.

Bystander intervention can make a critical difference, but before initiating care for others, it is important make sure that it is safe to do so. Those on scene should take a moment to do a quick but thorough self-examination for any injuries. There are many examples of people who have been unaware of injuries which were masked by the powerful opioid response that accompanies our innate physiological fight or flight response. The physical numbness and emotional shock produced by neurochemicals and neurohormones triggered by a deadly force scenario can make victims oblivious to pain, or possibly life-threatening injuries. There are some reasonable assumptions regarding the impact zone that should guide initial post-attack action steps. These include the assumptions that there will likely be: •

Immediate Post-incident Response

The perpetrators of all forms of mass violence employee the time-tested principles surprise, speed and violence of action. Just as active shooter incidents begin and end

Chaos, confusion and panic, characterized in some instances by irrational fight and flight by the crowd. Multiple, if not potentially overwhelming numbers of casualties. Injuries ranging in severity from mild to catastrophic. Some may be extremely graphic or gruesome adding to the traumatizing effects of the attack.

• Some injuries may involve the loss of limbs; many will result in severe bleeding. Individuals with severe blood loss can die within minutes without intervention. Bleeding control (B-CON) will be a high-priority. No matter how quickly professional emergency responders arrive, bystanders will always be first on the scene. Bystanders can initiate critical bleeding control and save lives by acting quickly and decisively. Given the steady increase over time of active shooter and vehicular attacks, civilians are no encourages to learn about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “Stop the Bleed” campaign. This nationwide program seeks to empower citizens to act quickly and save lives in bleeding emergencies regardless of the cause. While not a purposeful vehicular attack, the scenario depicted in the short video at the DHS website, “A Perfect Stranger” illustrates the basic concepts very well. The Stop the Bleed program promotes the use of three basic skills after calling 911 and if possible, moving a wounded person to safety: • • • •

Apply firm, steady direct pressure to the general wound site with both hands if possible, Expose the wound and apply firm, steady pressure with a bandage or cloth to the precise site of the bleeding injury, If the bleeding doesn’t stop, place a tourniquet 2-3 inches above the wound between the injury site and the torso. Tourniquets can be improvised, but given that shooting, bombing and vehicle attacks seem to be here to stay, it is an excellent idea for those going into crowd environments to have a small, simple B-CON kit with a proper tourniquet, as well as receiving some basic training in using bandages and tourniquets. Such gear is compact and relatively inexpensive and B-CON training is increasingly offered in communities around the country.

Rapid Psychological Trauma Support Compounding the medical trauma in a vehicular attack is the psychological trauma of facing a real-life threat and possibly witnessing others being injured or killed. The reaction of people exposed to overwhelming psychological stress can make a bad situation worse. For both clinical and tactical reasons, it will be important to begin managing the psychological trauma associated with a vehicular attack immediately, even while medical care is being rendered. Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an evidence- informed approach for assisting victims and witnesses in the immediate aftermath of disaster and act of


terrorism. It is intended to be used in the 0-48 of a violent or threatening event to help reduce the physical and emotional arousal (stress response) that can lead to more harmful (frantic, unfocused) behaviors and potential long-term mental health consequences. PFA is an “every person” skills set. Just as one does not have to be a doctor, nurse or EMT to use basic medical first aid, it is not necessary to be a mental health professional to use PFA. It is intended to be used by whoever is first on the scene to initiate basic psychological support and help stabilize the emotional response to the situation. Managing acute stress reactions in the midst of a crisis is another critical task for bystanders. While there is a significant national effort underway to promote Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) it is important for planners and leaders to be aware that Psychological First Aid and Mental Health First Aid are not synonymous. Mental Health First Aid is intended for individuals who have or who may be developing a diagnosable mental health disorder. In that model of support, participants learn about the major categories of mental illnesses, the signs and symptoms of those mental illnesses, ways to assist someone in a mental health crisis, as well as how to connect individuals in a mental health crisis with the appropriate resources. Mental Health First Aid is not intended to be used in the immediate wake of traumatic event; Psychological First Aid is and would be necessary and important in the immediate wake of a vehicular attack. It is also important for bystanders to remember that the post-attack environment is a crime scene where the preservation of evidence is critical. Nothing should be moved that does not need to be moved, and certainly nothing should be removed from the scene. Witnesses should wait until they have touched base with law enforcement personnel and other first responders before simply leaving the area. It is likely that they will want statements from those who were in the epicenter of the attack. Witnesses should also avoid speaking with the media if possible; something said to a reporter can affect the investigation or apprehension of others who may have been involved in the planning or execution of the attack.

Unfortunately, the same dynamics that make large public events fun and exciting also make them attractive targets for terrorists and others who may wish to do harm. Being aware of the risks, engaging in pre-event planning and preparedness, and knowing how best to respond during and immediately following a vehicular attack can make participating in large public gatherings safer It is important to stay sharp, have fun, and let’s not let the allow terrorists to drive a wedge of fear any further into daily life than necessary. Being aware of the risks, engaging in pre-event planning and preparedness, and knowing how to respond during and immediately following a vehicular terrorist attack can make participating in large public gatherings safer for all involved.

About the Author Steven Crimando is the Principal of Behavioral Science Applications, training and consulting firm focused on human factors in anti-terrorism, violence prevention and critical incident response. Mr. Crimando is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress (BCETS), and holds Level 5 Certification in Homeland Security (CHS-V). He serves as a consultant and trainer for many multinational corporations, government agencies, major city police departments and military programs. Mr. Crimando was deployed to the 9/11 and 1993 World Trade Center attacks, as well as New Jersey’s anthrax screening center, and other acts of international terrorism. He is a Deputy and Police Surgeon with the Atlantic County, New Jersey Sheriff ’s Office, an advisor to the Morris County, New Jersey Active Shooter Rescue Force. He has an extensive background as a law enforcement instructor, as well as in EMS and emergency management.

References 1. 2.

Public Events in the Era of Vehicular Attacks As the Islamic State continues to lose territory in Iraq and Syria, the group will likely continue to strike at Western targets. While large-scale attacks are preferable, the group will settle for smaller attacks from inspired individuals to sustain a campaign of terror on innocent civilians. There is not an epidemic of vehicular attacks, but there is clear and convincing evidence that this type of mass violence is actively being promoted within terrorist organizations as an attack method

Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

of choice. It is helpful to explore the tactical and strategic aspects of vehicular attacks when developing approaches to prevention and survival.



5. 6.

Vol. 23, No.3

These numbers are aggregated from public sources representing those injured or killed in the ramming portion of the attack. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2107). Vehicle Ramming Attacks: Threat Landscape, Indicators, and Countermeasures. Transportation Security Administration, Office of Security Policy and Industry. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2012). FBI Warning: Terrorist Use of Vehicle Ramming Tactics. FBI and Department of Homeland Security. NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau-Terrorism Threat Analysis Group. Vehicle Ramming Attack in New York City. November 1, 2017. (Open Source Assessment). Van Horne, P. and Riley, J. (2014). Left of Bang. Black Irish Entertainment LLC. New York, NY. Ibid.

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Personal Security Crash Cows

These vehicles were among those involved in more than 50 car crashes staged by a group of Connecticut residents to collect insurance money.

Connecticut Group Staged Car Accidents For Insurance Money


fter an autumn evening of drinking and using drugs in 2013, a group of friends got into an Audi A6 and drove to the remote Wilderness Road in Norwich, Connecticut. The car slid off the road, hitting a tree. Everyone in the car survived, but this seemingly typical crash was no accident. Despite their impairment, the driver and passengers had purposely planned the crash to collect the insurance

money. It was one of many crashes that a group of Connecticut residents were connected to over several years—contributing to higher car insurance premiums for all drivers and wasting public resources like ambulance responses.


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Vol. 23, No.3

In the October crash, driver Mackenzy Noze got out of the Audi and drove away in a getaway car, while his friend, Jacques Fleurijeune, climbed into the driver’s seat of the damaged Audi and called 911. Fleurijeune told police he had hit the tree while swerving to avoid a deer—though no witnesses or police ever saw the alleged deer. The four passengers were all taken to the hospital and eventually received insurance settlements for their injuries, which were fake. Fleurijeune also received payment for the value of the car, and others in the car gave some or all of their injury payouts to Noze and Fleurijeune. This scenario played out numerous times with various combinations of co-conspirators from 2011 through 2014, with insurance companies paying out $10,000 to $30,000 per crash in about 50 crashes. Many of them happened under similar circumstances—late-night, single-car crashes on remote roads without witnesses. In the

This scenario played out numerous times with various combinations of co-conspirators from 2011 through

Could Your Fender Bender Have Been Staged? Tips from the NICB Staged accident fraudsters sometimes targeted innocent

2014, with insurance

drivers in their dangerous

companies paying

schemes. If you think your car

out $10,000 to $30,000

accident has been staged, the

per crash in about

NICB suggests:

50 crashes. Many of them happened under similar circumstances—latenight, single-car crashes on remote roads without

The group often used rural sites—such as this one on Green Hollow Road in Killingly, Connecticut—to stage the car accidents.

fall, the drivers would claim to have swerved hitting a deer. In the winter, they said they lost control on a snowy street. To up their payout, they used older, European cars, which tend to hold their value over time. For the insurance companies, these repeat crashes raised red flags. So the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a non-profit organization that serves as a liaison between law enforcement and insurance companies, shared crash data with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut. The NICB’s suspicious accident data helped investigators hone in on the worst offenders.

witnesses. In the fall, the drivers would

• If you are not injured and can safely do so, take pictures of the accident scene. • Observe the details of what

claim to have

happened, such as how

swerved hitting a

many people were in the

deer. In the winter,

other car. Fraudsters will

they said they lost control on a snowy street. To up their

often lie about how many people were in the vehicle. • If you suspect car insurance fraud, visit the NICB’s

payout, they used

Speak Up page to file a

older, European cars,

report. Tips can be shared

which tend to hold


their value over time.

For more information visit the NICB website:

When insurance companies pay fraudulent claims, everyone’s premiums go up. Daniel Curtin, Special Agent, FBI New Haven “It was just a good, old-fashioned case, conducting interviews and reviewing documents—such as police reports and insurance company records—looking for patterns,” said Special Agent Daniel Curtin, who investigated the case out of the FBI’s New Haven Division. “With a lot of these staged crashes, the fraudsters made interstate telephone calls to file the insurance claims, and the calls were recorded, forming the foundation for many of the wire fraud counts.”

Estimates show car insurance fraud costs the average policyholder about $300 per year in

Noze, 33, the group’s ringleader, was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and sentenced last month to four years in prison. Six others, including Fleurijeune, have been charged and convicted.

higher premiums,

While insurance fraud may seem to be a victimless crime, that’s far from the case.

Special Agent John

Estimates show car insurance fraud costs the average policyholder about $300 per year in higher premiums, according to NICB Supervisory Special Agent John Gasiorek, who assisted the FBI with the investigation.

according to NICB Supervisory Gasiorek, who

crashes pose risks to first responders. You had police officers and EMTs rushing to crash scenes. The wasted time of medical professionals was also a concern with ER doctors and nurses treating these fraudsters for non-existent injuries. It took time away from other patients who really needed medical attention.” At least in the local region, Curtin said word has gotten out that law enforcement is working these cases and bringing perpetrators to justice. “The insurance companies have said that suspicious claims, especially those involving single-car accidents on remote roads, are down in southeastern Connecticut,” Curtin said. “They’re not seeing these types of suspicious accidents because this case has sent a message.”

assisted the FBI with the investigation.

Additionally, staged accidents are a safety hazard, both to those involved and other drivers. While in this ring, the conspirators generally did not involve other motorists, criminals sometimes do stage accidents involving unsuspecting drivers. “You never know who’s going to come around the corner. You could hit an innocent person. It’s really a public safety issue,” Gasiorek said, noting that even willing participants in the staged accidents are unexpectedly injured. “When insurance companies pay fraudulent claims, everyone’s premiums go up,” Curtin said. “More importantly, the staged


Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 23, No.3

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The Red & Blue: On Twos Anthony Ricci


e’ve spent quite a bit of time on technology over the course of the past year in this column with a great emphasis on new technology that the world of four wheeled vehicles has to offer us in this field. But what about the two wheeled options that are available to local police forces? There are more options than ever before and they each offer something a bit different depending upon what your specific department may be looking for. In the public sector there is a motorcycle for all

different types of riders and all different types of conditions and now law enforcement motorcycles are no different. Technology advancements for two and three wheeled outfits are finally catching up to the four wheeled market. Let’s start by discussing the current model lineups and what is available to our departments.


Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 23, No.3

The always classic Harley Davidson received the most substantial amounts of upgrades this year in all facets of the machine. There are three models available to law enforcement and though they may look like their replacements they have vast differences in the engine and suspension departments to make the machines perform better than ever before. The three model subsets are the 2017 FLHTP Electra Glide, 2017 FLHP Road King and XL883L Sportster available in over 30 different colorways with more ergonomic handlebar and solo seat designs to improve rider comfort. The new MilwaukeeEight engine provides more torque by way of larger displacement, redesigned 4-valve heads and a higher compression ratio. Officers enjoy the new CoolFlow fan option which redirects the heat from their leg towards the ground increasing rider comfort. The new Showa SDBV (Dual Bending Valve) allows the motorcycle to stop quicker from 60-0mph by way of more fork travel.

Now we’ll head over to something quite a bit different, Zero motorcycles an electric motorcycle company that has been in the game for a few years now offers not one, but three police models for various types of duty in the field. The electric motorcycles have the upper hand in the power department offering instantaneous power regardless of the RPM. Their Zero DSRP is a dual sport utilized both on and off road and can be used indoors as well, the DSP offers a similar range and both models have an optional power tank for more range. The Zero FXP has the lowest range capabilities and power of the three. Range goes from 29-79 miles on the Zero FXP to 58-141 miles on the DSP and DSRP models. The motorcycles do feature regenerative braking and coasting features to extend range. Another feature offered by Zero is the blackout switch for stealth operations. Electric

Well over 400 police departments are now faithful to the white, black and blue of BMW MotorsRad and its ever versatile R1200 RT-P boxer engine. Most of the improvements to this outfit are by way of rider comfort and technology. These include but are not limited to heated seats, e-gas electronic throttle control, rain, dynamic and road riding modes, heated handlebar grips, tire pressure monitoring systems, Dynamic ESA electronic suspension control, Gear Shift Assist Pro, additional fog lights, electronic cruise control (down to 9mph), rider info display system, BMW ABS with traction control, voltage and ambient temperature displays. While the Harley Davidson offers the CoolFlow accessory to redirect airflow the BMW is designed from the factory to redirect engine heat away from the rider and for further airflow adjustment an electronically adjustable windshield is standard on these models. Built off the base model 2015 ST1300, the Honda ST1300P is still available to the police market. Honda starts with a base model and up fits the model to each agency’s need. The Honda received the fewest upgrades of the outfits as it is still based off a model that is greater than 2 model years old. It does allow for more rider adjustability than Harley with a remote preload adjuster for the officer to adjust the suspension to their specifications, an adjustable 3-position solo seat, and an adjustable windscreen for officers to adjust based on rider comfort. The saddlebags hold 35 liters each in addition to the rear rack. The up fitted model also offers specialized handlebars, a patrol speedometer and additional mounting brackets to assist with the daily duties of law enforcement.

motorcycles weigh less, offer a maintenance free powertrain, accelerate quicker, maneuver better, work in all environments and cost less to run than a traditional gas outfit. Downsides would be a lack of an area to plug in the units (charging is available through a conventional 110v outlet), or the need for an increased range which may or may not make them beneficial for your particular department. Want to carry a whole slew of things, balance without using your feet, brake in a shorter distance, have advanced safety and security systems and come from the factory with everything you could ever want on an outfit? Enter the BRP Can-Am F3-P. Can-

Am took their F3 model and up fitted it to include Whelen sirens, LED strobes with 25 selectable flash patterns, a warm ride with their polycarbonate windshield, quick start for fast pursuit, and more. There are well over 5 positions for the foot pegs, and countless configurations for handlebars, an adjustable backrest and 12V and USB outlets for additional electronics. Extremely powerful and agile despite its width the outfit brakes faster and in a shorter distance than any other police outfit on the market today. This is no surprise considering it has three wheels to their two. The Can-Am F3-P also comes standard with an anti-theft device as well as a coded key which is the only way the outfit will start. Downsides to the Can-Am are the differences in handling and the additional training needed to secure safety in your department. We referenced the Michigan State Police MY 2017 Police Vehicle Evaluation Test Book – Final edition to determine which outfit performed the best. While this is only one test it is the most comprehensive and most utilized. Not surprisingly in almost every test except the braking the BMW R1200-RTP outperformed all of the other available motorcycles for model year 2017. The Can-Am Spyder took the cake in the braking department which is not a surprise as it has an additional wheel and a Y-frame. The Harley Davidsons and the BMW were all within one foot of one another in the braking exercises. Unfortunately the Zero crashed out during lap 2 of the testing – I would be extremely interested to see how it performed compared to the other outfits in the remainder of the tests. At the end of the day all of the OEMs offer amazing machines that are all capable of performing the day to day duties in safe, effective and efficient manner. Each department needs to consider the terrain the vehicle will be traveling on, the skills of the officers, the needs of the department, how much cargo carrying capacity they need and more to determine which manufacturer will offer the best outfit for your agency. For more information on any of these models see:

About the Author Anthony Ricci is President of ADSI (http://


With Mark Bowden, Author Of ‘Hue 1968’ And ‘Black Hawk Down’


ark Bowden is a best-selling author and journalist. His most recent book is “Hue 1968.” His book ‘Black Hawk Down,’ was a finalist for the National Book Award and was the basis of the popular film of the same name. His book ‘Killing Pablo’ won the Overseas Press Club’s 2001 Cornelius Ryan Award as the book of the year. His book ‘Guests of the Ayatollah,’ an account of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, was listed by Newsweek as

one of “The 50 Books for Our Times.” He is also the author of ‘The Finish,’ an account of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. Mark Bowden is a 1973 graduate of Loyola University Maryland, where he also taught from 2001-2010. He was a reporter and columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer for more than 30 years


Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 23, No.3

Mark Bowden is the Writer in Residence at the University of Delaware. He is also a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has received The Abraham Lincoln Literary Award and the International Thriller Writers’ “True Thriller Award” for lifetime achievement, and served as a judge for the National Book Awards in 2005. Mark Bowden was interviewed by Paul Davis, a contributing editor to the Journal.

IACSP: I enjoyed ‘Hue 1968,’ ‘Black

Hawk Down’ and your other books about the military and terrorism. Your work has been described as ‘narrative journalism.” Do you use that term and how does that differ from journalism and history?

Bowden: I think that is a fair characteriza-

tion of what I do. I think the simplest way to describe it is that what I do is storytelling. Conventional reporting is about conveying information. Most of the reports that you read in newspapers and magazines are essentially designed just to convey a lot of information on the topic that you’re writing about. I think the efforts that I make, and people like me make, is to craft a story that reads like a piece of fiction. If I’m writing about Joey Coyle in ‘Finders Keepers’ (the man who found $1 million dollars when it fell off an armored car in South Philadelphia) you’re introduced to him as a character and you kind of get a sense of

who he is and the story is full of action and dialogue and unfolds the way a well-written short story or a novel unfolds.

I came into working as a newspaper reporter at right around the time of Watergate and I assume most of the people who came into journalism at that time were inspired by Woodward and Bernstein. We were out to sort of uncover corruption and expose malfeasance in government and things like that, which is a very classic and valuable reason for doing journalism.

IACSP: Do you see that is similar to what back in the 1970s was called the new journalism? Bowden: Absolutely. That was what in-

spired me to want to be a reporter. I came into working as a newspaper reporter at right around the time of Watergate and I assume most of the people who came into journalism at that time were inspired by Woodward and Bernstein. We were out to sort of uncover corruption and expose malfeasance in government and things like that, which is a very classic and valuable reason for doing journalism. But my interest was always in writing narratives, things like Tom Wolfe or Gay Talese were doing.

IACSP: ‘Hue 1968,’ your most recent book, was outstanding. I don’t agree with your personal view of the Vietnam War – I thought we were right to be in Vietnam and we should have gone all out and won the war - but I thought your book was balanced. I’ve spoken to military people who think that you are not only a good storyteller, but you’re fair. And most military people believe reporters are not fair, as well as ignorant of the military. Even people who don’t agree with your final analysis of the war in the book’s Epilogue, like me, like the book.

Bowden: Glad to hear it. I was at an event in San Francisco with retired Marine General Ray Smith, who is a character in the book. He was then a lieutenant, a platoon leader. General Smith told me, well, I loved your book, but I hated your Epilogue. I certainly don’t hold myself out to be an expert on the Vietnam War. I studied one battle, not the whole sweeping event. But I do think you can learn a lot about the Vietnam War by deeply understanding this one event. IACSP: I liked that even though you were against the war, you state clearly and document that the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong were authoritarian and brutal. Were

records. Where things jive you really do begin to get a fairly detailed sense. This was a battle fought over nearly a month involving tens of thousands of participants.

you surprised by anything you learned in your research and interviews?

Bowden: Yes. I would have

say, like most people, I didn’t realize that there that many large-scale confrontations or engagements. Just the scale of the Battle of Hue was very surprising to me because most of the reporting out of that period focused on the fighting in Saigon. So the idea that the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong had completely taken the city was surprising to me. I think the way the Marines and the 1st Cav units were repeatedly being sent up against overwhelming superior enemy forces really shocked me. There was a level of denial and stubborn arrogance that got a lot of Americans killed. I would also say I was surprised to learn how misguided the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong were in their belief that by taking the city the people would rise up and support them. They were as out of touch with the people of Hue as the Americans. Lastly, I didn’t know enough about General Westmoreland to have an opinion about his talents as a commander and I’d have to say I was deeply unimpressed. He was a deliverer of misinformation, not just to the American public, but to the president. He thought he was right and there wasn’t anything you could show him that would put a dent in his belief.

IACSP: How were you able to reconstruct

the battle, like you also did in ‘Black Hawk Down,’ from so many perspectives, hour by hour, block by block?

I think the way the Marines and the 1st Cav

“Black Hawk Down”?

units were repeatedly

Bowden: I had written two books prior while I was still a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Doctor Dealer’ and “Bringing the Heat,” which was about the Philadelphia Eagles, and I got interested in that story because like everyone else I saw the pictures of dead American soldiers being dragged through the streets. I always felt combat would be a really amazing subject matter for the kind of reporting and writing that I like to do, but I had never seen anybody do it. When that episode in Mogadishu happened I thought if I could do this it would be an amazing story. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran it as a series. I think it was the first multi-media Internet presentation. It was running online and a lot of the guys who were involved in the battle started reading it and they would point out mistakes that I made and I would thank them and make corrections. That convinced a lot of people who didn’t talk to me initially to agree to be interviewed. After that series ran I was able to go out and significantly build on the reporting I had done and that’s what you see in the book.

being sent up against overwhelming superior enemy forces really shocked me. There was a level of denial and stubborn arrogance that got a lot of Americans killed. I would also say I was surprised to learn how misguided the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong were in their belief that by taking the city the people would rise up and support them. They were as out of touch with the people of Hue as the Americans.

Bowden: I was fortunate in having the opportunity to interview a lot of people and you find their stories begin to overlap. When that happens, I select those stories to tell because I’m confident and I think you get a richer account if you get multiple pointsof-view. Also, in the National Archives there are very detailed after action reports from the various units involved. So you can backstop a lot of the memories of the people I’m interviewing with the


IACSP: How did you come to write

Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

IACSP: We did an interview here with former Navy SEAL sniper Howard Wasdin, who was there, as well as an interview with the former Delta commander in Somalia, General William Boykin. Bowden: I never met

either of them. Wasdin was one of the special operators who did not talk to me and I never had the opportunity to talk to Boykin.

IACSP: The general said

your source was a disgruntled Delta guy who had a beef with the Ranger captain, Mike Steele.

Vol. 23, No.3

Bowden: A piece of that is true, he didn’t like Steele, but I don’t think that is a fair characterization of Paul Howe. Paul had an interesting reason for helping me. Paul was a key Delta Force operator in the middle of that fight and because the Army’s restriction of even admitting that Delta Force existed, he felt that the impression that was left after the battle was the Rangers had survived that battle because they were so well trained and they managed to do this themselves. His feeling was that the Rangers never would have survived if not for the Delta Force guys who were there with them. He said if the Army believes that the Rangers were capable of handling this episode by themselves, they are going to be put into situations where they are going to get killed. It was really important for people to understand that the reason they survived that ordeal was that they had these very veteran professional soldiers who led them out, essentially.

IACSP: In the ‘Guests of the Ayatollah’

IACSP: You also wrote about special

I got into the story of Pablo Escobar when I was working on ‘Black Hawk Down.’ A special ops commander in Mogadishu had a picture on the wall in his office of a bloody dead fat man on a roof top with a bunch of guys posing around it. It is not the sort

you portrayed the huge military failure and botched rescue of the American hostages in Iran. What were the lessons learned there and did you see echoes of this mission in the later successful killing of bin Laden, which you covered in a later book, ‘The Finish’?

of thing you see in

Bowden: In the case of Iran they had

said, that, my friend, is

toppled it together. They trained up the soldiers and didn’t have specialty equipment, helicopters and pilots capable of flying these difficult nighttime missions over the desert, so I think it revealed the need to integrate the different branches of the service in special ops. By the time we were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, we had the Joint Special Operations Command, made up of specialists from all the branches. They had specially designed weaponry, vehicles, helicopters and they were a far more sophisticated operation. During the course of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, those groups got more experience than any other time in history, so by the time of the bin Laden raid, you’re looking at state-of-the-art special operations capability. And the difference between what you saw in 1980 compared to what you saw in 2011, is like from amateurs to professional.

people’s offices, so I said you have to tell me what that is. He Pablo Escobar.

operations in ‘Killing Pablo.’ You did a good job of covering the roles of Delta Force, Navy SEALs and American law enforcement in the takedown of perhaps the biggest and most dangerous criminal in history, Pablo Escobar. Can you give us the backstory on that book?

Bowden: I got into the story of Pablo

Escobar when I was working on ‘Black Hawk Down.’ A special ops commander in Mogadishu had a picture on the wall in his office of a bloody dead fat man on a roof top with a bunch of guys posing around it. It is not the sort of thing you see in people’s offices, so I said you have to tell me what that is. He said, that, my friend, is Pablo Escobar. I keep it on my wall to remind me that in this life no matter how rich you are, you can still be too big for your britches. So I wrote Pablo Escobar in my notebook and underlined it about five times. The great thing about that story was that it was a mission for the special ops community, the military, the DEA, and it had a Foreign Service element along with the Colombian National Police. The DEA does not have the same restrictions as the military and those guys had all these files from the embassy in Bogota that were extremely helpful. At one point I briefly came into possession - I won’t tell you how - of the entire U.S. Embassy file. It was over a period of four or five years and it detailed all of the events and interviews and arrests and episodes. It was a challenge to make sense of them. The other real breakthrough for me was one of the Delta Force guys who was involved in that and was no longer in the unit traveled with me to Colombia as my guide and translator. He would never tell me anything about his involvement, but if I asked him a question, he would say, “all right I’ll take you to someone who can answer that question”. The story of Pablo Escobar is one of the most amazing and interesting stories of the 20th Century.

IACSP: Any movie plans for ‘Hue 1968’? Bowden: Yes. Producer and director

Michael Mann will make a ten-part series.

IACSP: Thank you for speaking to us.

IACSP Homeland Security Bookshelf By Dr. Joshua Sinai

This column capsule reviews recent books in the areas of terrorism, counterterrorism (and counter-insurgency), and countering active shooters.

Under Fire: Diary of an Israeli Commander on the Battlefield


Yoni Chetboun, (Springfield, NJ: Gofen Books, 2017), 184pages, $13.56 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-9-6522-9916-1.


his is an interesting and insightful account by the author, a retired Lt. Colonel (Res.) in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), of his service as a highly decorated commander of the elite Egoz unit in its battles against terrorism by Palestinian groups and against Hizballah in the 2006 Lebanon War. What are especially noteworthy are the author’s thoughts about serving as a unit commander who is responsible for making “on-the-spot decisions, sometimes while under fire” to accomplish his military mission while safeguarding as much as possible the lives of his soldiers. As he writes, the questions that concerned him in writing the book included the following: “Why does a soldier stand up and charge forward when confronting the enemy? Why do soldiers in battle act in opposition to the natural inspect that is embedded in every human being? What motivates soldiers to overcome fear? What are the qualities that enable an officer to inspire his soldiers with self-confidence and faith in their abilities?” (pp. ix-x) Also valuable are the author’s explanations of the foundational security concepts required to defeat a hiding terrorist adversary, such as how “The IDF units developed various techniques for inducing armed terrorists hiding in inhabited areas to expose themselves, and thus become the target of IDF fire that awaited them. Such operations were called ‘stimulated response.’ These operations were a significant component of the efforts the IDF invested in the war on terror in the early twenty-first century.” (p. 16) Also of interest is the author’s discussion of how he was able to balance his marriage and family with the obligations of serving as a warfighter. Following his military service, the author became a Member of Parliament, and is currently CEO of his consulting firm Kanaf Strategy, in Israel.

Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 23, No.3

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Maritime and Port Security

Michael Edgerton, (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2013), 296 pages, $75.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-1180-9991-9. This is an excellent and highly useful practitioner-based account, as the author explains, “of the current factors that affect the security of the maritime operating domain, where shipping, international politics, economics, crime, and terrorism intersect in ways that have far-reaching global impacts.” (p. xv) The book is organized into four major parts. Part One, “The International Maritime Operating Environment,” covers topics such as multinational characteristics of ports and international shipping (for instance, in terms of flag states and port states); and why and how ports are critically importance in terms of their geopolitical roles in trade routes, trade chokepoints, and sea lines of communication, as well as the vulnerability of ports as targets of attacks and conduits for cargo theft and smuggling. The second part, “Threats to Ports and the Maritime Domain,” discusses issues such as threats against ports by state actors (including their proxies) and non-state actors (such as terrorists and criminals). Part Three, “Current Approaches to Maritime and Port Security,” covers topics such as the development of security policies for ports (including measuring the effectiveness of security measures); the components of risk management such as threat, vulnerability, and consequence of an attack; and a critique of maritime security measures, such as a tendency for overreliance on technological solutions, such as over-dependence on closed circuit TV (CCTV), lack of recovery planning in case of an attack, and over-focusing on certain types of threats when others might be possible. The fourth part, “Principles for Effective Maritime and Port Security,” discusses the importance of a security program in providing value-added benefits to an organization, for instance, in upgrading its resilience; how to measure risk and identifying them, analyzing them, evaluating them, addressing them, and making a business case for establishing a risk management program in a port organization. The book’s three appendices are valuable for explaining how to use the accompanying templates to conduct security risk assessments, including defining an organization’s risk appetite in terms of expenditures and expected return on investment in expending resources on a security program. The author is a veteran security and risk manager based in the Middle East, who had served in the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy as a commissioned officer.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), The Military Balance 2017

(New York, NY: Routledge, 2017), 504 pages, $618.00 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-85743-835-2. The annual The Military Balance, which is published by the London-based The International Institute for Strategic Studies, is considered the most authoritative, comprehensive and detailed assessment of latest developments in the military capabilities and defense economics of 171 countries. It is widely used as an open-source based reference resource by governments’ diplomatic, military and intelligence agencies, as well as public policy research institutes and academic researchers, around the world. The volume is divided into two parts. The first part, “Capabilities, Trends and Economics,” is the volume’s primary section. Following two chapters that provide analyses of defense and military trends (including interesting sections on topics such as the changing defense-industrial landscape, trends in challenges to military deterrence, and a four page overview on the roles of special operations forces in projecting military capability against adversaries, whether regular or irregular forces), seven chapters provide detailed information about the military capabilities of the 171 countries, with the countries listed according to their geographic regions. For each country, a short section provides a general overview, followed by their organizational formations (e.g., army, air force, navy, cyber, special operations, etc.). The last chapter consists of tables that provide data on country comparisons and defense expenditures. The volume’s second part, “Reference,” provides explanatory notes about using the volume’s data and definitions of concepts and terms, such as defense economics and army, air force, and navy forces and equipment. The volume is also useful for the terrorism and counterterrorism operational and research communities as it provides extensive details about selected non-state groups that constitute militarily significant armed actors. In a two-page section on “Selected non-state armed groups: observed forces and military equipment holdings,” (pp. 563-564) three terrorist groups are profiled: Hizballah, the Islamic State (ISIS), and Boko Haram. We learn, for example, that Hizballah has an estimated 4,000 to 8,000 active forces, with an additional 20,000 reserves, and that among these forces between 4,000 and 8,000 are estimated to be committed to operations in Syria. Hizballah’s military equipment includes MBT T-72 armored fighting vehicles, surface-to-surfaces missiles launchers, and SAM air defense systems. At its height, ISIS’s total combat strength (at least prior to its current military setbacks and killed fighters) had totaled an estimated 20,000-35,000 personnel, of whom 12,000-15,000 had operated in Syria. A fourth non-state actor, the Kurdish Peshmerga, although not considered a terrorist group, is also profiled.

Of particular interest to the counterterrorism community is the volume’s detailing of countries’ combating terrorism forces. Thus, for example, it details that the United States’ Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) consists of 63,150 active forces and 6,550 civilians (p. 56); France has 3 Special Forces groups (p. 114); Norway’s Army has 2 Special Forces groups and one Naval Special Forces group (p. 143); the United Kingdom has a large contingent of Royal Navy, Army and RAF Special Forces regiments and squadrons (p. 174); Russia has a total of 659,000 paramilitary forces, which consist of 10,000-30,000 Federal Protection Service forces, and 160,000 Federal Border Guard Service forces (p. 223); India has 1,403,700 paramilitary forces, which consist of 63,900 Ministry of Home Affairs’ Assam Rifles forces and 230,000 Border Security Force personnel, an anti-terrorism contingent of 7,350 National Security Guards, a 10,000 mainly ethnic Tibetan Special Frontier Force, a 3,000 Special Protection Group force, and a 450,000 State Armed Police force; and Israel has 3 Army Special Forces battalions and 1 Special Operations brigade, 300 Naval Commandos, and 8,000 Border Police forces (pp. 382- 384).

When Deadly Force Is Involved: A Look at the Legal Side of Stand Your Ground, Duty to Retreat, and Other Questions of Self-Defense

Bruce M. Lawlor, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), 286 pages, $36.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-4422-7528-7. In active shooter-type situations, once a 911 call is made, law enforcement officers generally arrive within 10 minutes or so to neutralize the attacking shooter. It is recommended for victims who are directly targeted by a shooter to exercise the “Fight” option’s countermeasures if the “Run” or “Hide” options are unavailable. Until law enforcement arrives, if one of the potential victims happens to have a gun in his/her possession, are they legally authorized to fire their weapon in self-defense to kill the shooter? Moreover, if a potential attacker has not yet drawn his/her weapon, but to a targeted individual it appears as though such a weapon may be used imminently, are they legally authorized to open fire at the potential shooter to avoid being shot first? Finally, if an individual in the vicinity of an ongoing shooting incident happens to have a firearm at his/her disposal and is ready to use it, can they legally exercise their option to intervene as a “good Samaritan” and use their weapon to neutralize the shooter? In all these scenarios, what are the legal rules of engagement for such non-law enforcement deputized individuals to employ a firearm as a deadly force in confronting a potential or an actual shooter? These are the types of self-defense questions and scenarios that are discussed in Bruce Lawlor’s excellently argued book When Deadly Force Is Involved: A Look at the Legal Side of Stand Your Ground, Duty to Retreat, and Other Questions of Self-Defense. The author, a retired Four Star U.S. Army Major General and the Department of Homeland Security’s first Chief-of-Staff (under Secretary Tom Ridge), is also an attorney with a background in security issues, as well as a licensed firearms instructor, so his analysis is based on a veteran practitioner’s expertise on these issues. In this book, the author finds that, as a legal concept, a person firing a weapon in self-defense “is without fault [and] may use force, including deadly force, to defend against what he or she reasonably fears is an imminent unlawful threat of death or serious bodily injury, provided there is no reasonable alternative to avoid it.” (p. 3) When one begins to interpret how this generalization applies to individual cases, however, complications arise in how “local laws and customs that influence how [such] words are interpreted and applied.” (p. 3) The purpose of this book, the author writes, is to explain “the system, how one goes about determining if a homicide is justifiable or excusable. It doesn’t offer solutions so much as a description of the approaches taken to find them.” (p. 3) The book is organized into fifteen chapters, with each chapter addressing a specific issue related to self-defense, and how judges and juries go about deciding on their legal merits. The chapters begin with a fictitious case narrative of how deadly force was used in their supposed self-defense, followed by a discussion of the legal reasoning concerning such use of deadly force. The chapters’ fifteen topics include cases in which deadly force was used in situations in which the shooters felt they were confronted with what they regarded as deadly threats, verbal threats, imminent harm, reasonable fear, duty to retreat, stand your ground, “Castle Doctrine” (a provision in which there is “no duty to retreat” when confronted by an armed intruder in one’s home), de-escalation of a confrontation, mistakes made (but in good faith), and other situations. In conclusion, how does the author explain the legal justifications for the use of deadly force in the three active shooter scenarios highlighted earlier? He writes: “A general description of self-defense is that a person who is without fault may use force, including deadly force, to defend against what he or she reasonably fears is an imminent unlawful threat of death or serious bodily injury, provided there is no reasonable alternative to avoid it.” (p. 18) Related legal justifications are that the person claiming self-defense did not provoke “the confrontation that led to the shooting,” whether or not “there existed a reasonable alternative to the use of deadly force,” or whether or not the “initial aggressor abandoned the fight, or is he unable to continue it, or has he somehow indicated he


Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 23, No.3

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wants peace rather than further confrontation?” (p. 21) It is such insights about the legal issues involved in the use of deadly force in self-defense, that make this book a valuable reference guide in understanding the justifications for a spectrum of responses to potential or actual active shooter attack scenarios, as well as scenarios involving responses to other types of confrontations.

Disaster Response and Recovery: Strategies and Tactics for Resilience

David A. McEntire, (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2015), 560 pages, $69.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-1186-7302-7. This excellent and practitioner-oriented textbook’s objective provides a comprehensive and detailed account of the spectrum of disasters and crises challenging homeland security and effective strategies and tactics to prevent them, and, in case they occur, to recover from them in a resilient manner. The book’s 13 chapters begin by covering topics such as types of disasters (ranging from natural hazards, technological hazards, to man-made hazards, such as mass shootings and terrorism); the actors that play a role in responding to disasters (ranging from the public sector, the private sector, to the nonprofit sector, such as the Red Cross and faith-based organizations); and anticipating human behavior responses during disasters (including the role of media and myths and exaggerations in exacerbating such responses). The chapters then shift to identifying various approaches to managing disasters, such as what the author terms “the traditional model” (e.g., civil defense, command and control, bureaucratic, or emergency service perspective) and “the professional model,” which is based on emergency managers leading “interdependent organizational operations,” which are an “all-hazard, networking, collaborative, problem-solving, or public administration model.” (p.114) The strength of the latter model is that “Because of the unique nature of disaster, no single individual, group, or organization can respond alone,” so “an all-hazard approach to emergency management” is required. (pp. 115-116). Other chapters discuss topics such as implementing initial response measures (including issuing warnings and types of warning systems that are issued), managing evacuation, and sheltering. Also discussed are the procedures and measures to care for the injured, dead, and distraught; managing public information, donations, and volunteers to assist in disaster relief; methodologies to assess damages; issuing disaster declarations (including factors for determining such declarations); the types of debris produces by disasters and how to deal with them; promoting recovery and mitigating the impacts of disasters, including providing emergency and permanent assistance to victims, including victims with special needs, such as disabled populations; and the importance of minimizing possibilities for fraud in claims for damages. Other related issues include harnessing organizational measures to manage disasters at the local, state and federal levels, including using technologies, such as geographical information systems (GIS) to manage disaster relief operations. Chapter 12, “Foreseeing the Future: Prior Lessons, Unrecognized Threats and Rising Vulnerability,” is especially pertinent – particularly following the catastrophic mass shooting attack in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. This is due to the fact, as the author insightfully notes, that “As an emergency manager, you must not only foster resilience before, during, and after the current disasters you are confronted with. It is vital that you think critically about how to improve response and recovery in the future we want. You must realize that disasters are on the rise in terms of frequency and impact. This disturbing fact suggests that we will have to deal more effectively with the complex nature of technological disasters. Furthermore, you will need to understand how to deal with violent activity and take precautionary steps to protect your personnel and community during and after terrorist attacks. There are also new or unrecognized hazards that threaten us….Vulnerability is also increasing around the world, and it is your job to help everyone in the community to take steps to reverse such trends. You must have an understanding of the factors that will have a bearing on future disasters if you are to respond to and recovery from them successfully.” (p. 395). As a textbook, each chapter begins with a “Starting Point” that outlines learning points, goals and outcomes. The chapters are then sprinkled throughout with call out boxes and tables, and conclude with a summary, key terms, summary questions, review questions, and applying the chapters’ topics to real world scenarios. The author is a Professor in the Emergency Administration and Planning Program (EADP) in the Department of Public Administration at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.

Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing Michele R. McPhee, (Lebanon, NH: ForeEdge/An Imprint of University Press of New England, 2017), 340 pages, $29.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-6116-8849-8.


Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 23, No.3

This is a highly detailed and authoritative investigative account, which reads like a suspense movie, of how Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had plotted to carry out the horrific bombing of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, their family backgrounds, and a description and assessment of how the United States government’s counter-terrorism measures functioned in attempting to surveil them prior to the attack and in its immediate aftermath. The author, a Boston-based investigative journalist, had spent three years researching this book, which led her to uncover numerous pieces of new evidence that are recounted throughout this account. These include evidence that “in 2011 Tamerlan secretly worked on an investigation that dismantled a ring of crack cocaine dealers who moved the drug from Boston to Portland, Maine,” that he “drove a Mercedes without holding a job,” and that his lucrative pay as a government informant enabled him to get “away with so much villainy that only a hand-off policy formulated at the local level by one or more agencies responsible for national intelligence could have engineered it.” (p. x). While this reviewer is not in a position to verify such new evidence, it is still worth considering. This account also includes numerous insights into how the U.S. government’s counterterrorism agencies track individuals with a suspected nexus to terrorism, such as the National Counterterrorism Center’s and FBI’s watchlisting databases, including the ‘No Fly’ listings, and how they cooperate with their Russian counterparts (who had warned them about Tamerlan’s suspicious activities). Also noteworthy is the author’s discussion of the dysfunctional nature of the Tsarnaev family, Tamerlan’s radicalization into extremism, his association with other Chechen extremists, his visit to Dagestan, Russia in 2012, and the step-by-step preparation that Tamerlan took to prepare the bombs that were used in the attack.

Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America

James E. Mitchell, with Bill Harlow, (New York, NY: Crown Forum, 2016), 320 pages, $28.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-1019-0684-2. This important book is primarily an insider’s account of the author’s extensive involvement, as a civilian clinical psychologist contractor, with the CIA’s interrogation program which was established in the aftermath of 9/11 to elicit intelligence information from just-captured al Qaida leaders and operatives. It is also an important primer on the mindsets of terrorists, how they operate in their underground worlds, how counterterrorism is conducted by government agencies, the types of interrogation techniques (including enhanced interrogation techniques) that are used to elicit urgently required intelligence information from ‘high value’ captured terrorists, and how such terrorists spend their time in their detention cells. Working as a civilian contractor, the author and his associate, Dr. John Bruce Jessen, his former air force colleague (they had been involved in working with the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training), were involved in the interrogations of high level al Qaida operatives, such as Abu Zubaydah (who was familiar with logistical operations), Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (the commander of the attack against the USS Cole), Khaled Sheikh Mohammed (the mastermind of 9/11, also known as KSM), Ramzi bin al-Shibh (a key facilitator of 9/11), and Abu Yasir al-Zaza’iri (part of KSM’s entourage). The interrogations of these suspects, the author writes, yielded important intelligence information that led to the capture of other al Qaida operatives, including thwarting a number of significant potential plots. In the concluding chapter, the author offers numerous insights about the components of effective counterterrorism, including the observation about the difference between a law enforcement approach (i.e., “taking a perpetrator off the streets and convicting that person in a court of law” once “a crime has already been committed”) and, in his opinion, a preferred “war-focused, intelligencegathering approach” that seeks “to obtain actionable intelligence to prevent upcoming attacks before building a case for prosecution – that comes later.” (p. 294).

About the Reviewer Dr. Joshua Sinai is a Senior Analyst at Kiernan Group Holdings (KGH) (, a counterterrorism and homeland security research and consulting firm, in Alexandria, VA. He can be reached at:

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Vol. 23, No.3

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The IACSP’s Counter-Terrorism Journal V23N3  
The IACSP’s Counter-Terrorism Journal V23N3  

The International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals (IACSP) was founded in 1992 to meet security challenges facing t...