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Friday

'Fun-Size' Terrorism

'Fun-Size' Terrorism is not a term relating to an attitude toward terrorism. No, not at all...let me explain;
Have you ever been out on Halloween? Of course. You dress up in costume and go out expecting to get a variety of candy. Sometimes you get back and find out that the candy you got was not exactly what you expected. People dump those fun-size candy bars in your bag, not quite the event you expected but gets the point across.

Well, with that in mind, lets look at our expectations and preparations for acts of terrorism or intentional events. We've been told what it means to live in the "post 9/11" era and how we must be prepared for the next terror attack. Nobody will tell you what the next attack will look like and so we believe and plan for what we've seen in the past...another 9/11-style attack. In short we've fallen into the trap of believeing the biggest or last major event we've experienced is the worst we will ever see. Nothing could be further from the truth! In short, we're preparing (and have been) for the wrong type of event...that's my opinion anyway.

I think we're going to see another attack on the United States and many other sources believe it will be in the not too distant future. While I'm not willing to commit to a time frame, I am comfortable relating my opinions as to what the next terrorist attack will look like. No, I don't think we'll see another attack on the same size and scope of September 11, 2001, rather I think we'll see a "fun-size" smaller and coordinated multiple simultaneous attacks version.  I would also predict that these smaller, coordinated intentional events will be aimed at soft targets...those locations of infrastructure that lack defensive protection or deterrence.

Specifically, I'm talking about locations such as shopping malls, ground transit hubs, health care facilities, sporting events, and hotels and coffee shops. The impact of bombings or other events on these locations...especially if they're coordinated in multiple locations across the country...will have a significant death toll as well as a devastating ripple effect. These smaller attacks will be harder to predict and intercede on. The impact on a community and economy will be huge. Consider the possibility of mass casualty events coupled with a lack of surge capacity or total loss of local hospitals.

The failed attempt to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day, 2009 is an indication that independent individual attackers are a potential threat. Often referred to as "Lone-Wolf" attackers, these individuals may have a loose affiliation and training with well-funded, established terror groups. They may also be individuals with no affiliation but share an ideology or sympathy with terrorist groups. Smaller than coordinated terrorist cells, these lone-wolf attackers could easily infiltrate soft target locations and carry out attacks with conventional explosives, chemicals or even biological materials. As an aside, while the impact of an explosive attack will be huge...the impact of a biological attack (biological bomber style) is almost unimaginable.

McVeigh, Rudolf, and Kaczynski  are all names in our domestic terrorism history that we should keep in mind and even study as a means to appropriate pre-plan and train for what might be ahead. We should also keep in mind the ever-present threat posed by domestic groups; hate groups, supremest groups and Ecological groups. Keep in mind that multiple smaller attacks will be just as devastating as a focused single event.

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