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How Effective is the US Counterterrorism Strategy?

Updated on January 26, 2022
Nyamweya profile image

Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics.


The United States indisputably criminalizes all manner of violence including those that are ideological, religiously or politically motivated. For the department of Homeland Security and all other security organs in the country, counterterrorism and intelligence to dismantle terrorist plots is a continuous endeavor. The short-term goal is to defeat terrorist organizations internationally using direct or indirect diplomatic, economic, military, intelligence, and, law enforcement power instruments. The long-term goal is to take a direct military action against target terrorists and undertake asymmetric actions that have indirect influences on making regional and global environments unfriendly to terrorism.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Counterterrorism Strategy

The strategy facilitates multi-agency participation, such as the government and international agencies, to deter and respond to terrorist activities. It also enhances co-ordination between intelligence operatives and police officers nationally and internationally to counter terrorism. However, among the weaknesses of this approach is the strategy does not target encumbering domestic and international radicalization to thwart violent extremism from CIRA (Continuity Irish Republican Army) affiliates in the U.S. and globally. The strategy also appears to have failed to take consideration of the current rate of technological advancements globally, including the use of social media by CIRA. Currently, radicalization has become a vital terrorist threat in the United States, as the Internet is a vital source of terrorist ideology and recruitment of operatives. What is more, the defensive aspects of the strategy appear to be static and recommend protecting target areas and likely terrorist targets, and preparing on how to respond and recover from a terror attack effectively, yet does not focus on early identification of terrorists.

Effectiveness of the U.S Counterterrorism in Mitigating Terrorism

The counterterrorism strategy has effectively enabled the U.S. government to guard its homeland against terrorist and defeat terrorist abroad, yet failed to prevent the reemergence of CIRA extremists abroad and domestically. Further, the capability to identify linkages to other terrorist networks in the U.S. and internationally will lead to greater cooperation and transparency with the regional partners, such as the United Kingdom, in detecting and apprehending terrorists.

The suggested changes will drive a positive narrative regarding the U.S. war on terror, which will counter the CIRA resurgent radicalism messages that have inspired high levels of scheming against the U.S. It is expected that this will have a socializing effect, as it will create a greater understanding of the U.S. goals on and transparency with the U.S. global allies and partners. In effect, it will necessitate greater cooperation from the U.K. government.

b) Assessment

In specific, the benchmark that will be applied in determining the effectiveness of the Community-State Partnership on counterterrorism measures will be as follows:

a) The level of intelligence on terrorism, radicalization, and plots

b) Emergency Preparedness and Response on terrorism by members of the public

c). Strategic Communication

d) Risk analysis

e) Defending against threats


In order to enhance its effectiveness, the strategy should be integrated with an offensive element of a domestic counterterrorism strategy in the U.S. soil and offensive operations regionally and internationally. In addition, the U.S. domestic intelligence gathering methods should contain strategic elements that enable early identification of linkages to CIRA networks in the U.S. and internationally, and to come up with an inclusive evidential case that can lead to early arrests without contributing to in the community, which may have terrorist cells. It should ensure that local communities are prepared and able to identify terrorists, respond fast and recover from terror attacks.

What the regional fusion center will need, in terms of tools, resources, and training, to implement these changes

There are various things that will be needed in the fusion center in order to deal effectively with terrorism activities. Among these include training of the first responders: The first responders, in this case, the local communities, require training on how to identify terrorists as well as and information on how to respond or alert the law enforcement agencies. There is also need for extensive investments in border security capabilities and technology, and information sharing technologies with the local communities. Furthermore, training on anti-CIRA messages to counter pro-radicalism narratives would be paramount. Finally, the center requires massive investment in surveillance technologies in the homeland.

The media will be used to counter CIRA ideology so as to prevent the spread of radicalism, which the terrorist groups propagate through the media. The media will be used to disseminate information to the local communities on how to identify suspected terrorists and to alert the law enforcement agencies. The media will be used to improve communication with local communities in the domestic market regarding the new terrorist tactics and how they can frustrate those tactics.


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