Ebook: Technological Dimensions of Defence against Terrorism
The technological developments of recent years have influenced both the threat of terrorist attacks and the defence against them, and continue to be the focus of attention. Terrorist groups are not slow to exploit new technological developments and adapt them to their own ends, and the forces of counterterrorism cannot afford to fall behind in their understanding of potential threats.
This book presents the proceedings of the NATO Centre of Excellence – Defence against Terrorism (COE–DAT) Advanced Research Workshop, "Technological Dimensions of Defence against Terrorism", held in Ankara, Turkey, in November 2011. Seventeen expert speakers from four countries – military and civilian practitioners, business leaders, researchers and academics – delivered a series of papers in sessions on: understanding the challenges; the role of technology in terrorist attacks; and the role of technology against terrorist attacks.
The topics covered include: a brief history of terrorism and technology; technological advances and the impact on terrorism and counterterrorism efforts; the role of the commercial world in the defence against terrorism; transportation technology and its effects on the nature of terrorist attacks; terrorist threats to critical energy infrastructure technology and protection systems.
The book is a significant contribution to the field of counterterrorism, and will be of interest to all those whose work involves the relationship between technology and terrorism.
The issue of technological developments in both the threat of terrorist attacks and the defense against them continues to feature prominently. The need to exploit technological developments is an on-going process because the various terrorist threats have shown themselves to be more than willing to adapt and use technology in the conduct of terrorist attacks; counterterrorism forces cannot afford to be any less willing.
This book presents the proceedings of the NATO Centre of Excellence – Defence against Terrorism (COE-DAT) Advanced Research Workshop entitled the “Technological Dimensions of Defence against Terrorism,” held in Ankara, Turkey, on 2-3 November 2011. The workshop brought together 37 participants from 21 countries and consisted of four sessions: Understanding the Challenges, The Role of Technology in Terrorist Attacks, The Role of Technology against Terrorist Attacks and Conclusion. During these sessions, presentations by 17 expert speakers – military and civilian practitioners, business leaders, researchers and academics – from 4 countries were followed by a detailed discussion and debate. The workshop concluded with a summary of all the topics reflected in the individual papers presented.
The first article was written by Professor Herbert K. Tillema of the University of Missouri (US) and is entitled “A Brief History of Terrorism and Technology Revisited.” In this article, Professor Tillema examines the extent of terrorism and counterterrorism in a historical context. He then discusses the marriage of technology with these phenomena, focusing particularly on transportation, communications and weapons. Professor Tillema ends the discussion by stressing how both terrorism and counterterrorism are dependent on, and change with, technology.
After this excellent introduction, the second article on “Current Technological Advances and their Impact on Terrorism and Counterterrorism Efforts” is from Professor Ahmet Ş. Üçer of Middle East Technological University (TR). Professor Üçer focuses on the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science to predict great leaps forward in this century. He then details how the NATO Research and Technology Organization (RTO) is matching these developing technologies to counterterrorism requirements in the NATO DAT program of work. He concludes by stating that we must assume that the terrorists will take advantage of technological developments and we must ensure that counterterrorism takes advantage of these developments as well.
Commodore Patrick Tyrrell (RN, Ret) in his article, “The Role of the Commercial World in Defence against Terrorism,” discusses the interplay of technology, people and organization in technological development, where a change in one factor necessitates a corresponding change in the other two to keep things in balance. He specifically advocates for an expanded role for SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) to stay on the cutting edge of technology because of their small size. He also advances the concept that any developments in counterterrorism must try to understand terrorist intent and capability so as to deny them opportunity in order to prevent terrorists attacks.
Eric Lukosi and Mark Prelas of the University of Missouri authored the fourth article on the “Weaponization and Delivery Systems that Terrorists Use for Biological and Chemical Agents.” This article examines the theory and practical aspects of the weaponization and delivery of chemical and biological agents. Not only does it discuss military-type agents, but also toxic industrial chemicals that could be used by terrorists. This article points out that although all these agents could pose problems for use by terrorists, these problems are not insurmountable, particularly to achieve the low-level of results that is only necessary for a successful terrorist operation. With technological capabilities always improving, although the chances of a terrorists attack using chemical or biological weapons are remote, the effects would be so catastrophic that we must plan to counter and respond to such an attack.
The fifth article is from Professor Mustafa Kibaroğlu of Ozan University who writes of “Measures to Counter the Threat of WMD Terrorism.” After giving a brief introduction to WMD, Professor Kibaroğlu advances a concept to counter WMD terrorism in the long term, medium term and short term. With a long-term goal of ‘zero’ weapons, we can eliminate this category of threat. In the medium term, we can strengthen existing WMD treaties and develop enforcement protocols in the short term. Professor Kibaroğlu believes that WMD terrorism would present a tempting opportunity for terrorists so we must do as much as possible to keep such weapons out of terrorist hands.
The interconnection between transportation and terrorism is developed by Professor Joseph S. Szyliowicz in his article “Transportation Technology and Its Effect on the Speed, Distance and Magnitude of Terrorist Attacks.” After an introduction regarding the historical development of transportation system, he evaluates intermodal passenger and intermodal freight systems with regards to their implications for terrorism. However, in his conclusion he addresses the broader issue of how transportation has contributed to the globalization of the world that has allowed terrorism to go from a localized or regional phenomenon to an international one by changing the gap between social distance and physical distance.
The seventh article, entitled “Terrorist Threat to Critical Energy Infrastructure Technology and Protection Systems,” by Associate Professor Dr. Mitat Çelikpala of Kadir Has University, addresses the vulnerability of the global energy system to terrorist acts. After first defining the concept of energy security, he discusses a number of terrorist acts within Turkey and the infrastructure to protect this supply. Turkey is critical to Europe and, therefore the world, as a transit country for energy supplies from Eurasia.
Next is an article “Terrorist Use of Communication Technology and Social Networks,” by a team from Georgia Institute of Technology (Craig Espeseth, Jessica Gibson, Andy Jones, and Seymour Goodman). This article looks at the use of communications within terrorist groups and how this is specified used in eight key areas: recruitment, radicalization, training, communication, tactical use, command and control, fundraising, and cyberattacks. The article concludes by stating that ICT plays a central role in the entire life cycle of a terrorist organization and as hierarchical terrorist groups become disrupted from targeted operations against them, terrorist networks have become flatter and more diffuse with the use of communications technology.
Professor Ahmet Koltuksuz wrote the ninth article on the “Use of Cyberspace and Technology by Terrorists. He states that terrorist want to work in cyberspace for the anonymity and low risk of detection or harm to themselves, coupled with an abundance of targets and the low investment in equipment and other resources. Cyberterrorists can be international terrorist groups, transnational criminal organizations, extremists, lone wolves or other individuals; their goals are to devastate data integrity, disrupt critical system availability, destroy confidentiality, and harm systems to cause deliberate malfunctions. Although recent exercise activity shows that NATO and NATO nations are starting to address this threat, there is still a long way to go.
Commander Bora Uzer, a very experienced explosives expert from the Turkish Navy assigned to COE-DAT, outlines how improvised explosive devices are used by terrorists, and the NATO plan to deal with that, in his article “The IED Threat and Its Relevance to Technological Development.” He specifically addresses the counter-IED concept of countering IEDs as weapons systems rather than as individual devices.
“The Role of Information Technology in Responding to Terrorism” is the title of a summary of a presentation by Associate Professor Salih Bıçakçı of Işık University. The presentation dealt with how information technology is implicated in counterterrorism, focusing on the use of IT in biometrics, data mining and smart surveillance. By combining the identification of individuals, with material that can be gathered and fused, coupled with information as to intentions of persons of interest, we can prioritize the vast sea of information to better focus our counterterrorism efforts.
The last article is by Professor Ashok K. Vaseashta of Norwich University Applied Research Institutes. He examines the “Ecosystem of Innovations in Nanotechnologies in Support of Counterterrorism” to argue that the advancements in nanotechnology have been very helpful in developing new classes of sensors for use in counteterrorism. He also addresses the concept of advanced sciences converging to fuse technologies and develop even more innovative tools.
Representing a significant contribution to furthering the science of counterterrorism, this book will be of interest to all whose work involves the relationship between technology and terrorism.
U. Feyyaz Aydoğdu
Major, Turkish Jandarma
Terrorism, strictly defined, is an ancient political instrument. Its strategic objective is to instill terror and by so doing alter attitudes and prospective behavior among selected political targets. Technology circumscribes tactics of both terrorism and counterterrorism. Investment in the latest defense technology ostensibly advantages counterterrorism. In practice, technical advantage does not necessarily confer decisive strategic advantage, especially if the effort concentrates solely upon physical defense. Effective defense against terrorism additionally requires sophisticated political counter-strategy in order to influence prospective behavior of terrorists and potential terrorists as well as other parties.
This paper is an attempt to describe the affect of technology advances on global terrorism. It also reports how terrorism has influenced the research and technology for countering terrorism. Activities that are adopted in NATO Research and Technology Organization's various panels are also described.
The battle against terrorism depends upon maintaining a technological advantage. If we think of any effort being reliant upon a combination of technology, organization and people, Therefore, since technology is moving quickly, we need to have organizations and people evolve to handle the new technology. One way to do this is to focus on innovation in smaller companies – they are more reactive then larger defence firms. This article discusses a number of ways that NATO can better develop effective responses to terrorism.
Since the development of well-established chemical and biological warfare programs by state entities dating from World War I, there has been a growing concern that terrorists and terrorist organizations will start using these agents. The use of chemical and biological agents by terrorists has been documented to occur as far back as 1946; however, the total incidences are few and the successes of these attacks have been limited. Very few attempts have reached fruition and the efficacy of these attacks to cause fear and economic damage are generally not equal to the damage that could have been achieved with conventional weapons on a per unit cost analysis. However, dissemination of technological information and expertise has increased the threat of chemical and biological terrorism. In this text the generally well-known chemical and biological agents are reviewed along with the weaponization and delivery methods used by states. An overview of chemical and biological terrorism in the past century is also examined and used to extrapolate what could be expected from terrorists in the future. It is found that chemical and biological terrorism are likely to be a rare event and those that will occur should have limited success. However, state-funded terrorism, weapons supplied through criminal organizations, and competent lone wolves bent on world destruction are threats that may have the most significant impact in the future.
The use of WMD by terrorists is only a matter of time. Use of WMD by terrorists would be a great victory for their cause so they have an incentive to continue to address the issues of obtaining and employing these weapons. Only by continuation of international efforts already started can we counter this type of attack by terrorists.
Technology has been a powerful force driving change in transportation systems for centuries and will continue to be powerful force in decades to come. Until the industrial revolution, most people seldom travelled more than a short distance from home. With the coming of railroads, steamships and later jet travel, distances have shrunk and the process of globalization has created a totally new environment. Terrorism involves two dimensions – social distance and physical distance. Historically, terrorists staged their attacks on opponents who were geographically close by. Now, with the elimination of physical distance, they are able to strike anywhere at anytime. Moreover, globalization has created a new international trade system whose disruption would have catastrophic results. Also, the extensive use of hazardous materials provides terrorists with new opportunities to inflict mass casualties. Although states and international organizations have implemented various measures to safeguard both passenger and freight transportation systems, the new environment poses has created a context that requires new, integrated national, and especially international approaches.
Critical infrastructure is an umbrella term referring to a country's assets that are essential to the nation's security, public health and safety, economic vitality, and way of life. This infrastructure is owned or operated by both the public and the private sector. All agencies responsible for protecting the critical infrastructure act to mitigate the risks through implementing risk management techniques. Even the best security management plans and legislation, which compel their enforcement, are worthless without proper implementation. In this implementation, stage continuous analysis should be made. This effort necessitates investment in horizon scanning, early warning, risk analysis, intelligence gathering and dissemination. With the help of these phases, crises prevention, crisis management, post-crisis stabilization and consequence management could be conducted. All affected parties should also kept ready through training and education, research and development programs and prepared to reply any kind of terrorist threat on the critical energy infrastructure.
The various uses of information and communications technologies (ICT), by terrorist organization, particularly cell phone networks and the Internet, are reviewed. ICT is demonstrated to enhance the ability of terrorist organizations to support their own organizational efforts, and may also serve as a domain for attack.
Terrorists are increasingly finding the Internet, or cyberspace, a valuable forum them to operate in. Not only can they use cyberspace to conduct attacks, they can also use it to find recruits, train recruits, raise money, organize activities, and publicize the results. Although some of this activity is legal, it still must be monitored to be able to prevent cyberterrorism.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are well-known for their use in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan but are also becoming popular with terrorists. Simple to make and generally reliable, they are an effective terrorism. However, the IED is a weapons system consisting of a combination of people, processes and materiel. In countering IED (C-IED) operations, we need to fight against that system.
The use of cutting-edge information technologies has the ability to help us battle terrorists by assisting with identification, predictive analysis and prioritization processes. This article describes some of those applications.
Rapid advances in both science and technology, coupled with universal access to the Internet, have inspired both state-sponsored and non-state sponsored actors to new levels of creativity in the development of novel and non-traditional agents. It has become apparent that asymmetric threats have changed the traditional nature of the battlefield. Accompanying the evolution of asymmetric threats is their relative ease of transport and deployment, thus broadening the potential battlefield. Implementation of effective countermeasures demands an understanding of transformational emerging sciences, concepts and theories, and their potential applications. Recent progress in nanostructured materials, coupled with advanced synthesis methods, has significantly contributed to sensor platforms capable of direct detection of chemical and biological agents in a label-free, parallel, multiplexed, and with broad dynamic range, allowing fast and accurate detection with high sensitivity and specificity. Furthermore, the use of bio-mimetic nanomaterials is a game-changing technology as it provides ultrasensitive reconnaissance and remote maneuverability in a combat theatre. The development of integrated solution paths through use of nanotechnology and its integration through the convergence of advanced sciences, presents unique and novel opportunities for identifying effective countermeasures to emerging unconventional threats. An ecosystem of technological innovations provides tactical superiority in support of effective countermeasures for various threat vectors.