Dec. 12, 2016
Chapter 7 | Countering Terrorism
The United States faces an unprecedented threat from terrorism today: two transregional networks actively plot attacks, recruit foreign fighters, and seek to inspire “lone wolf” terrorists. But this threat is manageable. Rather than trying to defeat terrorist adversaries, U.S. strategy should emphasize reducing the risk of significant attacks in the homeland, Western Europe, Canada, and Australia. In addition to homeland security measures, such a strategy would be characterized by a shift, and likely an increase, in the placement of U.S. special operations forces and intelligence assets overseas. Managing this threat would also require greater coordination with, and persistence from, other instruments of national power, including diplomacy and law enforcement. The key counterterrorism challenge for a new administration, therefore, is how to develop and sustain a strategy that manages this threat persistently, without being on a constant war footing.