terrorism intelligence. While a robust technical intelli- gence capability is important, enhancing our human intelli- gence capability is even more so. Here, the United States needs to strengthen its partnerships with foreign intelli- gence services.
While it is impossible to negotiate directly with extrem- ists like Bin Laden, diplomacy does play a major role in combating terrorism. The shift away from political and towards ideologically based terrorism means that many more countries have become direct targets of escalating acts. As a result, many countries now have a vested interest in studying terrorism. Indeed, many already possess a breadth of knowledge and experience on the subject that the United States should draw on. Cooperative pursuit of common interests is a hallmark of good diplomacy and often leads to further cooperation on other issues.
A comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy should incorporate a full spectrum of activities, from prevention and deterrence to retribution and prosecution to domestic- response preparedness. All too often, these elements of strategy are treated in isolation. Such a strategy must incor- porate both the marshalling of domestic resources and the engagement of international allies and assets. And it requires monitoring and measuring the effectiveness (“benchmarking”) of the many programmes that imple- ment this strategy, so as to lead to common standards, prac- tices and procedures.
A complete WMD counter-terrorism strategy involves both preventing an attack from occurring — including deterrence, non-proliferation, counter-proliferation and pre-emption — and preparing federal, state, local, private- sector and non-governmental capabilities to respond to an actual attack. In short, our counter-terrorism capabilities and organisations must be strengthened, streamlined and then synergised, so that effective prevention will enhance domestic-response preparedness and vice versa.
In conducting this assessment and evaluation and in con- structing a national strategy, all possibilities have to be considered. We cannot protect against everything, every- where, all the time from every adversary and every modal- ity of attack. We must prioritise with the understanding that vulnerable areas will remain. And we must accept these vulnerable areas, minimise them and not allow them to hin- der our efforts. What we will find, though, is that this investment will have beneficial secondary and tertiary effects. Most of the institutional changes we make to improve organisation, cooperation and coordination will be beneficial across the board, not just for WMD incidents. Strengthening the ability to deal with extraordinary, and especially catastrophic, events provides tools and capabili- ties that are equally valuable in dealing with “ordinary” sit- uations, such as natural outbreaks. Preventive measures, designed to address nightmare scenarios, also have utilitar- ian, day-to-day, functions and benefits.
COMBATING NEW SECURITY THREATS
Within the federal government, we must develop for counter-terrorist purposes smooth channels of inter-agency and intra-agency coordination and cooperation. Many agencies have had little experience working together, such as the intelligence community and the defence, justice, health and human services, agriculture, and energy depart- ments, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Health. Certainly, we need to envisage a better partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Health and Human Services, one capable of galvanising the public- health and medical sector in response to bioterrorism. Further, and with specific regard to the private sector, the expertise of the commercial pharmaceutical and biotech- nology sectors has yet to be genuinely leveraged.
The United States needs to develop integrated surge capabilities for the entire health-care system. We must first identify all existing assets and how they could be mobilised. Next, we need working strategies to be able to balloon care-giving efforts, at both the regional and national levels. Additionally, we need to reach out to the international health-care community to coordinate efforts and provide a global epidemiological surveillance and monitoring capa- bility with the resources to respond immediately to a crisis. Monitoring global infectious diseases helps build expertise and research and can provide advance warning for a bioter- rorist event. Here, too, is an example of where immediate strengthening of resources for national and international security purposes would have immediate secondary and tertiary benefits.
Biological agents also demonstrate more clearly why statecraft is of paramount importance. Many biological and chemical agents can be developed clandestinely, making the detection of programmes and/or acquisition of biologi- cal/chemical capabilities so vexing, as seen in Iraq. Furthermore, given that most biotechnology research and development is dual-use in nature, it is possible to wrap efforts to acquire offensive biological agents in a cloak of legitimate research. The danger of theft from Russia or of countries sharing information, technologies or materials with terrorists is considerable.
The task is enormous and requires efforts on many fronts: law enforcement, military, intelligence, finance, diplomacy, homeland defence, and health care. This effort of statecraft must bring together the greatest possible inter- national coalition and marshal all available resources to face this challenge. We cannot shy from it because of its magnitude. We can, and must overcome it.
CSIS analysis of the terrorist threat and responses, including details of an exercise simulating the effects of a bioterrorist attack on the United States, can be found at: www.csis.org
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