Domestic Terrorism: Is America Prepared?   [open pdf - 2MB]

Within the United States' National Security Strategy, December 1999, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their possible use by terrorists are listed as a vital interest to our nation's security. Excluded from this vital interest are terrorist acts that involve the use of conventional bombs and weaponry. The United States is focused on a Nuclear/Biological/Chemical (NBC) terrorist attack; but it should be equally prepared for the more likely domestic terrorist attack using conventional bombs. A main focus of United States counter terrorism policy is the terrorist use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The Environmental Protection Agency's definition of WMD is: "Weapons or devices that are intended, or have the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people, through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic poisonous chemicals; disease organisms; or radiation or radioactivity." Governmental focus on deterrence, prevention, and managing the consequences of WMD is a vital national interest, but not at the expense of remaining equally dutiful in the war against terrorist conventional bombings that are not mentioned in the EPA's definition of WMD. In light of the global fear of WMD, terrorist use of conventional bombs may not receive the consideration it requires thus increasing America's vulnerability. The United States' government must strike a balance between combating the domestic terrorist use of WMD and conventional bombs. An equally vigilant posture against homeland bombings is America's greatest protection against domestic terrorism in the 21st century.

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