The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Ten Years After The 9/11 Commission Report: How Has the Terrorist Threat Evolved? 

9/11 Commission Report Ten years ago today the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States published the official account of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, The 9/11 Commission Report. A decade later, the Commission has reconvened as private citizens to "reflect on the changes of the past ten years and the emerging threats we face as a country." These reflections were published in a July 2014 Bipartisan Policy Center report titled, "Today's Rising Terrorist Threat and the Danger to the United States: Reflections on the Tenth Anniversary of The 9/11 Commission Report."

The former Commission members spoke with "some of the country's most senior current and recently retired national security leaders" to uncover the following five main findings:

  1. "The struggle against terrorism is far from over - rather, it has entered a new and dangerous phase;
  2. Foreign fighters returning from Syria (and now Iraq) pose a grave threat to the U.S. homeland and Western Europe;
  3. Cyber readiness lags far behind the threat;
  4. Congress has proved resistant to needed reforms; and
  5. Counterterrorism fatigue and a waning sense of urgency among the public threaten U.S. security."

The report makes its plea clear: "young Americans need to know that terrorism is not going away." According to the report, public awareness on issues such as the resurgence and transformation of al Qaeda, Syria, and cyber threats continues to lag behind official Washington's. "If this gap persists, the political support for needed national security capabilities will fade."

To remedy this gap, and maintain support for counterterrorism efforts, the report offers recommendations that promote an intergovernmental approach to these efforts. A brief overview of the recommendations can be found in the report's accompanying one-page summary.