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Lectures Addressed Terrorist Attempts to Defeat Military and Law Enforcement Response; Patterns of Radicalization in Homegrown Violent Extremists

By Brendan Hall, Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups (CIWAG)

April 29, 2013

NEWPORT, R.I. -- U.S. Naval War College (NWC) faculty participated in a training event for the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-terrorism Advisory Council for the State of Rhode Island in Providence, R.I., on April 23.

Professor Andrea Dew, Strategy and Policy department and co-director of the Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups, and professor Chris Jasparro, National Security Affairs department, presented lectures during the event.  Brian Pires,  the national security specialist for U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha, and the director of the Rhode Island Anti-terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC) facilitated the engagement attended by approximately 30 interagency participants.

Also in attendance were members of the NWC security staff including Director of Security Paul Gately, Physical Security Specialist James Hull, and Industrial Security Officer Sandra Blogette, in addition to Naval Station Newport Police Major Mike Bodell and Master-at-Arms 1st Class Andrew Howard.

“The interagency needs to play well together,” said Pires, an NWC alumnus. “There exists an amazing array of tools and intelligence resources which could be better leveraged if agencies had greater visibility into each other’s playbooks and respective fields of play.”

The timely lectures by Dew and Jasparro sought to educate federal, state, and local counter-terrorism specialists and first-responders on developments in terrorists’ tactics and came roughly one week after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Dew’s lecture “Terrorist Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures Orchestrated to Defeat the Military and Law Enforcement Response” used the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks as a case study highlighting the lengths to which armed groups go in order to counter state opposition in high-profile attacks.

“The Mumbai attacks in 2008 demonstrate what 10 men can do to create panic and terror in a large city,” said Dew. “They spread out law enforcement responses across the city by arriving via the ocean, attacking in multiple places and planting bombs in taxis, and laying siege to two iconic hotels for three days. As the law enforcement professionals in the training session commented, developing the habits of professional cooperation including training together and sharing intelligence, in addition to tracking regional and transnational threats, are vital for disrupting and responding to these kinds of attacks.”

Jasparro finished the training for the day with his lecture “Understanding and Responding to Homegrown Violent Extremism.” Not lost on those in the room was the real-world nature of the content.

“Today, non-state actors operating in ungoverned and under-governed spaces are linked to hostile actors at home through a myriad of online forums and publications,” said Pires. “We are seeing criminality financing terrorist operations as well as more operatives with criminal pasts, as lesser trained but ideologically committed homegrown terrorists keep us busy until the next ‘spectacular.’

“This certainly is true in Africa where the term smugglers, transnational organized criminals, or terrorists can alternately be used, suggesting the need for an orchestrated strategy between Department of Defense and Department of Justice component agencies.”

Edited and posted by Cmdr. Carla M. McCarthy