Terrorism and Cybercrime are the greatest security threats currently affecting the United States. Terrorism can be domestic or international where domestic terrorism focuses only on facilities or people without any foreign help, for example, the terrorism which happened in Oklahoma City in 1995 where Murrah Federal Building was bombed by local terrorists (Clapper, 2014). International terrorism is foreign based and is coordinated by strong forces outside the United States. A great example is the 9/11 terrorism which happened in 2001 where World Trade Centre building was bombed by members of Al-Qaida group (Maples, 2007). Cyber warfare is another significant threat where it involves the use of computer technology to attack information systems of the state.
Terrorism is the greatest threat to the United States since the great 9/11 terrorist act which affected over 3000 victims who were mostly civilians (Maples, 2007). The nations intelligence system through The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has identified both domestic and international terrorists, and they have developed ways to counter them for the security of its citizens. Domestic terrorism, in particular, has caused severe harm and devastation to the country. However, the counterterrorism agency has faced many challenges in controlling terrorism due to a growing number of terrorist groups in the world who have become more networked and hard to track them. Major terrorist groups affecting the US include ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Taliban (Clapper, 2014).
The United States government has categorized international terrorists into three categories- sponsored terrorists, formalized terrorists and the radical global jihad movement. Sponsored terrorists are mostly sponsored by countries where they originate. The recent cases in the country are of countries like Libya, Iran, and Sudan who have been accused of sponsoring terrorists to affect the peace stability in the United States (Spindlove & Simonsen,2013). This has stalled international cooperation between the US and those countries since it is against foreign policy. Formalized terrorists are the second type where they include the Irish Republic Army, the Egyptian El-Gama Al-Islamiyya (IG), Palestine Hamas and Hizballah of Lebanon. FBI has listed Hizballah terrorist organization as the most dangerous to the United States since it receives funding and support from supporters living in the country and can support terrorism-related activities inside the US and at the same time planning terrorist campaigns on an international basis (Maples, 2007). Formal extremist organizations in recent years have carried out frequent attacks against the US.
Radical Islamist Jihadi terrorist organizations are the major threat to the United States. Since the assault by Al-Qaeda Organization in 2001, several groups have emerged. ISIS organization which is very composed of different talents with members from many countries is the current group which attacks different parts of United States and all over Europe. ISIS has inflicted harm on United States political, social and economic domains because it needs proper strategies to control them which is very expensive (Spindlove & Simonsen,2013).
Apart from international terrorist groups, the domestic terrorist groups also have been listed as very harmful to the country. The United States also have categorized them into two broad categories- right-wing and left-wing terrorist organization. The right-wing terrorist groups include the Aryan Nations, the World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) and the National Alliance which have uses racism-based hatred propagation to carry on their activities (Clapper, 2014). However, these groups defend their acts of racial supremacy and anti-regulatory beliefs through constitution because the constitution guarantees freedom of speech and assembly and only the law enforcement agencies work on them if their talk results to illegal action. The radical terrorist groups use capitalism and imperialism such that they argue that they are protecting the people from the ultimate effects of those acts. Through that doctrine, they can infuse distrust within the minds of people on the government, and this will be dangerous since people will start supporting them and revolve against the government (Clapper, 2014).
The recent warning by the National Security Agency about cyber Pearl Harbor is one of the reasons why cyber warfare has become a significant threat to the United States. Russia, North Korea, and China have continuously launched cyber-attacks on the US by hacking private companies and undermining foreign ministries through manipulating information to shape opinions using online tools and also using digital mercenaries to do the work. Recently, hackers from Iran attacked US banks and a dam in New York while North Korean operatives hacked Sony when they were about to release a comedy about North Korean Leader by releasing damaging emails. During the recent US elections, Russia was accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee thus undermining the integrity of the election. The United States, however, lack enough experience to deal with cyber-crime, and their policies are so strict with overly impenetrable barriers between cleared cyber operators and those who are not cleared to carry out the governments business (Theohary & Rollins,2015).
The US government usually treats cyber operations as a private field hence making it difficult to share within the government or publicly because the hacking incidents become classified once they reach the state level. Tracking malicious actors can be a hard task since they are capable of hiding their tracks and making it appear that the hack was carried by somebody else. The United States, however, has responded through engaging in cyber-attacks on Russia and North Korea. The recent cases were when North Korea experienced a widespread blackout for nearly 10 hours, and the US was blamed though not confirmed and the sabotage of Iranian nuclear facility in 2010 was another action by Americas Stuxnet virus being engineered by Israel (Theohary & Rollins,2015).
Measures to Be Taken Against Security Threats
To combat terrorism in the United States, the government should invest in intelligence service and security system by developing the effective response if terrorism occurs and involving communities to watch terrorism. The intelligence should be well skilled to be able to detect terrorism act way before it occurs and the government should direct greater resources to physical security since the terrorists can attack anywhere from bridges, restaurants to churches. The ineffective response, the government should have specialized units to deal with hostage situations and emergency medical personnel in cases of terrorism action. The community members should be enlisted in surveillance since they are the ones being targeted.
In controlling cyber-attacks, the government through secret service should focus on identifying and locating international cybercriminals who hack banks and breach data. Though they have contributed to arrest of transnational cyber criminals who stole hundreds of millions of credits cards, they should go further ahead and tame rising cases of cyber-attacks which has possessed a greater threat to the country. They also should deliver computer-based technical services to support international investigations on cybercrime and provide information on when and how to report cyber-crime cases.
Role of Lone Terrorist to Domestic and International Threat
ISIS is a new terrorist group which has caused a lot of terror activities in Europe and other parts of the world. They have relied on an interpretation that is misguided of the teachings of Islam by violating the fundamental values of the Islamic faith to defend their crimes. They have carried out terrorism all over the world with recent cases in Manchester London and France which have prompted UN Security Council to resolve that the ISIS is a criminal group which needs to be stopped using all measures possible in different states mainly armed interventions. The Security Council also approved the use of airstrikes and help in training Iraqi and Syrian rebels on the ground to combat ISIS (Spindlove & Simonsen,2013).
These domestic and international threats affecting the United States have to be treated seriously, and the government should come up with security policies to combat the rising cases of international terrorism.
Clapper, J. R. (2014). Worldwide threat assessment. Testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, April, 11(201), 3.
Maples, L. G. M. D. (2007). Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States. January, 11, 20-25.
Spindlove, J. R., & Simonsen, C. E. (2013). Terrorism today: The past, the players, the future (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Theohary, C. A., & Rollins, J. W. (2015). Cyber warfare and cyber terrorism: In brief. Congressional Research Service, 27.
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