The US National and International Counterterrorism Strategy

The acts of terrorists demand strong opposition and active censorship by the global nations, given that they incorporate behaviors, which affront the collective ethics. Terrorism activities violate human values hence resulting in the suffering of the blameless as well as mislay of human lives. This implies that international and national humanitarian laws endorse all counterterrorism activities and strategies. Besides, counterterrorism laws have been codified in the Geneva and The Hague rules on war actions and are equally pertinent themes for bilateral mediation.

After the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the National Security Strategy for the United States materialized to be comprehensive and rather centered on incorporating the new terror campaigns pronunciation as well as threat evaluations that the nation faced (Kugler 111).

The key features of the counterterrorism strategies are made apparent by the presence of the well-coordinated and integrated national and international security, law enforcement, as well as various intelligence agencies. The key elements in the national and international counterterrorism strategies meant to address the post-September 11 terrorist attacks include the defenses, intentions, capabilities, and roots.


In the international and national counterterrorism strategies, the defenses against terrorists’ attacks incorporate the physical defenses, anti-terrorist resistance, and security measures. However, the defenses against anti-terrorist activities are amongst the largest fractions of the United States strategic struggle to combat terrorism. Also, the federal administration has formed technical support and working group to continuously research and develop the novel anti-terrorist equipment and knowhow.

Nevertheless, it is anticipated that it might be unreasonably costly to guard everything in the sight of terrorism perpetrators. The Crowe group accredited this by asserting that there were insufficient funds to execute all the activities that ought to have been done (Metzler 313). As a result, the United Nations resorted to the partial solutions that were occasionally vulnerable in case of high terrorism threat levels. Besides, terrorism architects usually change the targeted areas when they have limited chances to carry out their activities because of tight security or defense counter-measures.


Terrorists carry out activities that they believe matter a lot to the rest of the world. Terrorists’ actions are meant to destabilize, cause problems to the entire humanity, and prove the vulnerability as well as the inefficiency of the security, anti-terrorism, and intelligence measures. According to the United States policies on terrorism, it is clearly stated that irrespective of the intentions of terrorists, the country will hardly make any concessions to the terror campaign activist (Metzler 323).

It is argued that when terrorism is not rewarded, then terrorists will lack the motivation to execute their terror campaign strategies. Whereas the United States occasionally compromised terrorist acts, for instance, the Contra-Iran affair, the demands made by most hardcore terrorists are incorrigible, thus limiting this counterterrorism element. Hence, there are barely any means of influencing the terrorists’ long-term intentions.


The United States counterterrorism strategy focuses on the reduction of terrorism architects’ abilities to carry out attacks in the country. Nonetheless, terrorism planners may hardly need much ability to exact mass casualties (Hillebrand, 77).


The United States national security strategy does not comprehend terrorism roots as an asymmetric menace even though terror campaigns hardly occur at random (Bossong 44). This implies that an unambiguous strategy to tackle and manage these threats is required and without it, the present counterterrorism measures will remain unproductive in preventing the potential terror campaigns.

The main defect in the United States global and state counterterrorism plan is the role downplayed by the US in the conflict involving Israel and Arabs. In reality, the Muslims and Arabs claimed that the United States appeared to be inclined towards the Israelites. Moreover, the policies enacted by the United States during the time of fiscal sanctions in Iraq ended in Iraqi warfare, which also caused the Islamic terror campaigns.

The counterterrorism strategy adopted by the US similarly mischaracterized the reasons why Al Qaeda waged the holy war against the crusaders and the United States. In fact, through jihad, Al Qaeda only expressed their detestation towards the democracy, freedom, and civilization of the Western nations that were not compatible with the literature of Al Qaeda (Bossong 54).

That is, the terrorist groups were aggravated by the sanctions the United States imposed on the Middle East. The US policies enabled Israel to conquer and occupy Palestine, Muslims in Iraq suffered while others were killed, and the insulting culture of the West was imposed on the traditions endorsed by Muslims. The terror campaign activists also perceived the existence of the United States armed forces in Saudi Arabia as an abuse of the sanctified land for Muslims.

The national and international counterterrorism plans adopted by the United States highlight the part played by democracy towards eradicating terrorist activities via advancing self-respect and liberty for all human beings by effectual consensus. In some instances, the United States regime failed to give priority to the promotion of democracy in countries such as Iran, Israel, and the Middle East. Hence, given that the foreign policies used by the United States lacked consistency, it showed that the counterterrorist strategies employed by the US had some gaps.

The implementation of these key elements

Given the fact that terrorism is both national and international threat, countering strategies must also involve both national and international solutions. The US, in particular in the recent past, has adopted several measures aimed at combating the terrorist threat in both national and international fronts. The commonly used strategy is the use of diplomacy, which many scholars term as soft power and the use of military force or the hard power (Gottlieb 205).

The most important is strengthening homeland security as well as improving the quality of their intelligence networks. However, whichever strategy used could not be comprehensive enough to combat the threat of terror. Several strategies must be integrated and adopted depending on the situation and the type of threat the country is dealing with. As Gottlieb indicated, soft power alone cannot be claimed as the only solution 207.

On the other hand, the use of military force cannot destroy the terrorist bases. Therefore, both strategies must be employed but in a more skilled and intelligent manner. The full implementation of the key elements can be coined together as strengthening the national capacity in dealing with terrorist threats.

Strengthening the national capacity

To respond to the threat of terrorism within the national borders, countries must update, and integrate all the security paraphernalia and work together because terrorism is a common enemy. Advanced countries must take the lead in ensuring that weapons such as nuclear that can cause a global catastrophe are not in the hands of terrorists or are not accessible to the terrorists’ cells and their supporters.

This can only be achieved through global cooperation in nuclear deterrent capabilities as well as enhancing the nation’s capacities in dealing with their national terrorist asymmetric threats. Developed countries including the US and those within the European Union must invest heavily in international diplomacy towards countering the threats of terrorism in addition to increasing not only their capabilities but also of the developing countries and their institutions to mitigate and respond to any terrorist threat (Cragin and Gerwehr 78).

In other words, international institutions should be complementary and reinforcing each other in the fight against terrorism. The USA, in particular, should have intelligence capabilities that are continuously evolving in response to the new threats posed by terrorism. Also, the security intelligence should promptly make out, set apart the conventional and asymmetric threats, and offer well-timed insights.

The US, together with other countries, should improve their skills and capabilities as well as integrating them within the security and civilian institutions to complement each other and function without any glitches.

This means that improving capabilities should be focused on important areas that were missed before or were never develop, improve coordinated planning, and policymaking. For this to be achieved, the US must reach out and pursue close cooperation with allied countries, especially those within the Arab world where terrorism is believed to have originated. These countries are integral in strategy formulation, policymaking, monitoring the operations as well as in the integration process.

Within the domestic front, there is a need to join and integrate the personnel of all the security agencies to attain the needed security goals. Moreover, enhanced harmonization of core functions of all the security agencies and departments is highly required. However, it is important to incorporate more resources with the national security policies, develop the proficiencies of national security professionals through additional training and advanced education to be capable of dealing with present challenges of terror campaigns. Also, strong administrative structures should be put in place to come up with mechanisms that will foster coordinated programs, including policy formulation, financing, implementation monitoring, and evaluation.


The military and other security agencies should be strengthened through the provision of skilled work force and equipment to ensure that they prevail over the modern war on terror. Most importantly, it is to prevent threats against national security as well as national interests all over the world. These security capabilities should also be extended to the US allies and partners.

The military should be in a position to defend the nation in a variety of unforeseen threats acting against the state. The military capabilities should be rebalanced to excel in all sorts of national and international threats, including insurgency, terrorism as well as other sophisticated security threats.

The military should also be involved in stability as well as other full military operations around the globe. In addition to increasing the military capabilities, much of the resources should also be spent on the new technologies that are capable of countering the new techniques advanced by terrorists. Strengthening the military in terms of skills, techniques, and equipment will form the basis through which other forms of soft power strategies will anchor (Gottlieb 211).

Therefore, the national defense forces capabilities must go beyond borders and decisively deal with terrorist threats found within other nations. Military capability is critical in dealing with terrorist threats. Gottlieb indicates that force must first be applied before any soft power tactics such as diplomacy are employed 244. Though this might not be the ultimate rule since each situation will require a different strategy, military capabilities, and strategies should be ahead of the terrorists’ cells around the world.


Diplomacy is central to the mitigation and administration of international terrorism. It is one of the strategies that have been pursued by many countries as it is seen as the most economical besides promoting international cooperation in the prevention and response to the threats posed by terrorism. In the US context, diplomacy is seen as fundamental to national security as well as enhancement of the defense capabilities (Chalk and Rosenau 164).

Diplomacy is the only way through which allied countries engage each other for common interests to learn from each other and seek a common ground towards a common threat. US diplomats as well as other international development stakeholders must work side by side with all other diplomats around the world in support of the common interests, which in this case, counter the terrorist threats.

For them to achieve this, diplomats must be equipped with the necessary skills to promote effective relations, organize, unite, and mobilize not only non-state actors but also the national and international organizations. Non-state actors, including the foundations, faith-based organizations, nongovernmental organizations, universities, foundations, and think tanks have a distinct role to play in both developmental and diplomatic issues (Gottlieb 209).

These diplomatic goals can only be attained if governments expand both their personnel and missions besides equipping them with new skills and technology. These are very fundamental in supporting and combating the ever-changing transnational nature of security challenges in the 21st century (Gottlieb 177). Also, developed governments must put in place appropriate mechanisms through which these diplomatic missions can be assisted on various security issues.


The economic institutions are very fundamental in a nation’s capacity in dealing with both internal and external threats. Another important component is the economic instruments. The nation’s economic apparatus is critical in determining continuous growth successes and authority. A vibrant economy requires international cooperation not only among the developed nations but also with the developing world as well as the emerging markets (Chalk and Rosenau 177). Therefore, seeking mutual economic interests among countries as well as sustained economic affiliation is significant fundamentals of any nation’s security stratagem.

However, economic cooperation should only be pursued with those countries that do not support or finance terrorist activities. Moreover, economic activities that increase the influence of terrorist activities should be done away with not only within the US but also around the world. In other words, economic activities including the production of weapons of mass destruction, terror bombs used by terrorists should be discouraged, and those countries that engage in such activities should be sanctioned.

In essence, mutual economic relationships and interests around the world should be based in engaging on those economic activities that are geared towards advancing the common good of human life. The increased economic capacity of a nation is critical in funding technological advancements aimed at augmenting the military capabilities as well as other capabilities that can be used to counter terrorist threats (Gottlieb 207). Therefore, the US must thrive on building a strong, vibrant, and sustainable economy to attain its goals of combating terrorists’ threats not only within but also around the world.


Improvements in all fronts are one of the most important premeditated, cost-effective, and honorable for any nation. Developed countries should put a lot of emphasis on helping developing countries in their management of security threats. As indicated before, managing security requires huge economic investments and development in terms of skills, technology, and infrastructures (Chalk and Rosenau 211).

Developed countries cannot fund all these developments. However, they can support developing countries to take advantage of the long-drawn-out worldwide financial systems, establish autonomous and responsible organizations that are geared towards serving the fundamental individual desires. Enhancing non-hard-line and positive developmental issues, making available proportionate capital, establishing closure relationships should be encouraged between countries. These are essential in stopping inconsistencies among countries and respond to global terrorist networks.

Strengthening homeland security

Strengthening homeland security is essential in mitigating and countering both internal and external terrorist threats. Homeland security encompasses all security functions, including civil defense, emergency response, customs, law enforcement, immigrations, and border patrols. Therefore, these functions must be adapted and integrated to confront new threats from terrorism as well as other evolving threats (Gottlieb 217). For the security apparatus to achieve their goals, they must be equipped with the necessary skills as well as the knowledge that will enable them to deal with new and evolving challenges of terrorists’ threats around the world.

Since its approval in 2001, homeland security has made every effort to get better on its established purpose to confront up-and-coming terrorization and surfacing vulnerability. However, the agency should be strengthened, funded, and equipped to pursue its imperative goal of providing domestic security (Nacos 217). In essence, the agency approach should rely on shared efforts to attain its functions and support a homeland in which the interests, aspirations, as well as the way of life of all people, can thrive.

Improving the quality of intelligence networks

The success of all other security agencies will rely heavily on the quality of intelligence. Thus, the quality of intelligence collected and the ability to evaluate such information and timely sharing of the information not only with national security apparatus but also with other countries is imperative in timely countering the terrorist threats.

Also, the ability to counter intelligence threats is critical in providing the intelligence information used in executive decisions (Cragin and Gerwehr 35). Therefore, the agencies entitled with this function must always be up to date with current issues of intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination. To attain this goal, the agencies must be equipped with skilled personnel and equipment to get accurate information. Moreover, they must cooperate with other agencies around the world to increase their efficiency in information gathering, especially that is concerned with terror threats.


It is not enough to pursue one strategy to combat acts of terror. As Gottlieb indicated, one strategy alone cannot be used in all situations while dealing with terrorist threats 205. Hard power will always lay a foundation for soft power while dealing with terror threats around the world. Moreover, different situations call for different strategies. In essence, all strategies should be integrated, and all agencies must work together to counter terror threats around the world.

Works Cited

Bossong, Raphael. The Evolution of EU Counter-Terrorism: European security policy after 9/11. New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.

Chalk, Peter and Rosenau William. Confronting the “Enemy Within”: Security Intelligence, the Police, and Counterterrorism in Four Democracies. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2004. Print.

Cragin, Kim and Gerwehr Scott. Dissuading Terror: Strategic Influence and the Struggle Against Terrorism. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2005. Print.

Gottlied, Stuart. Debating Terrorism & Counterterrorism. Washington: CQ Press, 2009. Print.

Gottlied, Stuart. Debating Terrorism & Counterterrorism. Washington: CQ Press, 2010. Print.

Hillebrand, Claudia. Counter-Terrorism Networks in the European Union: Maintaining Democratic Legitimacy after 9/11. Great Clarendon Street, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.

Kugler, Richard. New Directions in U. S. National Security; Strategy, Defense Plans, and Diplomacy: A Review of Official Strategic Documents. Washington: NDU Press, 2011. Print.

Metzler, Harris. Country Reports on Terrorism 2012. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Pub Incorporated, 2012. Print.

Nacos, Brigitte. Selling Fear: Counterterrorism, the Media, and Public Opinion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. Print

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