Making the Grade: From A to F, How the U.S. Measures Up in its Struggle Against Global Extremism

Making the Grade: From A to F, How the U.S. Measures Up in its Struggle Against Global Extremism

Mini Teaser: The results are in. Did the United States pass the test? Leading terrorism experts hand in their marks on U.S. efforts.

by Author(s): Lee H. HamiltonBruce HoffmanBrian Michael JenkinsPaul R. PillarXavier RauferWalter ReichFernando Reinares

Grade Key
A-Superior Success
B-Important Gains
C-Muddling Through
D-Losing Meaningful Ground
F-Red Flag Alert

I. Combating Islamic Extremist Terrorism
Overall Grade: D+

 Al-Qaeda headquarters

 C

 Al-Qaeda affiliated groups (e.g., Jemaah Islamiyah & Lashkar-e-Taiba)

 C

 Al-Qaeda seeded groups (e.g., London & Madrid bombing culprits)

 D+

 Al-Qaeda inspired groups (e.g., Hofstad Network & JFK Airport attack plotters)

 D

 Sympathizers

 D-

II. Improving U.S. & Coalition Counterterrorism Capabilities
Overall Grade: C+

 Reforming intelligence capabilities

 C+

 Improving law-enforcement capabilities

 C

 Transforming military capabilities

 C

 Improving money-tracking capabilities

 C+

 Cooperation & coordination between branches of government

 B-

 Cooperation & coordination between local, state and federal government

 C+

 Cooperation & coordination between allies

 B-

III. Creating an Effective Coalition to Fight Terrorism
Overall Grade: C

 Creating effective, regional counterterrorism coalitions

 C

 Enlisting great powers in the counterterrorism effort

 C-

 Bringing Muslim nations into the war on terror

 D+

 European Union-U.S. cooperation in the war on terror

 B-

 Passage of effective laws to strengthen international counterterrorism standards

 C+

 Efforts to help willing but weak states better police territory and deny terrorist groups safe havens

 C-

 Deterring state sponsorship of terrorism

 C

IV. Preventing Terrorist Attack with Nukes, Dirty Bombs, Germs & Chemicals
Overall Grade: C

 Priority given to preventing terrorists from acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons

 C+

 Effectiveness of international counterproliferation policies

 C+

 Efforts to secure nuclear-weapons materials in Russia

 C+

 Efforts to stop CBRN technology transfers

 B-

 Ability to locate and dismantle nuclear-proliferation networks

 C

 Ability to prevent WMD scientists from cooperating with terrorists

 C

 Attempts to deter North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons

 C+

 Attempts to deter Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons

 D+

 Effectiveness of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

 D+

V. Protecting the U.S. Homeland
Overall Grade: C

 Effectiveness of the Department of Homeland Security

 C-

 Increasing aviation security

 B-

 Improving cargo screening

 C

 Protecting U.S. borders

 C-

 Improving the ability to track potential terrorists/dangerous cargo traveling by air and sea

 C+

 Protecting critical infrastructure

 C-

 Increasing the security of mass transit

 C-

 Preventing cyber attack

 C-

 Improving emergency response to terrorist attack

 C+

VI. Balancing Security & Core Values
Overall Grade: D-

 Balance between expanded U.S. counterterrorism authority and respect for civil liberties

 D

 Appropriateness of domestic intelligence gathering in the United States

 C-

 Balance between due process and extraordinary threats

 D

 Balance between international law and national-security concerns

 D-

 Balance between intelligence gathering through coercive interrogation and respecting commitments against torture

 D-

 Balance struck on these issues by partners in counterterrorism

 D+

VII. Reversing Islamic Radicalization
Overall Grade: D-

 Preventing the export and spread of intolerant Wahhabism

 D-

 Countering the impact of radical imams, mosques and madrassas

 D

 Combating the spread of radicalism in prisons

 D

 Destroying bin Laden's image as an Islamic hero

 D

 Managing the Sunni-Shia divide within Islam to counter the sway of extremists in both camps

 D

 Supporting moderate and reformist Muslims to help them counter radical idealogues in the struggle for Islam's future

 C-

 Minimizing the radicalization of second-generation immigrants

 C-

 Preventing terrorist use of the Internet for recruitment and propaganda

 D-

VIII. High-Risk Areas
Overall Grade: D-

 Reforming autocratic regimes of the Middle East

 D-

 Promoting the rise of elected, nonviolent political parties

 D-

 Preventing takeovers of countries by violent extremists

 D+

 Stemming high-risk areas from becoming hot beds of al-Qaeda-motivated terrorism

 D

 Denying sanctuary and safe havens

 D

IX. Shaping Long-Term Solutions
Overall Grade: D

 Addressing long-term causes of Islamic radicalization, be they economic, religious, political or societal

 D-

 Helping Muslims in the West assimilate

 D+

 Implementing foreign-policy necessities while minimizing anger in the Muslim world

 D-

 Countering conspiracy theories and anti-Americanism with overt and/or covert public diplomacy

 D+

 Decreasing U.S. dependence on oil

 D-

X. Rating the Future Terrorist Threat Over the Next Five Years
Key:
1=Least likely
5=Most likely

 Rate the probability that the greatest threat of Islamic extremism will emanate from authoritarian societies in the Middle East

 4

 Rate the impact of ungoverned territories in weak or failed states on the terrorist threat

 4

 Rate the chance of Iraq becoming a terrorist incubator, training ground and networking haven like Afghanistan

 4

 Rate the likelihood that networks recruiting Islamic radicals for war in Iraq and Afghanistan will be reversed to bring seasoned terrorists back to the West

 4

 Rate the likelihood that terrorists and criminals will work more closely together

 3

 Rate the danger posed by the emergence of new or renewed Shia terrorism

 4

 Rate the likelihood that radical Islamic ideology and its sympathizers will continue to spread in the short term and long term

 5

 Rate the significance of the restive Islamic diaspora in the West to the future terrorist threat

 4

 Rate the chance of al-Qaeda launching another successful 9/11-type attack

 4

 Rate the chance that terrorists will use WMD against the United States or its allies

 3

 Rate the chance that terrorists will explode a dirty bomb against the United States or its allies

 4

 Rate the chance that the increase in suicide bombings will continue and become a mainstay of Islamic terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies

 4

Essay Types: Essay