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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

 

Lee H. Hamilton is president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He served as vice chair of the 9/11 Commission and was cochair, along with James A. Baker, of the Iraq Study Group.

Bruce Hoffman is a professor of security studies at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Brian Michael Jenkins is senior advisor to the president of the RAND Corporation.

Paul R. Pillar spent twenty-eight years in the U.S. intelligence community and is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University.

Xavier Raufer is director of studies and research in the Research Department on the Contemporary Criminal Menace and a professor at the Paris Institute of Criminology, University of Paris II.

Walter Reich is the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Professor of International Affairs, Ethics and Human Behavior and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University.

Fernando Reinares is a professor of political science and security studies at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, and director of the Programme on Global Terrorism at the Elcano Royal Institute for International and Strategic Studies.

The above authors are Members of the Council on Global Terrorism.

Essay Types: Essay