(cyber, WMD/CBRN, violent extremist)

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Domestic terrorists and homegrown violent attackers in the United States, as well as international entities such as ISIL and al-Qaeda, pose threats emerging from violent extremist groups. It is important to note that small groups or lone offenders are frequently radicalized to conduct violence, either at home or abroad, and therefore become foreign fighters. Because of the ideology of modernisation, there has been an upsurge in incidents associated with violent extremists in the United States. Due to the increased use of the internet and social media in the process of sharing ideas and updates, there is a massive recruitment of youths as well as a radicalization of the same to violence. In this way, the use of conventional measures to identify and disrupt all terrorists is equally unmatched. Acts perpetrated by violent extremists in the United States can have far-reaching impacts, and for that reason, countering violent extremism (CVE) has turned out to be a significant focus of the work of Department of Homeland Security to secure the homeland. CVE focuses on addressing the root causes of violent extremisms, and this aim is achieved via providing resources to communities so that they can build and also maintain local prevention efforts. Also, there arises the need to promote the use of counter-narratives that are necessary for addressing violent extremist messaging in the online sector of communication. This section of the paper discusses the Mandalay Bay attack that represents a form of an unconventional attack in the US that led to the death of at least 59 people, thus termed as the deadliest US shooting.

Since the Cold War ended, the phrase 'unconventional threat' has been prominent among the intelligence community, the armed forces and the civilian strategists in America. Besides, there has been a proliferation of the types of unconventional threats (Eikenberry, 2015). As has been described by the US Department of Defense 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the categories of unconventional threats in the future security of the country have been expanded. The security risks entail the development of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), piracy, criminal networks, as well as the potential application of biological agents that are lethal (Eikenberry, 2015). As reported by The Guardian, at least 59 people were killed in what was termed as the deadliest mass shooting in the modern history of United States.

The attack happened when a gunman started shooting on an open-air music festival that was held on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino and hotel on Las Vegas strip (Criss, 2017; Hernandez, McCarthy, & McGowan, 2017). Besides, the Las Vegas police reported that approximately 527 individuals were injured on the spot, and the casualty figures rose significantly hours later. The attack was severe in that it, being an unconventional attack, saw the death toll surpass the June 2016 shooting that happened at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando when 49 individuals were killed.

As has been described by Eikenberry (2015), unconventional threats currently involve a plethora of issues that can potentially be heightened to the degree of having urgent national as well as international security impacts. Since there is a consensus that terror is a tactic, since 9/11, the DoD in the US has put in place measures for surveillance and protection of the population against unconventional attacks. NSA has established bulk surveillance programs that are aimed at identifying potential threats, stop terrorists and thus protect the US population.

Even though the surveillance programs have received an uproar regarding the threats such programs pose to privacy, the Obama administration categorically defended them as legal, claiming that they had combated numerous terrorist attacks in the country. During Berlin visit, President Obama supported the surveillance programs used by NSA claiming that they had averted at least 50 threats, not just in the United States but also outside the country, such as in Germany (Cahall, Bergen, Sterman, & Scheider, 2014). However, according to critics, warrantless mass data collection directed towards prevention of terrorist attacks in the US have not proven to be significant in mitigating unconventional terror threats since 9/11 (Yoo, 2014).

As posited by Baldino (2016), there is considerably little evidence to prove that bulk electronic collection, as protected by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, has had positive impacts in enhancing efforts for maintaining national security. There is the claim that the “50 threats” assertion by intelligence officials and President Obama (attempting to portray the widespread security gains of bulk intelligence programs) is not just speculative but also deceptive and ambiguous (Yoo, 2014).

Explain how U.S. would/should apply the all-hazards approach to your selected event. Include in your response how you would prevent, reduce, or mitigate such events in the future.

In the past several decades, the field of emergency management in the US has not only grown but also changes in great measures. During the 1960s, emergency managers greatly relied on an acted fundamentally under a "civil-defense" mindset. However, critics pointed out that there lacked coordination by various government bodies in responding to emergency since there was no single entity at the federal level that was charged with efforts involving oversight of Federal response and recovery. It was this criticism that prompted President Jimmy Carter on April 1, 1979, to create the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (Gregory, 2015). The creation of the agency saw great changes in the emergency management field, i.e., to shift to the application of an "all-hazards" approach to managing emergencies. After September 11th, the approach incorporated terrorism and natural disasters as significant factors to consider in the management of emergencies as well as protection of the US population. There is the need to understand that following the 9/11 terror attack, the US constructed the Department of Homeland Security and hence downgraded FEMA that was primarily charged with the protection of civilians.

The Las Vegas shooting was a horrific attack considering the number of casualties it caused. Therefore, the all-hazards approach should be applied to manage such occurrences in future. The all-hazard emergency management has numerous advantages in regard to maintaining national security (Gregory, 2015). Considering the shooting occurred in a crowded area, the all-hazard approach should have applied to combat such a threat in that all security organizations should have worked together to identify the imminence of the matter. Besides, there is coordination between all agencies in the four forms of emergency management namely, mitigation, preparedness, response as well as attack. (Chung, 2013)As further explained by Gregory (2015), such sort of coordination is necessary for the prevention of confusion and resource wastage that is seen whenever different entities act on their own, i.e., independently of each other while at the same time seeking to accomplish common goals.

The Las Vegas mass shooting had a considerably high number of casualties that evidently could have been prevented if the all-hazard emergency management approach was put in place. By making use of the preparedness and response parts of emergency management, there would have been a useful response in evacuating the individuals in the hall and thus, ensure minimum casualties. Besides, the approach should have been used by the US terror response team since it ensures that organizations are better placed to consolidate resources since there is the creation of a single and joint plan (Gregory, 2015). Therefore, the various entities charged with preparing for and responding to such emergencies would have been consolidated, hence gain the benefit of resource sharing thus reduced costs of operation.

Such horrific shootings in future should be avoided at all costs to ensure that the public feels the necessary security and also restore their confidence towards emergency management agencies. According to my perspective, massive shooting is one of the threats that can be prevented efficiently if all the security agencies work in coordination. There is the need to ensure there are efficient screening measures in any event that attracts a vast number of people. For instance, the concerned management during events such as election campaigns and music concerts that usually flock with people should be committed to ensuring the safety of those attending. This can be attained by imposing background checks before purchasing guns since four out of five Americans support this cause (Kristof, 2017). There is also the need to establish a preventive measure that enforces a ban on possession of firearms by any individual involved in a domestic violence (Rubens & Shehadeh, 2014). These measures will prevent and or mitigate massive and horrific shootings in future by keeping guns out of the wrong hands.


Baldino, D. (2016). The security benefits of warrantless surveillance are as clear as mud. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from Conversation: http://theconversation.com/the-security-benefits-of-warrantless-surveillance-are-as-clear-as-mud-49278

Cahall, B., Bergen, P., Sterman, D., & Scheider, E. (2014). Do NSA's Bulk Surveillance Programs Stop Terrorists? Retrieved October 22, 2017, from New America: https://www.newamerica.org/international-security/policy-papers/do-nsas-bulk-surveillance-programs-stop-terrorists/

Chung, J. (2013). Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Management: Keeping a Proper Balance. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from Brookings: https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/counter-terrorism-and-emergency-management-keeping-a-proper-balance/

Criss, D. (2017). The Las Vegas attack is the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/02/us/las-vegas-attack-deadliest-us-mass-shooting-trnd/index.html

Eikenberry, K. W. (2015). Thoughts on Unconventional Threats and Terrorism. Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy, 1-9.

Gregory, P. A. (2015). Reassessing the Effectiveness of All-Hazards Planning in Emergency Management. Political Science, 7 (6), 1-2.

Hernandez, D., McCarthy, T., & McGowan, M. (2017). Mandalay Bay attack: at least 59 killed in deadliest US shooting. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/02/las-vegas-active-shooter-harvest-country-music-festival

Kristof, N. (2017). Preventing Mass Shootings Like the Vegas Strip Attack. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/02/opinion/mass-shooting-vegas.html

Rubens, M., & Shehadeh, N. (2014). Gun Violence in United States: In Search for a Solution. Front. Public Health, 2 (17), 1-3.

Yoo, J. C. (2014). The Legality of the National Security Agency's Bulk Data Surveillance Programs. Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, 10 (2), 301-326.

May 02, 2023

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Terrorism Al-Qaeda

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Expertise War on Terror
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