The Head of the Snake: Terrorist Planning Cells are the True Danger

June 15, 2016


European authorities are, once again, warning about a possible new influx of terrorist operatives planning attacks on the Continent. Potential targets include law enforcement, transportation hubs and US fast-food chains. The terrorists are making use of established human trafficking and refugee routes…similar to the MO we have been observing over the past couple of years.

While identifying and stopping these attackers before they arrive and disappear into the immigrant communities across Europe is critically important, it is only part of the solution – and a temporary victory at best. Unfortunately, suicide bombers/attackers are in plentiful supply around the world and stopping this next wave of volunteers will only delay the inevitable. Eventually, some of them will get through and we will see repeats of Brussels and Paris.

A more effective counter-terror strategy is the identification and disruption of the logistical teams that are already in place supporting these new attack teams. The logistics teams are the true brains behind every terror attack: they have conducted surveillance of intended targets, planned the most effective attack scenarios, secured weapons and explosives, and organized ingress and egress routes if escape is part of the plan. With all of these pieces already in place, it is a simple matter of preparing the new attack team(s) and inserting them into the plan. Identifying the actual attackers may temporarily disrupt the operation, but it will not eliminate the target list or stop the logistic cells from planning new attacks. Understanding terrorist surveillance and pre-attack planning techniques, and then focusing your security efforts “outside the perimeter” are key to detecting the discernible footprint that all terrorists leave.

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