Terrorism: more than just al-Qaeda may be in your back yard

  • Published
  • By SrA Travis Edwards
  • Nellis Air Force Base Public Affairs
In the wake of the attacks that took place on Sept. 11, 2001, the Department of Defense implemented new initiatives to thwart future attacks on U.S. soil.

These preventive measures were called “threat conditions.” It wasn’t until 2004 when the Defense Department revamped threatcon procedures into what we know now as Force Protection Conditions, or FPCONs.

The old threat conditions were just not specific enough, said an anti-terrorism official.

“We needed these new measures to not only prevent attacks from foreign terrorists, but domestic ones as well.

“These might not be the terrorists you’re thinking of,” he said. Not al-Qaeda or Hamas, but domestic extremist groups like the National Alliance, a white-supremacist group or the Animal Liberation Front, an animal activist group.

These domestic extremist groups among many others have been linked to such terrorist acts as arson, racial beatings, vandalism and death. Domestic terrorist groups can be placed into three different categories.

The first category is right-wing terrorism, which means, adhering to principles of racial supremacy and antigovernment, anti-regulatory beliefs. For instance, hate groups and militia movements.

Another category is left-wing terrorism, which is defined as sticking to revolutionary socialist doctrine, against capitalism and imperialism. Anarchists are seen as potential terrorists here.

The third category is special-interest terrorism, which is the influencing of specific issues rather than effecting broad change. “As Americans we are ignoring these domestic extremist groups because of the huge influence the mass media in our country is putting on international terrorists,” said the AT official.

There are five force-protection conditions that help keep installations at home safe from foreign and domestic terrorists: Normal, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta.

Each of the conditions denote a different level of security for the base. All of these steps are essential to the protection of our Air Force base and our country, said the official.

There are also some steps people can take at home to possibly prevent terrorist action.

“If you see suspicious activity or get confronted by an extremist group, disassociate yourself from the situation and call or locate the closest authority figure,” the official said.

When you do that, try to remember who the people were, how many were in the group, who the leader was, male or female, what the message they were trying to convey was and anything you might deem pertinent,” he said.

“The worst thing anyone can do is not report a suspicious activity,” the AT official said. “Because that one thing you don’t report could mean all the difference.

“Remember, we have to be lucky all the time; the terrorists, have to be lucky only once.”