Terrorism threatens the entire world and the United States does not stand alone. The United States, coupled with several countries, including Canada and Australia, and also including the United Nations, have vowed to protect their own countries as well as assist in protecting each other in the fight against terrorism. This is executed through advisement, as well as providing a physical presence that assists against this global threat.
Acts of terrorism can strike against virtually any target in just about any country in the world. When a terrorist attack occurs against U.S. interests overseas, Americans that are affected as well as the host nation need rapid, coordinated, effective assistance to resolve the situation. That is where the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) comes in. FEST was created to respond to situations when assistance by the United States is requested by the host government or directed by the President of the United States. The FEST has provided rapid assistance to Americans abroad and countries around the world which have suffered terrorist attacks (Department of State, n.d.).
The FEST is a rapid-response interagency team sent to support the President’s top representative in the host nation (Chief of Mission) and host government. During a terrorist incident the FEST provides a wide range of specialized skills. The Department of State, through the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, is the lead agency coordinating the FEST. Specifically, the FEST provides the Chief of Mission, host government leaders and incident managers’ guidance concerning U.S. capabilities to resolve terrorist incidents or mitigate the consequences of an incident/attack (Department of State, n.d.).
The FEST provides unique capabilities not normally available. On October 12, 2001, the FEST deployed in support of American Embassy Sanaa to Aden Yemen to coordinate the response to the USS Cole bombing. The FEST established their headquarters at a local hotel and provided valuable support to the Ambassador to include enhanced secure communications and reporting to Washington (Department of State, n.d.).
Australia is one of the biggest allies the United States has around the world. Under the laws of Australia, terrorist actions or threats have a political, ideological or spiritual origin that intimidate the Australian or foreign government, causing harm to people or property, creating a risk to the lives and safety to the citizens, or having a direct impact on trading or critical infrastructure. A ‘terrorist incident’ consists of a mixture of conditions that may lead to a terrorist act and will require mitigating or responsive actions (International Relations and Security Network (ISN), 2005).
The nature of terrorism means may cross jurisdictional boundaries. Because of these actions, mitigating actions and capabilities necessitates Australia must maintain a national, cooperative approach to counter terrorism. Detailed coordination and communication must take place amongst the jurisdictions to formalize. This coordination helped forge the Inter-governmental Agreement on Australia’s National Counter-Terrorism Arrangements of 24 October 2002 (ISN, 2005).
The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) National Threat Assessment Centre (NTAC) issues specific threat assessments (these include people, locations, and even interests). Jurisdictions and associated agencies make decisions on how to respond to specific threats and apply measures to decrease risk to an acceptable level. At any time, national counter-terrorism alert levels may be raised or lowered lower than ASIO threat assessment levels relating to specific people, locations, major events or (foreign) interests in Australia. Implemented security measures may also vary across jurisdictions or sectors in Australia (ISN, 2005).
Australia also uses a national public alert system that can be utilized at the judgment of the Prime Minister, Australian Government Attorney-General or other senior Australian Government minister. This alert is based upon previously agreed upon policies to inform the public of proper responses and handle public information and questions (ISN, 2005).
The states and territories are also responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining emergency plans that include the prevention and management consequences of chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) incidents. These plans are incorporated with counterterrorism plans (ISN, 2005).
In the event that a National Terrorist Situation is declared, the overall responsibility is transferred to the government of Australia. This could involve determining policy objectives, establishing priorities, pre-positioning assets, liaison amongst allies and determining public notification. Operational management and deployment of emergency services is the sole responsibility of individual states and territories (ISN, 2005).
In Canada, the fight against terrorism includes diplomacy, intelligence, security and law enforcement, customs and immigration, transportation, justice and finance expertise. All branches of government work together to identify and arrest terrorists, halt their operations, to protect and defend people, societies, and economies from terrorist attack and mitigate effects of any attack (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, 2007).
It is Canada’s idea to “practice like they would play”. In other words, the Canadian National Exercise Program (NEP) consists of training courses and operation center exercises that hone the national emergency response system. The government, first responders and active military officials must work together, simulating emergency situations that include natural disasters, health threats and possible terrorist attacks. Exercises are often held across department lines that also include provincial, territorial and municipal governments. This helps in ensuring well-organized and efficient responses (Public Safety Canada, 2008).
This pre-emptive strategy is based on the recognition by federal, provincial, and territorial governments that mitigation is an important ingredient of a strong emergency management framework and all stakeholders are dedicated to working together to support all of Canada. A successful strategy depends on contributions from all governmental levels. The mitigation strategy encourages new and developing activities (e.g. climate change adaptation, water and dam safety and the transportation dangerous goods) (Public Safety Canada, 2008).
It is the responsibility of the United Nations (UN) to ensure that peace is sought out when resolving deadly conflicts around the world and promote peace. The UN is dedicated to undertake pre-emptive measures to defeat terrorism, in particular by denying terrorists access the ability to carry out their assault to their desired goal of their attacks. The UN intends to help fully in the fight against terrorism, in accordance with the international law, to find, deny safe haven and bring to justice, any person who supports or participates in the financial backing, planning, preparation or execution of terrorist acts or provides safe havens to terrorists (UN, n.d.).
A good insurance program is a financial management tool or at least it is referred to this when adequately replacing assets when a situation did not go as planned. This insurance program will be used to repay lost revenues and the increased costs that are acquired as a result of reduced business activity following a loss (Kaye, 2007).
In order to prepare and improve the security and protection of vulnerable targets such as infrastructure and public places, the United States and allies must continue to work together. This global fight cannot be fought and won alone. This will not only be a global response, but a worldwide coordinated mitigation plan to prevent these acts from occurring.
Department of State. (n.d.). What is FEST? Retrieved April 9, 2008, from http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/2002/13045.htm#1.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. (2007, June 12). Terrorism. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/internationalcrime/terrorism-en.asp.
ISN. (2005, September 1). National Counter-Terrorism Plan. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from <http://se2.isn.ch/serviceengine/FileContent?serviceID=23&fileid=99CA5D08-6463-723F-15E4-553B8D27F1BB&lng=en>.
Kaye, D. (2007, January 1). Why do we need risk management, we're insured right? Disaster Management, 1(1), 12. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from http://www.ccep.ca/dmc/archive/dmcv1i1.pdf.
Public Safety Canada. (2008, February 13). Canada's national disaster mitigation strategy. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/em/ndms/strategy-eng.aspx#a033.
Public Safety Canada. (2008, February 13). National Exercise Program. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/em/nep/index-en.asp.
UN. (n.d.). United nations general assembly adopts global counter-Terrorism strategy. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from http://www.un.org/terrorism/strategy-counter-terrorism.shtml#poa2.
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