Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 13, 2007

Europe Updates Anti-Terrorism Strategy

Filed under: International HLS,Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on November 13, 2007

Reader Michael Stanton-Geddes sent in word from Brussels that the European Commission is evolving its counterterrorism (CT) strategy. Commissioner Franco Frattini, who has the Justice, Freedom and Security portfolio for the EC, rolled out the new CT “package” last week as we continue to review the Homeland Security strategy recently released on this side of the Pond. There are some similarities, but differences are apparent in substance as well as style.

Like the U.S. strategy, this EU document begins with an assessment of the threat. Both acknowledge that terrorism poses an evolving risk to respective civilian populations and both consider the potential threat of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons sought by terrorist groups. The threat assessments differ mostly at this point.

The U.S. is chiefly focused on al-Qaeda, whereas the EC doesn’t mention this group. Ours goes on to cite Hizbollah, al-Qaeda in Iraq, and even the threat of “homegrown terrorists.” The Europeans are surely aware of this last possibility, but they do not mention it in thier description of the threat. Of course, the potential audience on the Continent is far more heterogeneous than ours and the EC therefore faces a more daunting communications challenge in describing this difficult subject.

Europe’s more discrete efforts under this strategy reveal more similarities:

• Stopping violent radicalization;
• Protecting our critical infrastructure;
• Improving the exchange of information between national authorities and cooperation between all stakeholders when appropriate;
• Reacting to non conventional threats;
• Improving the detection of threats;
• Depriving terrorists of financial resources;
• Supporting victims;
• Research and technological development

The U.S. Strategy organizes its goals as follows:

• Prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks
• Protect the American people, critical infrastructure, and key resources
• Respond to and recover from incidents

It is important to note the similarities across the Atlantic when considering big-picture approaches such as those we’ll find in strategy documents. It is also important to note that the big picture is defined differently by the U.S. than by our allies overseas. While the EC document reaches beyond combating terrorists to more long term preventative measures (e.g. radicalization in general), the U.S. invests in management challenges (homeland securty management system) and cultural issues (preparedness, radicalization at home) to support its strategy.

Future posts will look into this ongoing update of Europe’s counterterrorism strategies. For more on this topic in the meantime, CDI published a detailed paper last year on EU CT efforts.  A CRS study released this summer provides a very helpful distillation of US-EU CT cooperation.  Finally, these recent posts offer relevant links and information:

9/11 Is Over?

Hearts, Minds, and the Homeland

Other HLSWatch posts on international HLS issues.

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3 Comments »

Comment by Christopher Tingus

November 13, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

It is indeed worthy for all of us to note the significant news from Brussels in the evolving counterterrorism (CT) strategy and the new CT package recently introduced.

Together, we must identify and understand the essential respective efforts and joint efforts to thwart those who seek our demise during this time of challenge and what many perceive as war.

I believe we all now fully understand the necessity to fully support the continued Homeland Security commitment on behalf of the good people of the United States of America and the European Union and to those in the Middle East, Asia, Africa as well all those who understand the merit in preserving the aspiration of liberty for all who seek such in Life for themselves and children. As a society, we have much to be proud of and have accomplished much with so much further promise at our doorstep!

Our individual efforts and cooperative efforts are prerequisite in protecting the foundations of freedom and independence.

Surely, let no one believe that we are we are not cognizant of the various issues of society we must address as a people here in the civilized West which are debated daily, however, to those seeking to undermine us, be assured of our commitment to one another no matter where our feet touch the soil of earth.

Our hearts and hands throughout history have reached far as a kind, loving people whose disciplined labor has created much through innovative focus and respect for one another seeking to advance mankind.

We are an ever evolving people and yes, there are numerous concerns about various ways of Life in society pursued by some, yet with God’s Blessing and like so many fellow friends and neighbors who strive daily to adhere to a civilized approach to living, we truly seek peace and happiness for all individuals who choose such in Life.

We would be remiss by not offering kudos to EU Commissioner Franco Frattini in his willingness to stand tall in his responsibilities for the Justice, Freedom and Security portfolio and policies thereto offering security to our good friends across the pond who we have always stood shoulder to shoulder no matter the adversity.

To those seeking to cast mankind back to the Middle Ages or in fact seek to obliterate human life, your efforts will not succeed for the almighty has written a different verse in scripture no matter what language you read.

Thank you to all that serve in Homeland Security here in the United States of America and in Europe.

I am quite proud to be an American amidst those who have not been called to sacrifice or who have forgotten history. It is our willingness to lose our brave American young men on foreign soil in so many far reaching places of the globe to enable all those who choose to enjoy the priviliges of liberty and peace for so long.

Let me assure all concerned that we have not forgotten the French underground, the sacrifices of the English, the Aussies, the Greeks who fought so valiantly against the German military and others in darkness. So many from all over the world realized the evil before them though I proudly remind all that it was a strong America and its immigrant population who would no longer tolerate the self-agenda of the few. Today, around the world, men and women and children deserve much better. Learn from history. Rise up against those who are indifferent to Life and have no understanding of debate, discussion, compromise. Far too many still suffer the plight of their Lives at the discretion of those who gain power and use such for their own gain. It must be pointed out that women around the globe are becoming enlightened to the disparity which causes so much anxiety and compromise and no longer are they willing to be silenced.

Thank you to the men and women of Homeland Security who are working day and night and to the many first responders everywhere who are willing to come to our assistance as required.

Christopher Tingus

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December 5, 2007 @ 4:44 pm

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