America has declared war on terrorism. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives". The majority of terrorist targets are either practical or symbolic. The targets are attacked in an effort to alter U.S. policy, to influence public opinion, to create economic disruption, and to erode public confidence. Typical targets include: public assembly occupancies, public buildings, mass transit systems, places with high economic impact, telecommunications facilities, and historical or symbolic buildings.
The United States is the most powerful nation in the world. We have enemies in every corner of the world. Our military power is well known and an open battlefield confrontation would always conclude in our favor. However, terrorists may follow the ancient Japanese Samurai Dictum - "To kill an enemy, shoot his horse first". Attacks on industrial facilities that produce munitions, weapon components, rocket fuel, or jet fuel would be a relatively easy task. Without fuels and other necessary industrial products, our military machine would grind to a halt.
Activities we can undertake to reduce the threat of terrorism fall into one of two categories:
Anti-terrorism - offensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist acts by impacting the terrorist organization, to include intelligence gathering, identification, infiltration, direct intervention, and containment by force. These measures are focused on controlling the terrorists.
Counter Terrorism - defensive measures taken to prevent, deter, and to mitigate a terrorist attack. These measures are focused on the action and reaction of the potential target.
We should all become involved in counter terrorism, since we all have a role in preventing, deterring, and controlling the effects of an attack at our facility.
There are periods of surveillance conducted by the terrorists prior to an attack. During these "visits" to your facility, the terrorist personnel are most vulnerable. The surveillance and intelligence collecting activities are necessary to select the optimum target and to formulate the details of the attack plan.
According to the Interagency OPSEC Support Staff (IOSS), in their "Intelligence Threat Handbook", "OPSEC is a set of procedures and methodologies that provides a way for program, project, or facility managers to implement cost-effective measures to protect their programs and staff from exploitation by adversaries." This means that your facility has situations, conditions, activities, capabilities, and vulnerabilities that should not be made known to people or organizations that intend to harm you and your facility. For example, your company may have no protective equipment from industrial chemicals that are used as weapons of mass destruction (chlorine, phosgene, etc.). That information would be considered a vulnerability and should be protected. If you have not conducted OPSEC training, a member of your staff may openly discuss the lack of personal protective clothing with someone outside of the appropriate work group. This information can be used to enhance an attack plan that targets your facility. In addition, sensitive or critical information may have indicators associated with it. An indicator is normally a small fragment of data that can be exploited to draw a conclusion about a critical piece of info