What is counter-terrorism

The current paper outlines the main issues of counter-terrorism. Discussed questions concern the definition of counter-terrorism, successful counter-terrorism methods, and the ways governments can improve counter-terrorism programs.

The research paper aims to outline the main idea of counter-terrorism. It introduces successful methods used in the fight with counter-terrorism. Moreover, it provides the measures, which the government can take in order to develop counter-terrorism programs. This is the results chapter dissertation that I had wrote. I hope it will be useful.

Counter-terrorism is a set of techniques, principles, measures and tactics used by the government, militaries and police departments in order to respond to terrorist activity, regardless of whether they are real or imputed. In the U.S., there are many agencies fighting against terror and violence. For example, FBI is fighting against terrorism both at national and global levels. It has the authority to combat terrorism and prevent its manifestation. Moreover, there is the National Counter-Terrorism Center, which has an aim to incorporate capabilities of the U.S. government aimed at combating terrorism and reducing threats to the country within its borders and abroad. In the technological era, counter-terrorism became a widespread phenomenon due to the economic and political instability. Annually, there are more than eight thousand terrorist acts. It means that counter-terrorism transforms into obligation of many countries to fight against violence and terror. The U.S. has come to the conclusion that it is necessary to increase the policy of counter-terrorism. Counter-terrorism needs a comprehensive approach, which will become an effective tool aimed at reducing illegal actions full of violence. Nations are interested in cooperation as terrorism is a transnational threat. It affects many countries at the same time. Every country may have its own pattern to fight with terrorism. However, the goal of every country remains the same, namely they endeavor to combat terrorism and protect nations from terror.

In the U.S., the government takes measures to reduce terrorism based on the platform of the UN support. One of the most effective measures includes global counter-terrorism strategy, Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, counter-terrorism treaties and institutions, which work towards the prevention of terrorists getting to the weapons of mass destruction. The UN strategy fights with terrorism on local, national and international levels. It is required to reduce this problem not only within the borders of one country but on a global level. Contemporary indicators of terrorist activity around the world prove that it is time to strengthen security and develop counter-terrorism measures to protect nations.

Literature Review

Counter-terrorism has always been an essential tool in security of the country. The research proves that many experts and critics pay much attention to the problem of terrorism increase. In order to understand the importance of counter-terrorism strategies’ constant improvement, it is required to see its meaning for the public. The author of “Counterinsurgency vs. Counterterrorism: A Civilian’s View” Gary Anderson describes the problem of counter-terrorism regarding debates on how to deal with insurgencies, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Today Gary Anderson is a retired Marine Corps Colonel. It is important to consider his point of view as he had a chance to be a Senior Governance Advisor in Provincial Reconstruction Team in Iraq. According to Anderson (2010), “It proved to be much more difficult to build confidence in civilian governance than it did to train security forces because, if the top down civilian bureaucracy is corrupt, it is very hard to make local changes stick.” He based his research on the targets of the U.S. Army in Iraq. He stated that the U.S. Army has two objectives, namely counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism. Counterinsurgency takes into consideration actions of the incumbent government and contains insurgency directed against it. These two terms intertwine and arouse many doubts around critics. While counterinsurgency is considered a non-lethal method to fight with terrorists, counter-terrorism is thought to be the most effective lethal tool. Nevertheless, there are doubts from the both sides concerning the matter whether the U.S. Army will be able to fight with extremism and violence within the term of counter-terrorism.

Dr. Keith Spence from the University of Lincoln conducted another research that gives clarity to the meaning and understanding of counter-terrorism. The article “National, Homeland and Human Security: Conceptual Development, Globalization and Risk” examines the matters of homeland security worrying many countries after the events dating to September 11, 2001. The author emphasizes the unity of counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency as a vehicle of the homeland security, which requires a complete conception aimed at increasing the protective measures of the government. According to Spence (2013), “If human security it is to offer a significant alternative to or development of prevailing models, it demands formulation outside the orthodoxies of sovereignty, nation, state and interest that inform conventional security studies and the conduct of international relations.” The author outlines the meaning of the human security from the point of counter-terrorism. It is obvious that these two terms form the basis of the nation’s protection.

Joseph K. Young and Laura Dugan are also among the list of outstanding researchers, who dedicated much time to the matters of counter-terrorism. Their article “Survival of the Fittest: Why Terrorist Groups Endure” is a respective source regarding the matters why terrorism becomes a global problem on the international level. They claim that in the past governments did not pay much attention to the systematic approach towards research of terrorism’s nature. However, the data collected by authors of the study prove that a country of origin can influence the endurance of terrorism. According to Young and Dugan (2014), “More the group kills, uses different kinds of attacks, targets multiple states, or uses the most costly forms of attack, the more likely it will survive longer.” The result of their research based on the data from the Global Terrorism Database also showed that democracy does not relate to the annual number of terrorist acts. A great number of people thought that democracy could prevent violence and extremism. However, authors proved that it does not relate to the reduction of terrorism. It means that counter-terrorism needs a complex set of measures based on the peculiarities of the country. Globally, it is crucial to introduce an integrated system of measures, which will fight with the manifestation of new terrorist groups.

The US Patriot Act increased the ability of law enforcement agencies to search telephone, emails, medical, financial and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering 4 within the U.S.; provided authority to regulate financial transactions involving foreign individuals and entities; and enhanced the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts.

These measures appeared to be successful enough to evaluate the sources of suspicious activity related to the terrorist acts. At the end of the report, the author gives recommendations to improve the preventive measures of counter-terrorism. Governments of many countries should cooperate in order to create an effective system of counter-terrorism able to reduce violence on the global level. Moreover, it is required to pass laws regarding secrecy and control enforcement of these laws. In general, these measures will improve the existing system of counter-terrorism.

To be sure, the current policy does provide the necessary frame- work (diplomatically and legally, from a U.S. perspective) and logistical apparatus for pulling terrorists off the streets, which is extremely valuable as a counterterrorism tool, where legal processes lag far behind agile terrorist networks.

However, the author emphasizes that recent data shows that there is a necessity to review the policy in order to decrease the number of terrorist acts and protect society.


It is impossible to conduct a research without high quality sources of data regarding the topic. Counter-terrorism is an element of public life, which takes into consideration many facts. These facts are from respective sources, including websites of the White House, FBI, National Counter-Terrorism Center and United Nations. The material provided by websites is reliable to stay up-to-date and make own conclusions about a situation within the country and abroad. Websites provide stakeholders and the whole audience with information regarding human rights, strategies, changes in policy, status of terrorist level, crime statistics, the list of most wanted terrorists, and advice to keep safe and protected. Based on the reliable data sources, it is possible to conduct data analysis regarding the matter of counter-terrorism.

Data Analysis

Literature review gives facts supporting the importance of counter-terrorism. According to Anderson (2010), “The current debate raging among Army professionals is over how we should deal with insurgencies such as Iraq and Afghanistan.” It is another supporting idea that it is vital to protect society. However, there is a disadvantage faced by counter-terrorist agencies and organizations. According to Young and Dugan (2014), “Religious groups that diversify their tactics and are based in the Middle East or North Africa survive the longest.” Thus, the disadvantage of counter-terrorism is that one can hardly defeat many terrorist groups according to their location. In addition, the authors outline another disadvantage of counter-terrorism organizations, stating that large terrorist groups are most likely to survive in a highly competitive environment. According to Young and Dugan (2014), “As the number of groups increases, we expect that Top Dogs are less likely to fail as compared to their competitors.” On the example of Top Dogs, one of the biggest terrorist organizations, the authors make it obvious that the disadvantage of counter-terrorism is in the highly competitive environment of extremist organizations.

According to Roudik (2014), “The government introduced control orders, new measures similar to home arrests and confiscation of materials related to terrorism acts before trial.” It is another advantage in favor of counter-terrorism spreading its activity. Counter-terrorism experiences the increase in governmental support on international level. Today countries are better prepared for terrorist attacks than they were in September 2001. Countries have passed many laws since the attack in 2001. Among these laws, there are SWIFT agreement on bank data transfer, airline passenger data transfers, court rulings which recognize inadmissibility of claims of people who request not to be extradited from the European Union to the USA, and increased recognition of diplomatic assurances given by the United States. All these facts give the counter-terrorist policy an advantage on the international level.

Another fact outlined by Murray in his work is that there are gaps in the counter-terrorist policy. However, U.S. officials should not dismiss the policy out of hand because unpredictable failure does not conclusively undermine its overall efficacy (Murray, 2011). The disadvantage of counter-terrorism lies in the weak system of measures taken to fight with terror. There is a necessity to close the gaps and to get rid of this disadvantage before terrorists control countries. Thus, the fact is that despite the number of laws, terrorism continues to emerge.

Improvement of Counter-Terrorism Programs

Bureau of counter-terrorism offers a variety of programs aimed at fighting with violence. These programs and initiatives include anti-terrorism assistance program, countering violent extremism, counter-terrorism finance, global counter-terrorism forum and different partnership programs. It is a fact that terrorism is increasing over the years. It is obvious that programs need some corrections and improvements. There are many ways to improve the existing programs. Therefore, enforcement of existing laws regarding counter-terrorism is one of the effective tools to improve the whole system. Moreover, governments should create an integrated system of counter-terrorist system. It is necessary to fight with the problem globally. In addition, it is required to track migration of suspicious individuals and prevent them from committing terrorist acts and extremism.


The paper shows that counter-terrorism forms an essential branch in country’s life. It is a fact that governments use various measures to protect nations from dangerous activity of terrorist groups. Departments, agencies and organizations strive to protect society from suspicious individuals that can be a threat to the public welfare. It is undeniable that it is required to constantly improve protective measures and find ways to defeat counter-terrorism and its manifestation. Countries should unite in order to stop violence and defeat terrorist organizations. The Earth is round so that it is impossible to lose dangerous individuals. Enforcement of control is an obligatory measure to find those, who destroy society’s healthy life. People cannot die because of the government’s negligence. Life is too fragile to be the price of government’s carelessness. Thus, governments should continue to implement new laws restricting the activity of terrorist groups.


Anderson, G. (2010). Counterinsurgency vs. counterterrorism: A civilian’s view. Small Wars Journal. Small Wars Foundation.

Murray, M. (2011). Extraordinary rendition and U.S. counterterrorism policy. Journal of Strategic Security, 4(3), 15-28.

Spence, K. (2013). National, homeland and human security: Conceptual development, globalization and risk. Defense against Terrorism Review, 5(1), 35-52.

Young, K. & Dugan, L. (2014). Survival of the fittest: Why terrorist groups endure. Perspectives on Terrorism, 8(2).

Zaideman, W. & Roudik, P. (2014). Can counterterrorism strategies and democracy co-exist? Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. The Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies.