July 19-22, 2017
BLOG POST BY ALISON DECKER
Are the types of attacks that the world sees in Paris, San Bernardino, Orlando, Istanbul, and Brussels — relatively frequent attacks, carried out by relatively small cells, on soft targets — the “new normal?”
At the 2016 Aspen Security Forum, panelists discussed the recent attacks and what this new form of terrorism could mean for the future. Read below for highlights from the conversation.
What does “the new normal” even mean?
According to William Bratton, commissioner of the New York City Police Department, there can be no “normal” terrorism threats: terrorism has evolved quickly in the last 12 to 14 years, and will continue to do so.
— Aspen Security Forum (@AspenSecurity) July 28, 2016
“We have a dis-aggregated and evolving threat,” said Peter Neffenger, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. “This is nothing especially new, but the regularity of the occurrences is,” he said. “We have a creative, adaptive enemy that has evolved.”
“It allows for the bad guy like never before to reach into our communities,” said Steinbach.
— Christian Beckner (@cjbeckner) July 28, 2016
What can we do to combat this evolving threat?
Panelists pointed toward improved processes for sharing information, particularly between the United States and Europe, and using all available tools to benefit counterterrorism efforts.
“The information-sharing paradigm has been going on for years,” said Robert Griffin, general manager of Safer Planet, with IBM Analytics.”It’s not a technology problem. If content is king, and information is king — then access and distribution is King Kong.”
“The ability to get that information to the right people, in the right place, at the right time is what is going to make a difference,” he continued.
Panelists noted that we are in a world of discovery. The key to combatting the new forms of terrorism will be taking the tools that we have to the next level.
“We have to develop robust mechanisms to share our information,” said Steinbach, “Faster than a train or a plane.”