Academic journal article Military Review

Hostile Intent and Counterterrorism: Human Factors Theory and Application

Academic journal article Military Review

Hostile Intent and Counterterrorism: Human Factors Theory and Application

Article excerpt

HOSTILE INTENT AND COUNTERTERRORISM: Human Factors Theory and Application

Edited by Alex Stedmon and Glyn Lawson, Ashgate, Burlington, Vermont, 2015, 356 pages

Terrorism is becoming more diverse and innovative as it continues to evolve. Defense, intelligence, and police services are tasked with anticipating and countering terrorist activities before they occur. Human factors in counterterrorism are still an area largely under-researched, and yet human factors have immense potential in developing effective policies and strategies for combating terrorism. Alex Stedmon and Glyn Lawson, recognized researchers in the field of human factors and ergonomics, edit a timely study that presents world-leading ideas and research that explore the emerging domain of human factors in counterterrorism.

Hostile Intent and Counter-Terrorism is broken into six key themes: conceptualizing terrorism, deception and decision-making, social and cultural factors in terrorism, modeling hostile intent, strategies for counterterrorism, and future directions. Stedmon and Lawson use empirical studies to challenge widely held beliefs that terrorists are irrational and that militant social networks form for carrying out violent acts.

Among Stedmon and Lawson's many significant observations and reflections, four stand out. First, responsibility modeling for evaluating emergency preparedness is extremely beneficial for identifying and managing vulnerabilities. Counterterrorism experts can develop those models for prospective and retrospective analysis. Second, counterterrorism policies must focus upon educating and reassuring the public about the real risks of terrorism. Any approach that chooses, instead, to emphasize the dangers associated with terrorism is likely to have the counterproductive effect of increasing fears. …

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