On the heels of the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) announced a bipartisan counterterrorism strategy containing 100 policy recommendations and principles for combatting terrorism and protecting the homeland.
The 9/11 attacks changed the way the nation approaches security. According to McCaul’s strategy, A National Strategy to Win the War Against Islamist Terror, under President George W. Bush, the United States made counterterrorism a major priority. However, the Obama Administration has pursued a “narrower counterterrorism strategy” and declared an end to the “global war on terror.”
Consequently, the United States is unprepared to face the increasingly insidious threat posed by terrorist organizations. As Homeland Security Today recently reported, McCaul’s September Terror Snapshot revealed that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has now been linked to 105 plots targeting Western interests.
“As radical Islamist terror continues to sweep the globe, it has become clear that we are not winning the overall fight against it,” McCaul stated. “There are now more terrorist foot soldiers and safe havens than any time in modern history, and our enemies have alarming momentum. They are reaching deep into the heart of the Western world—including our own communities—to spread their hateful ideology and perpetrate violent acts.”
McCaul continued, “Just this weekend we saw again that our homeland remains a terrorist target, and they have attacked our allies in places like Paris, Brussels, Nice, and beyond. Yet in recent years our strategy and policies have failed to roll back the threat, let alonecontain it. That is why I’ve produced a new, national counterterrorism strategy aimed at reversing the tide of terror and protecting our great nation.”
McCaul’s counterterrorism strategy contains both new and abandoned policies and is not meant to simply rehash former strategies for fighting terrorism. The new strategy aims to keep pace with the evolving enemy, bring homeland security policies into the digital age, and target all terrorists, rather than focusing on a specific group or location.
The strategy identified nine key objectives to protect the homeland against the surging Islamist terrorist threat:
- Thwart attacks and protect our communities
- Stop recruitment and radicalization at home
- Keep terrorists out of America
- Take the fight to the enemy
- Combat terrorist travel and cut off financial resources
- Deny jihadists access to weapons of mass destruction
- Block terrorists from returning to the battlefield
- Prevent the emergence of new networks and safe havens
- Win the battle of ideas
“The eyes of the world are now upon us, and American leadership is needed to defeat this evil,” McCaul stated. “My plan is a guidepost—for Congress and the next president—to do what is needed to win this generational struggle.”