U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Tactical Counterterrorism: The Law Enforcement Manual of Terrorism Prevention

NCJ Number
Dean T. Olson
Date Published
308 pages
This manual presents essential and practical information to front-line law enforcement officers that will enable them to identify preparatory terrorist activity prior to a planned attack, so officers are prepared to interdict and prevent an attack.
The chapters first explore the concepts of terrorism, homeland security, and the types of terrorist threats posed by various terrorist groups, including right-wing extremists, violent anti-abortion individuals and groups, animal rights extremists, and Islamist terrorists. Attention is given to how terrorist "think globally, but act locally," which means beat patrol officers and front-line detectives are well placed to be strategic observers, collectors of intelligence, and responders trained to recognize particular incidents as possible terrorist activity in preparation for an attack. Training is provided in what incidents to report, how to report, and to whom. A chapter considers the "lone-wolf" terrorist who acts under his/her own initiative ("leaderless resistance"). Numerous case studies of this type of terrorist are provided. Other chapters identify and analyze behavioral indicators of radicalization, which are studied in the context of case studies. The case studies include the planned attack on Army National Guard facilities by the Jamiyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (JIS) group formed in a California prison, as well as the London Transit Bombers. In order to better understand the operations of terrorists in the course of their planning and preparation for an attack in the United States, this manual profiles the methods and operational principles of terrorists, such as the use of a cell structure, safe houses, the terrorist attack cycle, improvised explosive devices (IED), and the surveillance of potential targets. A review of terrorism research addresses behavioral, geographic, and timing patterns of terrorist groups when preparing for an attack. Attention is given to terrorism finance and links between past and future terrorist behavior. Chapter notes, figures, and references as well as name and subject indexes