Armed Hostilities

How Terrorists Prepare for Attacks

Table of Contents
  1. Abstract
  2. Overview of the Author’s Position
  3. Assessment of Significant Facts
  4. Recommendations to Further Studies
  5. Conclusion
  6. References


The analysis of the material from the book “Terrorist Recognition Handbook: A Practitioner’s Manual for Predicting and Identifying Terrorist Activities” by Nance (2008) allows drawing conclusions regarding the measures used by terrorists to prepare attacks. A critical evaluation of the author’s ideas makes it possible to reveal the problem and note that a large number of people are involved in the organization of terrorist acts, and operations are planned carefully and in advance. Using additional academic literature, it is possible to find the confirmation of some of the facts suggested in the book. Additional studies can be conducted on this topic in order to disclose the problem in detail and identify key signs of an approaching attack.

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Terrorist attacks are a threat that is now widespread, and attacks by extremists in different countries confirm that a tragedy can happen in almost every country of the world. In order to consider how terrorists plan their acts and what measures the government takes to counter this danger, the material from the book “Terrorist Recognition Handbook: A Practitioner’s Manual for Predicting and Identifying Terrorist Activities” by Nance (2008) will be analyzed. The growing threat determines the need to identify the nature of the threat and its location. It is stated that extremism is a global problem, and the possibility of a competent analysis of potential danger can be a successful measure in the fight against terrorism.

Overview of the Author’s Position

The possibility to prevent a terrorist threat depends on the thorough and productive work of special state units engaged in protecting the population from attacks. Nevertheless, extremists regularly look for new ways of carrying out their acts. According to Nance (2008), “the safe house is one of the key nodes of terrorist operations” (p. 105). It is the place where attackers prepare their plans, store ammunition, hold meetings, and consider the specifics of upcoming assaults. Such a house is a strategically important site for extremists, and if it is discovered, security forces can prevent the likelihood of a threat. However, this place, as the author notes, is rarely single, which significantly complicates the task of law enforcement (Nance, 2008). Therefore, constant vigilance should be shown to prevent a terrorist act.

It is also essential to take into account the level of attackers’ preparedness. As Nance (2008) remarks, terrorists, as a rule, have enough equipment to arm a large group of people and at the same time to inflict great damage. Big extremist organizations usually have an extensive supply network of necessary equipment and resources. According to Hausken and Gupta (2016), such groups often have significant help from influential individuals who support terrorist ideas and are willing to help and sponsor criminal activities.

These persons, as a rule, remain in the shadow, but they represent the greatest danger because their will is usually key regarding the location and type of attacks. Therefore, it is important to not only neutralize aggressively-minded terrorists but also to prevent any deliveries of armament and other dangerous resources to the hands of extremists.

Assessment of Significant Facts

As practice shows, terrorist acts occasionally occur even despite authorities’ attempts to prevent these threats. According to Schlegelmilch, Petkova, Martinez, and Redlener (2017), the increasing incidence of attacks in schools has led children to be prepared for the right actions during such incidents. This work is useful and important because if pupils are ready for a threat, they can quickly take their bearings and resist panic. In general, the activities of law enforcement agencies cannot be called in vain since extremist organizations are periodically disclosed, and their participants are prosecuted. However, it is essential to combat any manifestations of terrorism not only at the local but also the global level.

Tutun, Khasawneh, and Zhuang (2017), for example, propose the use of appropriate programs aimed at analyzing attacks and timely responding at the slightest suspicion. This measure can be effective, especially when taking into account the fact that a large number of people can be involved in activities to counter extremism. The training of terrorists, as it is described in the academic literature, takes much time. That is why it is significant to make no less effort to be ahead of criminals.

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Recommendations to Further Studies

Facts and ideas examined are useful to work out various ways of preventing threats. However, some additional studies can be conducted. Coleman, Ishisoko, Trounce, and Bernard (2016) argue that “the subject of terrorism risk can be confusing for both the general public and for those responsible for protecting us from attack” (p. 409). It means that it is essential to look for ways to detect and prevent threats and help the public to obtain all the necessary information that can be useful to protect people against extremists. If the population acts correctly during terrorist attacks, tragedies can be avoided due to the absence of panic. Moreover, people will be able to learn more about risk factors and thereby secure themselves by noticing anything suspicious. The promotion of studies can have significant practical benefits.


Analyzing the information from the material examined, it can be noted that terrorism is a global problem, and careful work should be carried out to protect the population from potential threats. The timely finding of places with extremists’ resources can significantly reduce the risk of attacks. Law enforcement authorities should help people learn more about possible ways to protect themselves from terrorist attacks. Additional studies can be conducted to find methods for rapid response to threats and work with the public.


Coleman, K., Ishisoko, N., Trounce, M., & Bernard, K. (2016). Hitting a moving target: A strategic tool for analyzing terrorist threats. Health Security, 14(6), 409-418. 

Hausken, K., & Gupta, D. K. (2016). Determining the ideological orientation of terrorist organisations: The effects of government repression and organised crime. International Journal of Public Policy, 12(1-2), 71-97. 

Nance, M. W. (2008). Terrorist recognition handbook: A practitioner’s manual for predicting and identifying terrorist activities (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Schlegelmilch, J., Petkova, E., Martinez, S., & Redlener, I. (2017). Acts of terrorism and mass violence targeting schools: Analysis and implications for preparedness in the USA. Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning, 10(3), 280-289.

Tutun, S., Khasawneh, M. T., & Zhuang, J. (2017). New framework that uses patterns and relations to understand terrorist behaviors. Expert Systems with Applications, 78, 358-375. 

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