Earlier in the month, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness released their 2018 Terrorism Threat Assessment. This unclassified document gives an outstanding review of matters of interest to the State of New Jersey, with relevant information no matter where you are in the US, or any other nation. While the focus early in the document is specifically relevant to New Jersey and surrounding states, much of the document provides outstanding information and brief case studies on groups such as homegrown violent extremists (HVEs), domestic terror groups, international terror groups, and more.
Terrorism rarely pays attention to borders, especially those within the nation. While some areas, particularly those with higher populations and higher value targets, have a greater risk profile than others, we’ve seen that terrorists, in the broadest definitions, can live, train, and execute attacks anywhere in the nation – from unincorporated lands, to small towns, to major metropolitan areas.
The document highlights the threat of HVEs, traditionally inspired, but not directly supported by larger terror groups or movements. These tend to be lone wolves or small cells, having such a small footprint, they often leave intelligence for law enforcement to trace. The document also mentions a changing trend in militia groups. Several groups have been seen to change behaviors, seemingly to align with the government or law enforcement, but in actuality chasing their own vigilante agendas.
I encourage everyone who is interested to review this document. The content is current, relevant, and informative. I think it’s a model for states and communities around the nation, providing an excellent snapshot of the current landscape of terrorism.
© 2018 – Timothy Riecker, CEDP