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Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020) (2022)

Chapter:4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges

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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
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4

Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges

Inter-academy security-oriented projects can be useful in stimulating the two governments to focus on specific issues, in setting forth approaches that might seem “out of the box” to governmental officials, and in providing support for policies deemed to be sound. The challenge is not to simply tread ground that has already been thoroughly plowed in inter-governmental consultations. But there should be a reasonable likelihood that non-governmental discussions will help to overcome points of contention.

– NAS report, 20041

The Middle East is a situation that needs to be managed, and terrorism is a struggle, not a war. The most promising areas for U.S.-Russian interactions in combating terrorism are cooperation on the rule of law, emphasis on enforcement of existing treaties, mutual assistance in developing counterterrorism techniques, increased technical exchanges, and continued bilateral and multilateral policy dialogues.

– Paul Bremer, U.S. presidential envoy to Iraq, 20042

Terrorism has become a serious threat characterized by its unpredictable nature, variety of forms, and severe effects on the public. Its organizational structures are losing rigid hierarchy, and they are becoming international networks consisting of practically invulnerable and independently functioning cells. Terrorists are adapting civilian scientific

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
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and technological achievements for their criminal activities, with most destructive and deadly impacts.

– Leonid Bolshov, Russian co-chair of inter-academy workshops, 2004–20083

DEFINING TERRORISM

This chapter is devoted to terrorism, a concept that for decades has rejected attempts to reach global agreement on a clear definition. In 2017, after many pages of recounting the different definitions of terrorism, well-known authority on the history of terrorism Bruce Hoffman settled on the definition set forth in Box 4-1. His commentary leading up to his definition recounted many unsuccessful efforts at the international, national, and local levels to reach a widespread consensus on a relatively brief definition. He consolidated within his definition a variety of generally agreed-upon concepts while omitting other activities that would expand the definition in many directions. Rather than repeating the numerous arguments on whether atrocities committed by military forces, deaths resulting from insurgencies,

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
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or simply heinous crimes should be covered by the definition, this report leaves to the judgments of others whether all of the actions included in this chapter and indeed throughout this report should have been called terrorism.

Many activities described in other chapters of this report are clustered as specific manifestations of terrorism, such as biological terrorism and radiological terrorism. Discussions over terminology will continue to be debated. However, the heinous activities set forth below clearly intersect with security concerns at the governmental, institutional, and personal levels.

LAUNCHING OF AN INTER-ACADEMY EFFORT TO IMPROVE INSIGHTS ABOUT TERRORISM

The year 2001 was an unprecedented time for increasing National Academy of Sciences–Russian Academy of Sciences (NAS-RAS) collaborative activities and the bonding of personal and institutional relationships in addressing dangerous global developments. For a number of years, the United States had intensified internal surveillance over groups advocating domestic attacks. The Russian government had put in place a formal interagency organizational framework for counterterrorism led by the Federal Security Service (FSB). These steps helped overcome internal resistance in the two countries for expanding NAS-RAS cooperation in delving deeply into a topic as sensitive as countering terrorism. The first in a series of inter-academy workshops on high-impact terrorism was held in Moscow in June 2001, amidst ominous warning signs indicating the likelihood of more frequent terrorism incidents in both the United States and Russia.

On September 11, 2001 (9/11), a 3-day workshop organized by Russian colleagues with the support of the NAS on the economic challenges confronting nuclear cities in the two countries came to a conclusion in Obninsk, Russia. The radio announcements about the terrorist attacks in the United States suddenly dominated the airwaves, and the celebratory banquet in Obninsk scheduled for that evening was immediately replaced with a very modest solemn supper. Expressions of sympathy and comfort for the American visitors became the order of the days that followed, as most of the Americans struggled to arrange transportation home while their Russian colleagues also worried about their safety from international terrorists in the near future.

By coincidence, the NAS had previously accepted an invitation to participate in another event in Russia immediately following the workshop in Obninsk. This event enabled a representative of the NAS to join leaders

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
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from more than 100 Russian universities on a 5-day working cruise on the Volga River. This Russian government–sponsored effort was an important step in developing new pathways for increasing research capabilities at state-supported universities in many Russian cities.

The first overnight stop on the cruise included attendance at an opera in the leading theater in the city of Kazan. As soon as the audience was in place, a 5-minute moment of silence was devoted to the victims of the 9/11 attacks in the United States. Innumerable expressions of personal condolences were then offered throughout the evening. This expression of comradery was repeated at Russian work and leisure venues throughout the duration of the cruise.

The United States experienced highly personal terrorist attacks on a few well-known American political leaders through postal distribution of anthrax-laden letters. Soon, copycat tactics using harmless powder, simulating anthrax, in hundreds of letters followed in Russia. In December 2001, an inter-academy planning meeting was convened in Moscow to chart a course for future cooperation to address the scourge of terrorism. Box 4-2 highlights some of the most significant collaborative activities of the two academies that then followed. They were all intended to improve the capabilities of both Russia and the United States to analyze the rapid spread of terrorism that was of special concern to the governments in the two countries.

Site Visits Associated with NAS-RAS Workshops on Terrorism

Moscow: Ministry of Internal Affairs and its Scientific Institute of Research; EMERCOM’s (Ministry for Civil Defense, Emergencies, and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters) Center for Monitoring and Forecasting of Emergency Situations, Research Institute for Civil Defense and Disaster Management, Research Institute for Fire Protection, and Training Facilities; Moscow City Emergency Response Center; Gazprom; Rosenergoatom Crisis Center; Nuclear Safety Research Institute; Bauman Moscow State Technical University; Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute; Alpha Bank; Dubrovka Theater.

St. Petersburg: Northwest Regional Center of EMERCOM; Consolidated Emergency Response Center; City Call-in Center for Emergencies and Disputes; City Public Health Center; Center for Environmental Problems; Institute of Information and Automation; Network of Northwest Coastal Emergency and Rescue Stations along the Gulf of Finland.

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

Washington, D.C., area: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; Department of Homeland Security, Cyber Security Division; Department of Energy East Coast power facilities: Edison Electric Institute; Fairfax County Emergency Services; state of Maryland CHART facility.

New York City and metropolitan area: Office of Emergency Management; Traffic Management Center; Police Department; Fire Department; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Polytechnic University; Long Island Electric Power Supply (cause and impact of regional electrical blackout); Con Edison Long Island City headquarters; New Jersey Police Training Commission facilities.

Selected Workshop Presentations

Chapters 2 and 3 of this report highlight issues related to biological and radiological terrorism that were of particular concern during more than two decades of NAS cooperation with Russian partners. Many of these issues were discussed in detail during inter-academy workshops highlighted in those chapters. Others were considered during visits to facilities, primarily in Russia. Still other issues were emphasized in publications prepared by the participants who had participated in the cooperative activities.

Summarized below are comments on various aspects of other forms of terrorism that were discussed at four NAS-RAS workshops from 2001 to 2008. Brief summaries of 13 of the more than 75 presentations by workshop participants, including both American and Russian highly respected scientists, are set forth below. They identify many dimensions of terrorism that were considered during that period of intense U.S.-Russian interactions. The primary criteria in selecting the presentations that are cited in this chapter were (a) the influence of the presentation on subsequent collaborative activities of the NAS and the RAS, (b) the relevance at the time of the presentation to major concerns throughout the world, and (c) the lessons learned in dealing with dangerous situations. Details on the presentations as well as commentaries on other aspects of terrorism are included in the four comprehensive reports covering this series of workshops that are identified in the endnotes for this chapter.

Urban Terrorism: A First Perspective

The special features of urban terrorism in Russia, as in other countries, are the abrupt increases in direct damage and particularly the loss of life, the destruction of infrastructure, and indirect negative impacts. These

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

indirect impacts include arousing fear, panic, and paralysis due to the high concentration of bewildered populations, presence of dangerous industrial facilities, and increased opportunities for follow-on destructive activities. One breakdown of targets of terrorists in a variety of urban environments indicated that 85 percent were transportation related (metro systems, buses, train stations, and airports); 5 percent were at markets, theaters, and shops; and only occasionally were urban gas and oil pipelines, power lines, or electrical stations at risk.4

Urban Terrorism: A Second Perspective

Urban infrastructures have been the focus of many terrorist acts throughout the world, primarily because they provide the most visible impacts, if not the most casualties. For example, infrastructure interdependencies are extensive. Interruptions in power and communications can close stock exchanges. Electrical power shortages can affect water systems.

The same advances that have enhanced important connectivity can also create new vulnerabilities. Equipment failure can lead to human failure that is then magnified by weather changes and other natural causes. In short, destructive weapons in the hands of terrorists, when linked to disruptions due to innocent errors of others, can be devastating. Thus, highly adaptive, better informed, and more deliberative approaches for reacting to either natural or deliberate disasters are needed.5

Access to Explosives

Various methods and procedures for limiting uncontrolled spread of powerful explosives include legislative, organizational, design, and distribution constraints. Serial numbers on cartridges, regular audits of stockpiles, limits on materials used in mining, and more careful handling and sorting of military waste material are important steps when appropriate. The policies of all countries should prevent firms from operating within their borders that do not ensure accountability for industrial destruction devices and dangerous materials that are produced, handled, and/or used.6

Firefighting and Rescue

Explosions used in terrorist attacks may partially or completely destroy buildings with associated fires that decrease resistance of structures and

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

thereby cause hazards for firefighters, rescue workers, and the broader population. There may be an urgent need for immediate evacuation of large numbers of people; and panic may quickly follow with fires blocking exit routes, including access to subway stations, bridges, and other escape pathways—thereby leading to mob behavior. Inadequate rescue equipment may also be a problem, with fires erupting in areas covered with wreckage. An essential area of research and development to help mitigate the extent of fire havoc is development of a wide range of robotics technology.7

Electromagnetic Terrorism

Sources of powerful electromagnetic pulse-emitting devices or high-voltage pulse generators could be used to disrupt the normal operations of a country’s technical systems. Such systems include, for example, airplane takeoff and landing control networks; telecommunications connections; electronic devices controlling nuclear power plant operations; and systems for generation, transmission, and transformation of electrical currents. Also, existing small high-voltage pulse generators make it possible to inject pulses into data transmission chains, housed within a single building, or into electricity supply systems and grounding networks. Such acts could destroy equipment located in many buildings.8

Terrorism along Transportation Corridors

A stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike from the Newark Airport to Port Elizabeth has at times been called by terrorism experts “the most dangerous 2 miles in America.” The surrounding area has often been used as a staging area by criminals who were planning to cause havoc across the river in New York City. It is not surprising that the state police had long ago adopted the philosophy of combating “all crimes, all hazards, all threats, all the time” with local residents obliged to share responsibility for homeland security. The Regional Operations and Intelligence Center (acting as a “fusion” center) facilitates coordination of information sharing among the many law enforcement agencies in the state. While terrorists plotted their deeds, the police have been on alert preparing themselves to respond to or to recover from man-made and natural disasters should they occur.

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

Interfacial Vulnerabilities of Transportation Systems

Not all components and interfaces of these systems are given equal attention. In particular, there are no models that realistically incorporate the human components and can then predict the emergency responses of individuals. Transportation systems should be considered as complex, bio-social-machine (biosoma) systems with many internal and external connections. The effectiveness of external attempts to disrupt the biosoma systems depends in large measure on resistance and internal coordination of many agencies as well as on the resilience of the systems.

Research is needed to develop approaches that will help assess vulnerability of interfaces. Also, a better understanding of the interactions of human and nonhuman biosoma components of transportation systems would benefit from developments in social network analyses.9

Insurgencies and Terrorism

The selection of the areas of activities by terrorist groups can at times be explained by the location of such activities near control centers for insurgency movements that extend from part-time to full-time involvement of disgruntled but well-armed segments of the population. In contrast, foreign or internationally connected networks of fully committed terrorists may be more inclined to seek lightly inhabited areas. When rootless in a given country where combat operations are underway, terrorists may feel unconstrained due to lack of effective support for law enforcement by the populations of the host countries. Often, the psychological and socioeconomic impacts that criminals seek are international, with little regard for the interests of the host country, and as a result, their growing influence and effectiveness can quickly become a dangerous challenge that reaches across borders.10

International Dimensions of Cybercrime and Terrorism11

Cyberspace has become a locus for banking, finance, and transportation systems, with hundreds of additional applications to follow. At the same time, it attracts malicious activity from vandalism to nation-versus-nation conflict. A suitable framework for international cooperation is essential without delay. An international convention is needed to address the following issues: serious crimes against computer networks, harmonization of national laws, adherence to one or more international conventions by almost all states

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

parties, building stronger international electronic capabilities, support for promoting relevant human rights, forms for enforcement against violators of international conventions, and cost-sharing in implementing international agreements. The realistic issue is not whether to develop an ideal agreement for exchange of insights and know-how, but rather how to have an arrangement that is far better than the current void and can be updated and improved over time.12

Future of Terrorism: Tactics and Stealth

Terrorism has often become the tactic of choice for extremist groups and rogue states. It is effective and cheap, and sponsorship may frequently be disguised. Increases in state-sponsored terrorism will be directed primarily against dissidents and critics living abroad. Terrorism is a form of psychological warfare. The response needs to take into account covert actions, deception, black operations, gray and black propaganda, in-depth psychological and motivational studies, and a sound understanding of both national and anti-national factors that influence the decision-making of the terrorist leadership.13

Chemical Threats and Responses

Four examples of important types of chemical terrorism are as follows: (1) release of a military-grade chemical warfare agent against a civilian target, (2) sabotage of a chemical manufacturing plant or storage facility (including a rail tank car) where toxic chemicals are held in gaseous or liquid form, (3) contamination of public water facilities or food supplies with toxic agents, and (4) targeted use of chemical agents to assassinate specific individuals.

Priority should be given to preventing the most likely types. Of course, many other types of incidents, such as release of a military-grade chemical, should not be neglected. Priority should be given to training hazmat teams, organizing medical triage units, and expanding capability for treatment of large numbers of victims. Additional federal hotlines, drug stockpiles, and rapid response teams are frequently needed.14

Security of Natural Gas and Oil Pipelines

Improvement of pipeline security depends in large measure on better equipment and technology for new pipeline construction, more reliable

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

diagnostics, and modern methods for rapidly eliminating the consequences of accidents. Also of importance are development of effective measures and equipment for preventing attacks against elements of the oil and gas infrastructure. No matter what new equipment or capability may be proposed, it will probably increase the cost of a barrel of oil. As long as oil and natural gas are a foundation on which the world economy functions, protection of access to oil and gas will retain high priority regardless of increases in the price of a barrel of oil.15

Technological Terrorism

This type of terrorism has often been defined as destructive actions directed against infrastructure elements that are critically important for national security. The primary impact factors of such actions are significantly higher (tens or hundreds of times higher) than less dangerous activities that affect only a small portion of the public and the surrounding environment. The impact factors are based in large measure on the levels of dynamism, selection of the timing, capability of terrorists to choose destructive attack scenarios, public perception of the terrorism risk, complexity of the types of threats, and the capability of the terrorists to self-learn from each attempt. In specific scenarios, terrorists may be interested solely in initial impacts, while officials of the facility under assault may have much greater concerns over the secondary and lasting impacts.16

Events and Site Visits of Special Interest

From 2001 to 2009, terrorism-related special briefings, site visits, and other activities that were linked to the workshops were of special interest to NAS and RAS specialists. Several of these activities are described below.

Terrorism in a Moscow Theater

Following the terrorist occupation of the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow in 2002, many questions arose in the press and during public and private discussions of governmental officials about details of the rescue of hundreds of entrapped spectators in the theater, the deaths of 130 spectators, and the killing of 50 terrorists. Issues of particular concern included inadequate coordination of rescue activities of many government agencies, chaotic conditions in the parking lot of the theater due to excessive use of cell phones that

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

complicated rescue efforts, and use of a pharmaceutical spray that stunned the terrorists inside the theater—along with many spectators—as the rescue teams entered the theater. At the request of the NAS, the RAS arranged for a representative of the Russian government to provide an account of the rescue activities and respond to questions during an NAS-RAS workshop. This account was the most detailed report by the government (the FSB) that was made available to the public at that time. A summary of the presentation is included in Appendix C of this report, and the complete presentation is included in the proceedings of the 2003 workshop published by the NAS.17

Terrorism at a School in the North Caucasus

Another public-relations challenge occurred following the killing by Chechen terrorists of 360 adults and students at a school in Beslan in the North Caucasus in 2003. During the aftermath, confusion abounded about the details of the fiery confrontation between the terrorists and the military forces working with the local police, and why it was not stopped before it began. The battle ended in the deaths of hundreds of children in an unprecedented bloodbath in modern Russia. For months, acrimonious charges were leveled at the authorities at the local, regional, and national levels for allowing such an event to take place. Once again, at the request of the NAS, the RAS arranged for a government spokesperson to provide the first publicly released detailed report by the government (the FSB) describing in detail the activities at Beslan, the government’s view on the causes for the incident, and then commentary on the appropriateness of the response. A summary of the presentation is included in Appendix D, and the complete presentation is included in the proceedings of an inter-academy workshop in 2004.18

Coping with Suicide Bombers

In 2005, the NAS and the RAS held a workshop on urban terrorism in Moscow. The NAS invited the New York City Police Department to send a representative to the workshop to discuss the challenges confronting police departments in large cities during the age of terrorism. The department selected a senior specialist who was on temporary duty in Tel Aviv, working with Israeli colleagues in strengthening local approaches for countering terrorism. This specialist captivated the audience in Moscow with his description of the steps that were being taken in Israel to prevent incidents involving

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

suicide bombers, who had been wreaking havoc in Israeli cities. His additional comments on his day-to-day duties—first, in the most impoverished areas of New York City, and then in Tel Aviv—provided a dramatic wake-up call for the attendees to take extreme measures for countering drastic criminal approaches such as suicide bombing. Afterward, the questions and comments on his presentation were endless.19

Power Outages in New York and Moscow

Reliable electrical power was a common theme during inter-academy discussions of terrorist activities in urban areas. While some workshop presentations addressed this topic, specialists from both countries had unexpected opportunities to become personally involved. In August 2003, several members of the core group of Russian scientists responsible for arranging inter-academy workshops were in New York when the power in the city failed. Staying in a hotel late into the evening with no electricity was not a pleasant experience. Then in May 2005, during discussions in Moscow about urban terrorism, an NAS group of specialists and staff had considerable difficulty traveling from the center of Moscow to a hotel several miles away when the electrical power throughout a large segment of Moscow failed. After a 3-hour struggle through large crowds, the team finally made its way to the hotel. The blackout lasted for 3 more hours until the flow of electricity was finally restored.

Training Facilities in Moscow and New Jersey

Following the terrorism incident at the Dubrovka Theater, the Russian national emergency response organization EMERCOM on two occasions invited American specialists interested in the practical aspects of countering terrorism in the field to visit its extensive training facilities in Moscow. The first visit shortly after the Dubrovka incident in 2002 focused largely on additions made to the training courses offered to EMERCOM personnel. Up-to-date communication equipment was on display. A specific concern at the Dubrovka Theater had been the overloading of hundreds of cell phones that belonged to responders, relatives of hostages, and the general public that congregated in the parking lot. Several improvements were promptly made. New emergency channels were to be used only by personnel from EMERCOM and other government agencies with relevant responsibilities. More modern cell phones had been purchased as technology rapidly

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

advanced. Finally, a new mobile control center was fully equipped and was ready for deployment.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey State Police had become a strong supporter for exchanges of experience with Russian counterparts through the NAS program. The police invited Russian counterparts to visit the New Jersey Police Training Commission facilities, which dates back many decades, and to observe training programs. This direct contact continued beyond involvement of NAS as a facilitator.

Terrorism Response Centers in Moscow and New York

Closely linked to workshop discussions on countering urban terrorism were visits by both Russian and American workshop participants to the New York City Office of Emergency Management and the Moscow Crisis Situation Management Center. The New York center was dramatically upgraded following the 9/11 attacks to accommodate up to 100 specialists from a wide variety of organizations with headquarters in the city. The Moscow center also brought together a variety of organizations responsible for many security aspects confronting the population of the city. As a follow-up to workshop discussions on the reduction of risk in metropolitan centers, NAS representatives were invited to attend two workshops in Moscow organized by the center. These workshops delved in greater detail into preparedness to prevent terrorist attacks in the city. A considerable emphasis was placed on the problem of fires, with more than 7,000 fires in Moscow during 2002 that required emergency responses by the city’s firefighters.

Emergency Response Facilities in Northwest Russia

Following an inter-academy workshop in 2003 in Moscow, the American participants had the opportunity to visit three emergency response facilities in St. Petersburg and along the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

St. Petersburg’s Interagency Council for Response to Emergencies had just held its first meeting in a spacious and very functional center. Electronic zoom maps of the details of the city were frequently displayed. More than 20 organizations participated in addressing any indications of terrorist attacks or other criminal activities in the city. The impressive agenda for the first meeting emphasized the importance of leadership responsibilities for various areas of activities.

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

A second facility was the Emergency Response Center, which received all emergency telephone calls. In many respects, it was an expanded version of an upgraded 9/11 call center in the United States. According to the staff, many calls related to family disputes. With extensive patience, considerable effort was taken to resolve each problem by telephone. A well-qualified psychologist was always on duty and usually took the lead in responding to calls that involved family disputes or other types of mental disturbances. The psychologists were patient and effective, and they were always in high demand.

The final stop was the headquarters for the EMERCOM rescue teams that patrolled coastal openings to the sea and did not hesitate to use speed boats when necessary. They divided their time between (a) responding to calls for help due to transportation difficulties or concerns over personal safety and (b) investigating reports of criminal activity in the barren lands of the north. When necessary, they could ask the maritime service, the navy, or aircraft patrols for assistance.

AFTERTHOUGHTS

This chapter has discussed inter-academy cooperation in addressing different types of terrorism during both times of political rapprochement between the two countries and times of strains in the political relationship. During the early years of cooperation, the governments of the two countries were uncertain as to the effectiveness of their own approaches in dealing with threats from abroad, and at times from turmoil within their own borders. In both Washington and Moscow there frequently was considerable skepticism that U.S.-Russian joint efforts could be effective. It soon became clear that security-oriented projects were most likely to receive attention if the governments of the two countries had been involved in making available relevant unclassified information and in facilitating access to government experts who were also working on the issues addressed by the academies. But even under the best of circumstances, academy efforts could have only limited near-term impact given the large U.S. and Russian governmental endeavors being devoted to a broad range of security issues.

At the same time, academy projects were useful in stimulating the governments to act on important issues by suggesting approaches that might have seemed “out of the box” but nevertheless offered the possibility of success to government officials. In addition, suggestions for modest modifications of government policies that had not been particularly effective were on occasion welcomed. One measure of success of inter-academy cooperation was

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

the effect of nongovernmental discussions and related activities on opening new governmental avenues for cooperation while avoiding or overcoming points of contention.

In the longer term, inter-academy efforts can make a significant difference by documenting conclusions and recommendations in publicly available reports. At times, these reports can provide a basis for both government officials and the public to debate issues in a more informed manner that might otherwise be possible. Also, when government officials who have been interested in academy issues change assignments, the reports can be helpful in the education of their successors.

That said, an overriding consideration is in order. In other words, “successful” cooperation should not be measured simply by the number of topics that are addressed. Rather, the likelihood of serious governmental consideration of findings and the quality of the supporting reports that are generated are the most important indicators of success.20

NOTES

All of the notes except notes 1 and 11 cite presentations by individual specialists at workshops on the indicated topics.

1. Schweitzer, G. E. 2004. Scientists, Engineers, and Track-Two Diplomacy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, p. 61.

2. Bremer, L. P. 2002. “International and Domestic Terrorism,” in High-Impact Terrorism: Proceedings of a Russian-American Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, p. 53.

3. Bolshov, L., R. Arutyunyan, E. Melikhova, and O. Pavlovsky. 2006. “Unauthorized Use of Radiation Sources: Measures to Prevent Attacks and Mitigate Consequences,” in Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, p. 133.

4. Frolov, K. 2006. “Problems of Urban Terrorism in Russia,” in Countering Urban Terrorism, p. 35.

5. Tien, J. 2006. “A Decision Informatics Approach to Urban Emergency Management,” in Countering Urban Terrorism, p. 79.

6. Matseevich, B. 2002. “Selected Technologies and Procedures Intended to Restrict Unauthorized Access to Explosives,” in High-Impact Terrorism, p. 168.

7. Kopylov, N. 2006. “Special Characteristics of Firefighting in Urban Areas,” in Countering Urban Terrorism, p. 60.

8. Fortov, V., and Y. V. Parfyonov. 2009. “Electromagnetic Terrorism: Threat to the Security of the State Infrastructure,” in Countering Terrorism: Biological Agents, Transportation Networks, and Energy Systems: Summary of a U.S.-Russian Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, p. 186.

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×

9. Bugliarello, G. 2009. “A Note on the Interfacial Vulnerabilities of Transportation Systems,” in Countering Terrorism, p. 95.

10. Adams, R. 2006. “Does the Emergence of Insurgencies Provide for Terrorism?” in Countering Urban Terrorism, p. 130.

11. After a year of inter-academy discussions (2003–2004) about the importance of improving cyber security in both countries, neither academy was able to gain permission from governmental security authorities to discuss technical approaches. Therefore, inter-academy discussions in this area were limited to opportunities for international cooperation on and approaches to university-level education in computer technology.

12. Goodman, S. 2002. “Preventing and Responding to Cybercrime and Terrorism: Some International Dimensions,” in High-Impact Terrorism, p. 198.

13. Probst, P. 2002. “Terrorism Future: Tactics, Strategy, and Stealth,” in High-Impact Terrorism, p. 260.

14. Tucker, J. 2002. “Chemical Terrorism, Assessing Threats and Responses,” in High-Impact Terrorism, p. 117.

15. Serebryakov, S. G. 2009. “The Problem of Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Security,” in Countering Terrorism, p. 189.

16. Makhutov, N. 2009. “Characteristics of Technological Terrorism. Scenarios and Impact Factors,” in Countering Terrorism, p. 53.

17. Kolesnikov, Y. 2009. “Lessons Learned from the Nord-Ost Terrorist Attack in Moscow from the Standpoint of Russian Security and Law Enforcement Agencies,” in Russian Views on Countering Terrorism during Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, p. 93.

18. Kovalenko, G. 2006. “On the Events in Beslan,” in Countering Urban Terrorism, p. 167.

19. Dzikansky, M. 2009. “The Phenomenon of Suicide Bombings in Israel: Lessons Learned,” in Countering Terrorism, p. 189.

Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
Image
Strasbourg, France – November 14, 2015: French Police checking vehicles on the ‘Bridge of Europe’ between Strasbourg and Kehl, Germany, as a security measure in the wake of attacks in Paris.
Photo credit: Adrian Hancu.
Image
Destruction in Mosul, Iraq in 2019.
Source: Presentation by Scott Atran on violent extremism and sacred values. Photograph provided by the NAS.
Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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Suggested Citation:"4 Security of Transportation, Industrial, Construction, Communications, and Other Urban Challenges." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism: A Cooperative Program of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1995-2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26281.
×
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During the past 25 years, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, in collaboration with the Russian Academy of Sciences, have carried out a wide variety of activities to improve understanding of the challenges in containing and reducing ethnic conflicts, violent extremism, and terrorism. Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism provides an overview of this cross-ocean program, which has involved American and Russian scientists, engineers, and medical professionals from a large number of government agencies, leading research institutions, think tanks, educational institutions, analytical centers, and consulting and commercial firms in the two countries. This report highlights challenges addressed by the academies over many years that remain of current interest as the U.S., Russian, and other governments continue to cope with old and new forms of aggression that threaten the livelihood of populations at home and abroad.

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