The United States carries out many programs and operations to prevent terrorism at home and abroad by stopping terrorist development, acquisition, and use of weapons of mass destruction, including
3 For the purposes of this Framework, private sector includes critical infrastructure owners and operators of both privately owned businesses and infrastructure and publicly owned infrastructure.
4 Children require a unique set of considerations across the core capabilities contained within this document. Their needs must be taken into consideration as part of any integrated planning effort.
5 Access and functional needs refers to persons who may have additional needs before, during and after an incident in functional areas, including but not limited to: maintaining health, independence, communication, transportation, support, services, self-determination, and medical care. Individuals in need of additional response assistance may include those who have disabilities; live in institutionalized settings; are older adults; are children; are from diverse cultures; have limited English proficiency or are non-English speaking; or are transportation disadvantaged.
explosives; eliminating terrorist safe havens; building enduring counterterrorism partnerships; stopping terrorist use of malicious cyber activity capabilities; and countering terrorist ideology.
This Framework applies only to those capabilities, plans, and operations directly employed to ensure the Nation is prepared to prevent an imminent act of terrorism in the United States, and does not capture the full spectrum of the Nation’s efforts to counter terrorism. It is part of a broader U.S. policy to comprehensively address terrorism at its root by countering radicalization to violent extremism. Furthermore, in the global context, terrorism prevention activities should be conducted as early as possible before a plot becomes viable and as far from the intended target as possible.
Therefore, it is preferable to prevent recruitment and radicalization toward violence, to deter terrorist plots, and to detect, disrupt, thwart, and interdict emerging terrorist plots at the earliest stages.
The National Prevention Framework acknowledges a host of ongoing support activities that enable terrorism prevention efforts. The support activities include those programs, initiatives, and information sharing efforts that directly support local communities in preventing terrorism, including understanding, recognizing, and preventing crimes and other activities that are precursors or indicators of terrorist activity and violent extremism. Additionally, these support activities position the whole community to be prepared to execute the core capabilities necessary to prevent imminent terrorist threats. Specifically, having the ability to quickly collect, analyze, and further disseminate intelligence already established becomes critical in an imminent threat situation. In order to accomplish this, law enforcement, intelligence, homeland security professionals, and other members of the whole community must form engaged partnerships.6 These partnerships allow for the seamless acquisition and passage of information. In addition to FBI JTTFs and FIGs, as well as state and major urban area fusion centers, a variety of analytical and investigative efforts support the ability to identify and counter terrorist threats by executing these prevention support activities. These efforts include other local, state, tribal, territorial, and Federal law enforcement agencies and various intelligence centers and related efforts, such as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, Regional Information Sharing Systems Centers, criminal intelligence units, real-time crime analysis centers, and others.
An imminent terrorist threat may emerge at any time and become known through one of several different means:
The U.S. intelligence community
Local, state, tribal, territorial, or Federal law enforcement
The American public, through suspicious activity reporting.
How and where the threat emerges has important implications for how events unfold and the delivery of terrorism prevention capabilities. Intelligence or information concerning an imminent threat may include the locations of terrorists or terrorists’ weapons, or other locations associated with an investigation, and may occur in one or more major domains: air; cyberspace, maritime, borders and
6 These partnerships should support the development, implementation, and/or expansion of programs designed to partner with local communities to counter violent extremism in accordance with the Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States (December 2011).
ports of entry, and the Nation’s interior. Each domain has distinct features and jurisdictional factors that affect how Prevention capabilities are delivered.
The National Prevention Framework focuses on how the whole community will marshal capabilities in a rapid, coordinated approach in two potential situations:
To avoid, prevent, or stop an imminent terrorist threat
To prevent imminent follow-on terrorist attacks.
The desired end-state of the Prevention mission area is a Nation optimally prepared to prevent an imminent terrorist attack within the United States. To achieve this end-state, this Framework sets out three principles that guide the development and execution of the core capabilities for Prevention: (1) Engaged Partnerships; (2) Scalability, Flexibility, and Adaptability; and (3) Readiness to Act.
- Engaged Partnerships. The whole community has a role to play in preventing imminent terrorist threats through engaged partnerships. The prevention of terrorism is a shared responsibility among the various local, state, tribal, territorial, Federal, nonprofit, and private sector entities; individuals; and international partners. Each partner should play a prominent role in building capabilities, developing plans, and conducting exercises in preparation for preventing an imminent terrorist attack.
- Scalability, Flexibility, and Adaptability. Core capabilities should be scalable, flexible, and adaptable and executed as needed to address the full range of threats as they evolve. Depending on the type, scope, or location of the threat, officials from all levels of government may elect to execute some or all core capabilities covered in this Framework. The coordinating structures outlined in this Framework can be tailored and leveraged to marshal the appropriate core capabilities to defeat the threat.
- Readiness to Act. Preventing a terrorist attack requires a unified effort in a time- constrained environment. Therefore, once a threat is identified, the whole community must preemptively build and maintain the appropriate core capabilities prior to a threat and proactively deliver core capabilities in a coordinated fashion.
Results of the Strategic National Risk Assessment (SNRA), contained in the second edition of the National Preparedness Goal, indicate that a wide range of threats and hazards continue to pose a significant risk to the Nation, affirming the need for an all-hazards, capability-based approach to preparedness planning. The results contained in the Goal include:
Terrorist organizations or affiliates may seek to acquire, build, and use weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Conventional terrorist attacks, including those by “lone actors” employing physical threats such as explosives and armed attacks, present a continued risk to the Nation.
These threats may manifest as multiple, geographically dispersed, near-simultaneous attacks or as a coordinated campaign over a prolonged period of time.
Cybersecurity poses its own unique challenges. In addition to the risk that cyber-threats pose to the Nation, cybersecurity represents a core capability integral to preparedness efforts across the whole community. In order to meet the threat, the whole community must not only consider the unique core capability outlined in the Protection mission area, but must also consider integrating cyber-threat tasks in all of the Prevention core capabilities.
In addition to the SNRA results in the Goal, all levels of government, private and nonprofit sector organizations, communities, and households should assess their particular risks to identify capability requirements and mission essential functions and to prioritize their preparedness efforts.
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