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Border Security in the Al-Qaeda Era

***** Border Security in the Al-Qaeda Era. By John A. Winterdyk and Kelly W. Sundberg; published by Taylor & Francis Group/CRC Press,; 344 pages, $89.95.

The need for quick understanding of complex topics is critical in the security trade, and border security is as complex and relevant a topic as any. This well-written, extensively footnoted compilation of essays imparts that understanding, viewing border security in the context of counterterrorism during the al Qaeda era.

The essays were written by subject matter experts from the countries profiled, and each does a good job of explaining the demographics and the unique challenges that each country faces. The essay on the United States and North America, for example, provides a detailed review of how drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and terrorism are addressed nationally. The author also addresses how these threats adversely impact national security efforts across a spectrum of overlapping federal agencies.

The essays of the European Union countries and their open border initiatives are easy to read and insightful, although a few minor instances of legal­ese proved a distraction. The essay on the United Kingdom provides a good short history of terrorist attacks and plots in the pre- and post-9-11 eras. A focus on the 7-7 plot along with deportation policies provides a clear, informative overview.

The essay on Iran is one of fascinating historical perspectives relating to the impact on border security of drug trafficking, Kurdish minorities, and cross-border conflicts. The difficult regional challenges presented here are unique and rarely addressed in such clarity and relevance to overall border security.

This book is well-written and provides a good overall sense of a complex, wide-reaching topic, making it particularly useful to any security professional who seeks an understanding of this fascinating but challenging topic.

 Reviewer: Kevin Siegmund, PSP, is a court security officer with Inter-Con Security in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a retired first sergeant from the Army’s military police corps and specializes in physical security and antiterrorism. He holds a bachelor’s degree in security management from American Military University and is chair of the Baton Rouge Chapter of ASIS International.