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U.S. Government Counterterrorism: A Guide to Who Does What

U.S. Government Counterterrorism: A Guide to Who Does What. By Michael B. Kraft and Edward Marks. CRC Press;; 365 pages; $72.95.

This comprehensive book can help readers understand the vast and complex counterterrorism structure within the U.S. government. The authors discuss how the fight against terrorism has evolved from what was primarily a matter of diplomacy and law enforcement to an issue to be tackled with military solutions. Many interesting and pertinent topics are included in this effort and should be beneficial to various different audiences.

The book is separated into two sections. Section I, Programs, describes various counterterrorism programs by functions.

The legislative foundation and available tools for counterterrorism efforts as well as the challenge of actually defining terrorism are presented. Other topics include violent extremism, training programs, terrorism financing, research and development, cyber terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction.

Section II, Agencies, is a guide to the many government agencies with varied responsibilities that develop and implement counterterrorism policies and programs. It includes a discussion of the intelligence community and its members, both primary and supporting, down to individual offices, bureaus, directorates, and departments along with the programs they administer.

The book concludes with a discussion of future issues and remaining questions for pursuit by academics and policy makers. The authors have gathered material from open sources, interviews, and personal experience. Their intent is to describe the programs and the responsibilities of the various agencies; no attempt is made to evaluate them.

This book is recommended for the security practitioner and general reader desiring an overview of the many aspects of the counterterrorism complex within the U.S. government. It could be extremely useful to anyone concerned with terrorism and the resources available to address the problem. It could also serve as text for courses in counterterrorism or homeland security programs.

Reviewer: Paul D. Barnard, CPP, CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), is a security manager for the Department of Defense. He is a member of ASIS International. The opinion expressed is solely that of the reviewer and does not imply a view of the U.S. government or any other organization.