Comparison Thoughts

Countering CBRN threats: strategies used by the United Kingdom and the United s al affiliation Countering CBRN threats: strategies used by the United Kingdom and the United States
Terrorism related threats have become a major concern for many countries around the globe. The increased rate of terrorist activities from different parts of the world has led to the adoption of anti-terrorism strategies by most of these countries. The UK and the United States are among the countries that have actively engaged measures aimed at combating terrorist activities. This essay aims at comparing the strategies used by the two countries and examining whether and how the United States can borrow some of the strategies from the UK, in terms of their strategic focus, access to intelligence, and interagency collaboration.
Strategic focus: civilian versus warfighter
CONTEST is the UK government’s strategy for responding to the threat of terrorism. Basically, the strategy focuses on countering the aspirations of terrorists in using “chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons (CRBN)”. According to The Home Office (2010), CONTEST works with the 4Ps strategy which involves preventing, pursuing, protecting, and preparing for terrorist attacks. Essentially, the strategy aims at preventing people from becoming terrorists and extremists, pursuing and stopping people with terrorist intentions, protecting people from terrorist attacks, and preparing for actions to be taken in case of an attack.
In the United States, the Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP) under the Department of Defense is the organ charged with countering CRBN attacks. According to Department of Defense (2013) the principle focus of the CBDP is on preventing, protecting, mitigating, responding, and recovering from CBRN threats. The key strategies are to equip the war fighter with necessary preventive and protective skills, counter imminent threats, and maintain infrastructure for countering these threats. However, unlike CONTENT, the CBDP focuses most of its efforts on protecting the war fighter and then the nation, while the former focuses on the protection of the civilians (Department of Defense, 2013). In this sense, the CBDP should try and emulate CONTENT and focus more on civilians’ safety.
Accessing intelligence
In order to succeed in the 4Ps strategy, CONTEST collects current intelligence on probable attacks and assesses the level of terrorism risk and the vulnerability of the country to such attacks. The intelligence collected also helps CONTEST in tracking down terrorist organizations and their intentions to use CRBN materials on people. Consequently, security agencies pursue and neutralize such threats. In the United States, the CBDP uses bio-surveillance to collect data on possible threats. According to Department of Defense (2013) the bio-surveillance system gathers information concerning any threats concerning the safety people, animals, and plants. Considering that the system used in the United States is more comprehensive than that of the UK, the latter should adopt the former’s system and make sure that it does not just protect people but also animals and plants.
Interagency collaboration
CONTEST collaborates with various other agencies to try and counter terrorist threats against the UK. For example, according to quote, the Border Agency has several CRBN detection systems which are used to screen people crossing the UK borders for any terrorism-related materials (The Home Office, 2010). However, although CBDP collaborates with other government institutions such as the homeland security department, but does not necessarily deal with any agency charged with protecting the United States border. In this sense, the United States should emulate the UK and ensure that the CBDP collaborates with border security to fight against the proliferation of CRBN materials into the country.
Essentially, although the CBDP and CONTEST are similar in the way they respond to CRBN threats, the United States should copy some of the strategies used by the UK. In particular, the CBDP should ensure that its strategies focus as much on the civilians as they do on the war fighters, just like CONTENT does. Additionally, CBDP should also involve border security agencies to in the implementation s of strategies aimed at curbing CRBN threats. On a positive side, though, the CBDP should emulate CONTENT. the latter should also emulate the former in terms of the comprehensiveness of intelligence collection mechanisms.
Department Of Defense. (2013). Department Of Defense Chemical and Biological Defense Annual Report to Congress. Retrieved from:
The Home Office. (2010). The United Kingdom’s Strategy For Countering Chemical, Biological, Radiological And Nuclear (CBRN) Terrorism. Crown Copyright.