Category Archives: Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Lessons for the Next Twenty Years: What We’ve Learned in the Two Decades Since 9/11

A Note from Editor-in-Chief William C. Banks

By any measure the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 brought an immediate laser focus to the phenomenon of international terrorism.

Though hardly new to the United States and the world in 2001, the 9/11 attacks instantaneously elevated countering international terrorism to the dominant national security imperative at home and abroad.

Questions were legion: Should we have known the attacks were coming? What could we have done to prevent them? What lessons learned will help forestall the next attack? What are the best options for countering international terrorism?

Twenty years later many lessons have been learned, even as we continue to struggle with the ever changing dynamics of global terrorism. JNSLP is honored to publish this Special Edition, “Lessons Learned for the Next Twenty Years: What We’ve Learned in the Two Decades Since 9/11.”

Special recognition and thanks are due to Guest Editor Matt Kronisch and Director of the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law Jamie Baker. Matt and Jamie approached us with the idea for a Special Edition, and then Matt worked miracles in securing commitments from an extraordinary assemblage of distinguished veterans of the larger national security and counterterrorism field to prepare short essays commemorating through various lenses what the two decades since 9/11 have shown.

Spend a moment glancing at the Table of Contents for the Special Edition and you will recognize many of the names and you will correctly anticipate that a deep dive into this marvelous collection of essays is a must.


Foreword
Thomas H. Kean & Lee H. Hamilton

Introduction
Matthew L. Kronisch

PART I: THE CENTRALITY OF INSTITUTIONS, POLICY, AND PROCESS

Staying Left of Boom: The Central and Essential Role of the NSC
James E. Baker

Lessons from the Past Twenty Years—A Former National Security Policymaker and Intelligence Community Leader’s Perspective
Michael G. Vickers

Reflections on Twenty Years of Counterterrorism Strategy and Policy
Nicholas J. Rasmussen

From 9/11 to 1/6: Lessons for Congress from Twenty Years of War, Legislation, and Spiraling Partisanship
Dakota S. Rudesill

Jack of All Trades, Master of None: Managing the Intelligence Community of the Future
Corin R. Stone

National Security Decision-Making in the Age of Technology: Delivering Outcomes On Time and On Target
Gary P. Corn

PART II: THE TOOLS OF INFLUENCE AND ACCESS

USSOCOM and SOF: War Around the Edges
Eric T. Olson

Cables from the Field: A Diplomat’s Lessons from the Two Decades Since 9/11
Anne W. Patterson

Lessons Learned After Twenty Years of Hostilities: The Use of Force and the Law of Armed Conflict
Kenneth Watkin

Wielding the Tools of Economic Statecraft
Brent J. McIntosh

PART III: SURVEILLANCE, OVERSIGHT, SKEPTICISM, AND RACE

Lessons for the Next Twenty Years: What the Two Decades Since 9/11 Have Taught Us About the Future of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Law
David S. Kris

Reflections on the IG’s Role, Stellarwind, and the Information Sharing Fiasco
Joel Brenner

Data Collection: Lessons of Cost-Benefit Analysis, Skepticism, and Legal Transparency
James X. Dempsey

Reflections on Security, Race, and Rights Twenty-Years After 9/11
Sahar F. Aziz

PART IV: DOMESTIC TERROR AND THE FIGHT TO SUSTAIN DEMOCRACY

Counterterrorism 2.0
Deborah Pearlstein

Lessons for Countering the Domestic Terrorism Threat 20 Years After 9/11
Mary B. McCord

Learning From Our Mistakes: How Not to Confront White Supremacist Violence
Mike German

Send Airplanes, Phones, and Money: Cautionary Lessons For the Post-1/6 World from the Post-9/11 World
Paul Rosenzweig

A Twenty-Year Lesson: The Role of Civil Rights in Securing Our Nation
Kareem W. Shora

Rethinking U.S. Efforts on Counterterrorism: Toward a Sustainable Plan Two Decades After 9/11

The development of a counterterrorism enterprise after Sept. 11, 2001, has seen over the course of nearly 20 years both tactical successes and strategic obstacles.

Matthew Levitt frames this overview of counterterrorism policy by observing that the current focus on Great Power and near power competition as US national security priorities reflects the success of Washington’s investment in counterterrorism and homeland security. However, the current environment of growing partisan polarization also reflects the need to rationalize US investment in counterterrorism and adopt a more sustainable posture on the counterterrorism mission.

By building on the role of counterterrorism within interstate conflict, observing the importance of an investment in alliances and partnerships, and assessing the budgeting for counterterrorism programs, Levitt builds a foundation to support his concluding strategic recommendations for a review and reorientation of US counterterrorism.

“Until They Are Effectively Destroyed”: The U.S. Approach on the Temporal Scope of Armed Conflicts with Terrorist Organizations

Warfare has transformed in the modern age from traditional warfare to more states engaging in non-international armed conflict, like the so called “war on terror.” However, the United States adheres to a standard regarding the end of non-international armed conflicts that deviates from the various approaches of international law practitioners and scholars.

In this article, Christian Schaller both questions the U.S. policy and argues it lacks clarity and transparency while also acknowledging the power it gives decision makers in combating terror, a strategy that more states have come to appreciate.