This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.
Terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and a strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable hostile act. Defining terrorism is problematic due to the multiple meanings it has depending upon one's perspective and reason. Presently there is no internationally agreed definition. The previous Secretary General of the UN, stated: 'the lack of agreement on a definition of terrorism has been a major obstacle to meaningful international countermeasures'  . Traditional terrorism has changed radically due the sheer shock and enormity suffered from 9/11. Never before has such an audacious terrorist attack been launched against a Western Society and this has led to another evolvement in the history of terrorism - subsequently labelled 'New Terrorism'  . For the UK this was compounded by 7/7 and marked modern terrorism within the UK, by bringing death, destruction and severe psychological impact to the doorstep of every British citizen. These new adversaries, motivations and rationale have all emerged to challenge British Domestic security and Foreign Policy.
'New' terrorism is far from a new occurrence and has been categorised before as one that was independent of state sponsorship, religiously motivated and less controlled by the scale of its violence. 'Modern' terrorism has developed further and is 'a new and vastly more threatening terrorism, one that aims to produce casualties on a massive scale'  . Al-Qaeda (AQ) is widely accepted to be the main actor in modern terrorism and will be used as the case study throughout this paper. Organisations such as the PLO, ETA and the IRA are accepted to be traditional terrorist organisations  . Modern terrorism is far more lethal because of the exceptionally different values, thought processes and different means of legitimisation and justification as modern terrorists no longer feel that they have to be limited in their actions  but are consumed with mass killing.
This paper will use the UK definition of terrorism in The Terrorism Act 2000. This describes a terrorist act as being one in which 'the use or threat of action is used to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause'  . Additionally, there are also many different interpretations of the term 'threat'. The US Homeland Security description will be used: 'Threat is composed of two distinct elements: intent and capability.'  Within the UK the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) is responsible for setting the threat level from international terrorism.
AQ remains the most prominent terrorist organisation and continues to significantly grow gaining support and popularity. The UK's participation in the "Long War", with the invasion of Iraq and the insurgency in Afghanistan has increased hostility. The increase in propaganda and radicalisation by extremist ideology through radical clerics in several British mosques and by AQ leaders or disciples through the internet has increased its support base. Citizens travelling to AQ camps in Pakistan for terrorist training or participate in the Afghan and Iraqi insurgencies or other conflicts, by followers setting up further terrorist affiliates and cells to form a global network of networks, and the assistance in increasing aid and funding in support of the cause have all increased the threat. The Home Secretary expressed: 'The first and most important duty of government is the protection and security of the British people. We have been consistent in stating that the threat to the UK from terrorism is real and serious'  . The National Security Strategy (NSS) states that 'the current international terrorist threat to the UK comes mainly from four sources' and all involve AQ  .
Understanding 'solvable' is the crux of the question. Particular terrorist campaigns do end, and the means and ways significantly differ from group to group, but terrorism does not. Terrorism has been a relentless occurrence for well over a century and has managed to change and develop in a multitude of ways over time. Historically most terrorist group have ended by key leaders either being arrested or killed by military, local police and intelligence services or by transitioning through democracy to the political process. The norm has been the latter and both methods will be examined in both non-military and military means in solving modern terrorism.
Terrorism poses a serious threat to the UK and its allies and must be countered. For the purposes of this paper the focus will be UK. The threat of modern terrorism if solvable requires a fine balance of all British counter-terrorism options. The British Government must utilise all soft power avenues before resulting on hard power. The use of hard power still has to be in combination with soft power and thus a comprehensive strategy must be employed as the military will not solve modern terrorism as a stand-alone entity.
Responsibility for counter-terrorism and the strategic direction to counter the threat from terrorism sits within the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT). UK's counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST, is a comprehensive and wide ranging approach to tackling terrorism. The strategy aim is 'to reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from international terrorism...through:
Pursue - to stop terrorist attacks.
Prevent - to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism.
Protect - to strengthen our protection against terrorist attack.
Prepare - where an attack cannot be stopped, to mitigate its impact'. 
CONTEST draws together several Government departments to contribute and reinforce the strategy in order to reduce the threat. The key elements of intelligence acquisition and policing within a robust legal framework are fundamental within the strategy. Successfully targeting AQ key members, cells or networks then collecting, collating, and analyzing intelligence for target prosecution is the most vital element in successful counter-terrorism. One UK intelligence officer stated that intelligence activity is about 'tracing threads and weaving patterns'  . Reliable Intelligence (RELINT) gathering is divided into sustained human assets (HUMINT), electronic means (ELINT), signal communications (SIGINT) and imagery/photographic collection and interpretation (IMINT) are all the principal methods of attaining information on terrorists  .
The key agencies responsible for intelligence and security operations to penetrate terrorist networks are; the Security Service (MI5), the lead agency on the tackling of domestic counter-terrorism; the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) collecting foreign intelligence; and GCHQ Cheltenham leads on the collection of SIGINT and ELINT  . JTAC is 'the UK's centre for the analysis and assessment of all the intelligence and produces in-depth reports on terrorist trends, networks and capabilities'  . Intelligence is the most proactive way of preventing a terrorist threat and worldwide cooperation amongst the intelligence services is critical but it is resource intensive, time consuming and can be incomplete. Other methodologies to disrupting terrorism is tracking and disrupting terrorism financing and cyber-terrorism. However this only impedes the terrorist network, nonetheless it contributes to the strategy.
The British police are responsible for disrupting, responding and protecting against terrorist incidents in the UK. In defeating AQ the most effective tools 'simply amount to good police work'  . Dispersed across the country community policing allows a better understanding of local groups and can 'develop strong confidence building ties with the communities from which terrorists are most likely to come or hide in'  . The police embrace key power brokers in the Muslim communities, recruiting informants, conduct a surveillance capability, gather evidence for trial and deter those who facilitate and encourage terrorism. The powers at their disposal range from "Stop & Search", powers of arrest, the holding of suspects in detention for 28 days to the de-radicalisation of Muslim extremists  . The police combined with intelligence are a vital proactive element in solving terrorism.
Tackling the "root causes" of terrorism through nation building and diplomacy is part of the British Foreign and Domestic policy. The FCO and Department for International Development (DFID) are crucial in alleviating the factors that contribute to terrorism recruitment both at home and abroad by dealing with the underlying social and economic causes of radicalistation, ideology and assisting foreign Governments in delivering basic services and improving governance. DFID, within the UK, works to develop a national value around which the UK's diverse communities can come together. Yet terrorism is more complex than just root causes and although it marginalizes the AQ linked or inspired networks, it does not deal with hard core elements. For the AQ core to transition to a political process and reform as a solution is inconceivable. AQ is not open to a political discussion as the UK cannot negotiate on their narrow policy goals or against its ideological morals and values.
The military have played the central role in combating terrorism from 9/11 to the present day. Historically the use of military force has rarely been the main reason for the end of terrorist groups. The military modus operandi of kill/capture and attrition of the terrorist may destroy elements of the threat but 'there is no single strategy that can successfully defeat the jihadists. All the heads of the hydra of terrorism must be attacked'  . Decapitation strategies have rarely worked with globalised terrorist organisations and AQ is functioning as an inspiration and an organisation summoning like-minded extremists to violence while still providing guidance and assistance for specific more spectacular operations. AQ is more elusive, complex and operationally durable than just to be eradicated by mere targeting of the terrorist leaders.
Counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency (COIN) strategies has predominately been enemy centric in their approach rather than population centric. The use of military means as a hard power, without understanding the enemy, is a blunt tool and has demonstrated that the strategy turns the indigenous population against the "invaders" and increases terrorist recruitment. A counter-terrorism strategy can quickly turn into a COIN strategy as western occupying forces become embroiled in the conflict. A comprehensive approach to the COIN conflict would assuage and gain support of the population providing a more effective, planned and executed strategy to be able to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and thereby pre-empt terrorist operations, prevent and deter attacks. This is fulfilment of a basic counter-terrorism strategy. The comprehensive approach is now embracing a more integrated systems approach and addressing political, economic, social, legal and ideological activities and harnesses a myriad of services' soft skills.
MOD's Main Effort is Afghanistan under Pursue as it is judged to be a breeding ground for terrorism that would replicate itself in the UK if left unchecked. The MOD has the military power at their disposal but this has not solved terrorism activity and made the UK more secure. The Afghanistan and Iraq war has had little to show against counter-terrorism. AQ is still operational and has taken refuge in the lawless tribal areas on the Afghan/Pakistan border, the UK has fought a counter-insurgency that has been a financial drain on the Treasury, overstretched military resources, cost the life of British Servicemen and debatably increased terrorism through indirect recruitment.
Having fought terrorism in Iraq and now Afghanistan, the fragile/failed states the MOD would have to enter to continue the fight with terrorism would be operationally and strategically more than could be handled. The "Long War" has caused more conflict, unrest across the world and increased terrorism than in actually solving it. This is primarily because the West doesn't understand the enemy it is fighting against. An understanding of the enemy's mindset, motivation, decision making process, command and control relationships, structure and theological appeal will allow us to use a multitude of approaches in combating terrorism instead of just force. The UK could undermine AQ's capability by closing the void between Muslim and Western cultures through psychological, social and anthropological studies and hence alienate and remove the threat of modern terrorism consequently solving it.
Other undertakings the military have in support of counter-terrorism is Capacity Building for Partner Nations, and is combined together with conflict prevention work. This has taken place in Kenya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan and South East Asia to name a few. By delivering strategic military assistance through training to wider armies ensures that threats in or overspill from fragile states are contained  . This is a light strategic option with minimal expenditure, demonstrating political resolve as the military can open doors, to assist in solving terrorism. Afghanistan and Iraq has demonstrated the UK's military force is unable to remain for the duration of the counter-terrorism or insurgency and must train and prepare the indigenous military to take on the fight as they have more legitimacy to operate  . The military also supports domestic security under the working of Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA), through the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) contributing to the intelligence profile  , with Special Forces in support of land and maritime counter-terrorism operations (Op SPECTRUM/SHAVIAN), CBRN and EOD support. These measures can be called on to aid the lead agencies in an incident if it exceeds the capabilities or capacity of the civilian response, for example a Mumbai style attack. The military could significantly enhance homeland defence more than it currently does but the UK has a lack of imagination in its utility.
This enhancement could serve to reassure the population that the Government is utilising every tool at its disposal in counter-terrorism. If the population are notably reassured that the Government are in control then the fear of terrorism is dispelled and the population learns to cope. With any subsequent attack the population can sit it out and survive or mitigate the effect and keeps it in manageable bounds thus halting AQ's attempt to undermine Christendom and the West's materialistic way of life and "solves" terrorism by containing and managing it allowing the UK to continue in its norms of values and democratic practice.
The threat of modern terrorism is not solvable as terrorism cannot be eliminated, only contained and managed. This requires a balance of defensive and offensive measures using an array of both soft and hard powers across a spectrum of services, including those in the military. It appears more prudent to rely heavily on intelligence/security services and the police and have a strategy that remains defensive yet proactive. Critically the UK must first look to understand the enemy and limit the terrorist's goals but also win the battle for hearts and minds amongst the Muslim people by improving the UK's capacity to harness soft skills. This ideological struggle needs to be embraced in order to gain leverage and exploit the terrorist networks. As a last resort hard power can be utilised and if a deployed counter-terrorist or COIN campaign must be waged then a comprehensive approach using an international response is vital. The military will not engage the threat from modern terrorism alone; however it has a role to play and can contribute in its current standing to a small degree.