Evaluating Novel Threats to the Homeland

Evaluating Novel Threats to the Homeland

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Cruise Missiles

eBook - 2008
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Changes in technology and adversary behavior will invariably produce new threats that must be assessed by defense and homeland security planners, and a decision must be made about whether they merit changes in current defenses or the development of new defensive approaches. An example of such a novel threat is the use of cruise missiles or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by terrorist groups or other asymmetric actors to attack homeland targets. Individual threats cannot be assessed in isolation, however, since adversaries always have many options for staging attacks. To examine the threat of UAVs and cruise missiles, RAND utilized a "red analysis of alternatives" approach, wherein the benefits, costs, and risks of different options are considered from the point of view of a potential adversary. For several types of attacks, the suitability of cruise missiles and UAVs was compared against other options, such as vest bombs, car bombs, and mortars. This approach identifies the operational problems faced by a potential adversary to help the defense understand how the capabilities that different attack modes provide may overcome those problems. Given the insights this analysis of alternatives produced into the circumstances under which UAVs and cruise missiles might be preferred by an attacker, RAND explored defensive options to address the threat. This analysis considered defensive options targeting the full range of adversary activities, including activities before, during, and after an attack, rather than a preferential focus on classical terminal-defense strategies. UAVs and cruise missiles represent a "niche threat" within a larger threat context; therefore, defenses were sought that provide common protection against both this and other asymmetric threats. The monograph concludes with a discussion of cross-cutting lessons about this threat and the assessment of novel threats in general.
Publisher: Santa Monica, CA : RAND National Defense Research Institute, 2008
ISBN: 9780833044877
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xxii, 106 p.) : ill., map
Additional Contributors: Jackson, Brian A. 1972-
United States


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