Sunday, September 13, 2009

Countering Today's Enduring and Adaptive Terrorist Threats

On 10 September 2009, the Washington Institute hosted Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, as part of a lecture series we've been running since December 2007, with senior US counterterrorism officials. General Burgess was the third military official to participate in the series. Given the key role that the military has played in the counterterrorism arena over the past eight years, and the critical role it continues to play in the Obama administration, we believed it was essential to have a number of the top military officials speak as part of this series.

Here is an excerpt of his remarks:

So, where are we in our fight against al-Qaida? The record is mixed. On the one hand:

• We see continued terrorist attacks by supporters of an uncompromising ideology.

• Terrorists have learned to increase their lethality AND their political impact; and

• They are drawn to unstable and/or ungoverned territories where they fight, form bonds, draw recruits and further develop their trade.

On the other hand, there are reasons for optimism:

• U.S. and allied governments have impacted many of al-Qaida’s most lethal capabilities. The group is forced to perpetually rebuild. I’m proud to say DIA was instrumental in many of these successes.

• The ideology driving al-Qaida is showing signs of wear and its popularity appears to be waning and more Muslim voices publicly challenge its tenets.

To read the entire prepared statement, click here.

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