Terrorism is a form of nonconventional warfare that relies on the use of violence to promulgate fear in an adversary. It is often adopted by small extremist organizations to compensate for a weakness in numbers and destructive capability in pursuit of political concessions from a state. The violence is characterized by actions such as bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings, and it is directed not only at government targets but civilians as well.
Nuclear terrorism is the actual or potential use of nuclear or radiological materials to generate fear in the pursuit of political ends. It includes the acquisition of, uses or threatened uses of, or attack on nuclear materials or facilities, as well as the resort to false threats or hoaxes that would have the same effect. Besides the detonation of a nuclear weapon, there are several other subclasses of nuclear terrorism:
In addition to a conventional nuclear weapon, there are several other types of nuclear terrorism devices:
The chart, below, comes from Ferguson's and Potter's The Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism and outlines various terrorist actions and the traits and motivations of the adversary interested in using them (for mobile devices, it may be necessary to scroll or swipe to see all data on this table, or click here to view larger version of the full table).
Material for IND
Material for RDD or RED
|Motivation||Extreme; desire to cause mass deaths, destruction; likely limited to apocalyptic and politico-religious groups||Extreme; desire to cause mass deaths, destruction; likely limited to apocalyptic and politico-religious groups||Very high; desire to cause great property damage, disruption, some loss of life||Very high; desire to cause great property damage, disruption, some loss of life|
|Organizational Skills||Very high||Very high||Very high||Moderate|
|Geographic Reach||Multi-country capability required to detonate Russian, Pakistani, or Indian device in US||Multi-country capability required to detonate device built from foreign-origin, weapons-usable, fissile material in US||Single country||Single country|
|Financial Resources||High||High||Moderate to high||Modest|
|Technical Skills||High||High; moderate for some scenarios||Moderate to high||Modest|
|Number of groups (in 2004)||Few (possibly none currently able to meet all criteria for foreign country incident)||Few (possibly none currently able to meet all criteria for foreign country incident)||10+||10-100's|
Page 3 / 11