State Dept. Issues New Worldwide Caution FBI / DHS / NCTC Call for Continued Vigilance
July 7, 2018
Between July 2-5, the following related Flash SMS messages were sent to AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:
7/2 – USGOV issues updated Worldwide Caution due to cont threat of terrorism, political violence, and criminal activity abroad. Full alert: http://bit.ly/2KzEgdB
7/5 – FBI/DHS/NCTC issue bulletin to US law enf urging vigilance due to cont interest by extremists groups in attacking the Homeland. See email for synopsis.
What You Need To Know
On Monday, subscribers were informed of the release of a new Worldwide Caution from the State Department warning Americans of the continuing threat of terrorism, political violence and and criminal activity that transpire globally.
According to this cautionary note:
Terrorist groups including ISIS, al-Qa’ida, their associates, and those inspired by such organizations, are intent on attacking U.S. citizens wherever they are. Extremists may use conventional or non-conventional weapons to target U.S. government and private interests. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods, including the use of edged weapons, pistols, and vehicles as weapons, to effectively target crowds. Extremists are also increasingly aiming to assault “soft” targets, such as:
- clubs and restaurants
- places of worship
- schools, parks
- shopping malls and markets
- tourism infrastructure
- public transportation systems
In multiple regions, terrorists, guerrilla groups, and criminals seek to kidnap U.S. citizens to finance their operations or for political purposes. The US government also remains concerned that terrorists could again seek to down aircraft using concealed explosives or hijack commercial flights.
U.S. government facilities worldwide remain in a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad.
FBI / DHS / NCTC Call for Continued Vigilance
On Thursday of this week, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of a new Joint Intelligence Bulletin issued by the FBI, DHS and National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) reminding law enforcement, military, and security personnel to remain vigilant this summer in light of the continued interest by homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) and domestic extremists in conducting attacks in the Homeland during public and private events.
The FBI, DHS, and NCTC remain concerned that upcoming summer celebrations, events, or other large gatherings could be targeted by homegrown violent extremists (HVEs).
Continued calls by foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) for attacks on large crowds and civilians, along with examples of successful and disrupted plots of this nature both here and abroad, could inspire similar attacks by HVEs in the Homeland.
Similarly, the FBI and DHS remain concerned about the potential for violence by domestic extremists at large or significant events, both public and private, during the summer of 2018. As with HVEs, most lethal violence perpetrated by domestic extremists in recent years has been conducted by lone offenders, making them a continuous concern.
The document designation of this bulletin is U//FOUO (Unclassified – For Official Use Only). While much of the content is available through open sources, providing links to the full document would be inappropriate due to the potential adverse impact on the conduct of Federal programs, or other programs or operations essential to the national interest.
Thus, in this situation we are providing only a synopsis of the description of the ongoing threat, as well as specific calls for continued vigilance and increased situational awareness.
AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.
OTHER SMS ALERTS FROM THIS WEEK
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE
7/7 – AlertsUSA monitoring reports of possible active shooter, Town Square Mall, Las Vegas. Heavy police presence. Avoid the area. Add’l alerts as warranted.
7/6 – USGOV orders departure of all non-emergency personnel from US Embassy Nicaragua due to growing violence. Emergency services for US citizens still available.
7/5 – UKGOV warning public in Salisbury (SW of London) to avoid picking up discarded objects as a precaution against poisoning by nerve agent Novichok. See email.
7/4 – AlertsUSA monitoring reports of active shooter situation, Broadway at the Beach shopping ctr, Myrtle Beach, SC. Add’l alerts as warranted.
7/3 – 2 shot at Blue Valley elementary school, Overland Park, KS. Gunmen then attempted two cajackings. Shooter at large in black GMC Denali. AlertsUSA monitoring..
7/2 – FBI: “Individual charged w attempted material support of a foreign terrorist org for planning an attack on July 4 in downtown Cleveland.” News conf @ 9:15 AM.
6/30 – Hundreds of anti immigration / Trump / “Muslim Ban” protests and rallies scheduled for today across N. America. Caution urged if out and about. See email.
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An Analysis of Vehicle Ramming as a Terrorist Tactic
July 7, 2018
What You Need To Know
Ramming attacks in which drivers deliberately plow their vehicles into public gatherings, pedestrians, or bicyclists, have become an increasingly common terrorist tactic. This MTI Security Perspective, by Brian Michael Jenkins and Bruce R. Butterworth, analyzes 78 vehicular attacks between January 1973 and April 2018.
According to their analysis, it is a growing trend, and a frightening one. The 78 attacks led to 281 deaths and around 1,200 injuries. Sixteen attacks took place between 1973 and 2007, while 62 took place between 2008 and April 2018. Thirty of these occurred in 2017 and the first four months of 2018 alone.
The deadliest car-ramming incidents occur where vehicles mow down pedestrians at public gatherings such as open-air markets or on pedestrianized streets from which cars are prohibited but nevertheless can enter. Open-air markets and celebrations attract crowds, and foot traffic on pedestrianized streets is usually dense. This makes these venues lucrative targets for vehicular assaults.
Download a copy of this Security Perspective HERE (PDF, 2.1 MB)
Commentary and Analysis
July 7, 2018
What Does Trump Want From NATO?
U.S. President Trump has shaken seven decades of American defense policy by criticizing NATO. Trump maintains that the military alliance connecting the U.S., Canada and Europe needs to focus more on fighting terrorism and that most NATO nations fail to pay their “fair share” for the common defense. The U.S. bears the heaviest military costs. Read more here.
China’s ‘Political Warfare’ Aims at South China Sea
When the Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague ruled in July 2016 that China’s claim to most of the South China Sea was illegal under international law, Beijing’s propaganda organs angrily stated that Beijing “will neither acknowledge nor accept” the ruling. Two years later, in the wake of a rising outcry against China’s rapid militarization of the contested maritime region, the Global Times mouthpiece newspaper thundered in June that China will “act tougher” with foreign naval vessels traversing the South China Sea and that its firmer posture “could lead to military conflicts.” Read more here.
Intellectual Preparation for Future War:
How AI Will Change Professional Military Education
Is the dawn of AI and autonomous weapons resulting in a new revolution in military affairs? That’s the question posed by a recent article by Frank Hoffman. As with previous such revolutions, technology is not the sole determinant of large shifts in the way military organizations successfully conduct operations. Development of new organizations and new warfighting concepts also play a large role — and these are the domain of humans, not machines. Therefore, if military organizations are to successfully adapt to this new era, they must maximize their human potential to gain an intellectual edge. To sustain and build this edge, leaders will need to rethink professional military education systems and learn how to best combine human and AI. Read more here.
Lopez Obrador and the Future of Mexican Democracy
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, best known by his initials, AMLO, won Mexico’s presidential election decisively. A big question now is what López Obrador will do. His campaign revealed a multitude of voices and positions, with his surrogates often contradicting both the candidate and themselves. But even more important for Mexico’s future will be how he chooses to enact his policies—and whether he will abide by the often frustrating institutional checks and balances within Mexico’s democratic political system. Read more here.
Pentagon Continues to Underestimate al Qaeda,
Downplay Ties to Taliban
The DoD continues to ignore fundamental facts in its latest narrative. Yet again, the Pentagon underestimates al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan while downplaying the group’s ties to the Taliban. The Pentagon claimed that al Qaeda’s “core members are focused on their own survival” and “there is no evidence of strategic ties” between al Qaeda and the Taliban. Except, the Pentagon and the US intelligence community has consistently been wrong about al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan, and evidence of strategic ties between the two groups does indeed exist. Read more here.
ARM YOURSELF WITH KNOWLEDGE
USING THIS FREE REFERENCE
Overseas Travel Safety & Security Checklist
This 4-page PDF checklist, compiled by experts from the intelligence, special operations, and foreign service communities, will help you and your family organize and prepare for trips abroad like seasoned professionals. From travel documents and banking, to securing your electronic devices and health considerations, it’s all here.
World News Roundup
July 7, 2018
Other Developments We Are Following
US Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits
Army Closer to Arming Trucks with High-Energy Lasers
What Mexico’s next president means for Trump
Incoming Mexican president to seek negotiated peace in drug war
Mexico president-elect rejects bodyguards: ‘The citizens will protect me
Can Nicaragua’s Military Prevent a Civil War?
Fish for flour? Barter is the new currency in collapsing Venezuela
Ecuador court orders ex-president Correa’s arrest
Facebook flags Declaration of Independence as hate speech
Trade War begins: US and China exchange $34 billion in tariffs
Trump admin extends special immigration status for Yemen citizens in US
US tanks get new round of Israeli-made ‘shields’ to fend off anti-tank weapons
Military steps up recruitment as summer ‘surge’ starts
Army making 100 KW lasers to defend against drones, rockets and mortars
Navy Testing Superhydrophobic Hull Coatings For Submarines
Western armies are losing their high-tech edge
Moscow using UK as dumping ground for poison, says Sajid Javid
Ankara’s Withdrawal From NATO Just a Matter of Time
Greenpeace ‘crash’ Superman drone into French nuclear facility
European countries are quietly bringing back the draft
China tried to spy on German parliament
Chinese troops join Belarus military parade as ties grow
‘The threat of terrorism is real’: Security to be tight at 2018 Tour de France
Why the U.S. Worries About U.K. Military Commitment
German coalition drops plan for migrant holding centres
Italy’s Salvini vows to end migrant arrivals by boat
8 NATO countries to hit defense spending target
Stoltenberg: It’s in Trump’s interest to back NATO countries at summit
Trump’s NATO summit focus won’t include withdrawing troops from Europe
America’s ‘oldest ally’ runs naval aviation drills to strengthen NATO
Watch A-10 Warthogs Landing on the German Autobahn During the Cold War
A Ukrainian economist on the perils of Trump’s Putin policy
Iran threatens to block Strait of Hormuz over US oil sanctions.
Strait of Hormuz: the world’s most important oil artery
World powers back Iran oil exports despite US sanctions threat.
No breakthrough in nuclear talks as Iran demands more after U.S. exit
7 powerful weapons used by the Israel Defense Forces
IDF deploys Iron Dome batteries in the south
Divorce on the rise in Iraq as wives cut ties to ISIS militants
Syria bombardment resumes after ceasefire deal breaks down
Egypt’s top appeals court overturns ‘terror list’ ruling on Morsi
Rouhani says US unaware about consequences of Iran oil ban
China to Russia: They Will ‘Jointly Deal With Threats and Challenges’
China’s military reforms aimed at offshore expansion
China launches two destroyers with tech similar to US Navy’s Aegis system
China’s Coast Guard Now Under Military Leadership
Japan Sends Helicopter Carrier to South China Sea For a Year-Long Mission
China accuses the US of launching the ‘largest trade war in economic history’
This Is How the U.S. Thinks China Could Invade Taiwan
Pompeo visits North Korea to press Kim on Trump nuclear deal
Pompeo Is Back in North Korea—This Is What He Should Do
Japanese cult leader Shoko Asahara executed for Tokyo sarin attack
China is working on a new fighter for carriers to replace its J-15s
China’s military reforms to ‘WIN A WAR’ and overtake the US revealed in leak
No resolution on abduction issue unless sanctions lifted, DPRK tells Japan
Communist rebels reject Philippine govt’s new demands
Under pressure from US, Japan’s Shinzo Abe ‘cancels Iran trip’
Malaysia suspends multi-billion dollar China-backed deals
New Zealand court rejects Kim Dotcom’s appeal over US extradition
Since 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has used the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin to highlight the continuing terror threat to the U.S. Homeland.
CURRENTLY ACTIVE NTAS BULLETIN
The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation at your destination well prior to departure.
Active USGOV Travel Notices
Active USGOV Travel Advisories
Other USGOV Travel Resources
Safe Travels During Storm Season
The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides a variety of resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector businesses and organizations operating abroad.
Mariners and U.S. citizens considering maritime travel should also review information at the websites of the National Geospatial Agency, the Maritime Security Communications with Industry Portal, and the U.S. Coast Guard for information related to maritime and port security globally.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is the authoritative federal source for information on current health issues related to specific destinations worldwide. These issues may arise from disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, natural disasters, or other conditions that may affect travelers’ health.
Foreign Sources of Travel Guidance
Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.