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War of Nerves: The Domestic Terror Threat and the Belgian Army

Discussions on PolicyRegionsWorld

Studies in Conflict and TerrorismJournal abstract

The terror threat emanating from Daesh-inspired violent radicalization has made the vulnerability of soft targets and the means to defend them a pressing security challenge. Belgium responded to the threat by deploying the army to help protect the public space against terrorist attacks. This article explores the Belgian case of a counterterrorism mission by the military on home soil, but also looks at the wider security challenges posed by an asymmetric threat to the most vulnerable aspects of daily life, exploiting the openness and mobility of society. The study will also examine alternative ways to employ the necessary military skills and expertise to counter the threat to soft targets, from a re-examination of deterrence theory and by the utility of force, and introducing the concept of “marketing for counterterrorism” as a corollary to cognitive defense. It concludes with what tactical opportunities and policy prescriptions are presented for homeland security.

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