Advancement in technology has in recent years been employed by many terrorist groups in carrying out criminal activities in the world. This new approach poses a great challenge to many nations including the United States even as the war against terrorism intensifies on a daily basis. In relation to these technological discoveries, nuclear weapons are of special concern because of their fatal and destructive effects. The use of portable nuclear weapons by groups like Al-Qaeda is a menace that needs all time intensive preparedness in order to either counteract their effects or save the lives of human beings and salvage property incase of an attack. This calls for mitigation which has been considered for a long period of time as the basic foundation for disaster and emergency management worldwide.
Mitigation can be described as continuous efforts aimed at lessening the effect which may be realized on human life and property mainly through steps taken before disaster occurs. Mitigation measures are broadly categorized into two; structural and nonstructural measures (Lesbirel & Shaw, 2005). Additionally, there are mandatory or voluntary mitigation measures. The impact caused by portable nuclear weapons used by Al-Qaeda can therefore be prevented or completely reduced by employing all or some of these measures. Structural measures involve the use of physical barriers like walls and fences to secure areas which might be prone to an attack. The use of detective devices can also be used to ensure that the Al-Qaeda group does not get access to its target areas with these nuclear weapons. This means that the United States has to employ guards and other security personnel in order to facilitate these measures. Although some terrorists have found ways of bypassing structural mitigation measures, they are mainly used to increase the cost of carrying out violence through target access denial approach. As a result, a group like Al-Qaeda looking for an opportunity to commit criminal activities would be denied its objective benefits.
Other examples structural mitigation measures include but not limited to building of dams, breakwaters and construction of security shelters aimed at reducing loss of life and destruction of property that always accompany the use of nuclear weapons. Alternatively, resistant materials can also be considered as a structural mitigation measure for nuclear weapons. The most commonly used is blast resistant glass which is usually installed on government buildings and other structures which are more vulnerable to attack (Protecting against potential Attacks). Such measures would guarantee safety of life and property. Blast resistance materials are manufactured is such away that they are not vulnerable to explosions and other attacks which may be carried out by groups like Al-Qaeda.
As mentioned above, nonstructural mitigation measures are very important in lowering the risk associated with the use portable nuclear weapons. These measures include other methods that are beyond the use structures constructed to improve security. Video surveillance is one of the most commonly employed nonstructural measures. This involves installation of powerful video cameras that can capture and record events from very far. For video surveillance to be effective, trained personnel have to be hired to be hired for the purpose of monitoring events especially in highly vulnerable areas that are likely to be attacked by the Al-Qaeda terrorist group. Other examples of nonstructural mitigation measures are regulation of the use of land and the use of building standards to lower chances of property loss and death of innocent people which usually takes place when a terrorist attack is carried out especially using nuclear weapons (Lesbirel & Shaw, 2005). Building standards give directions concerning the type of material which are supposed to be used say, for construction of businesses, government buildings, homes and institutions among others. These regulations are usually based on the quality of material used during construction. Common ones include durability, strength, and the ability to withstand conditions like wind. To comprehensively achieve these, suitable designs have to be used as prescribed by construction experts.
On the other hand, building codes are regulations given by the state specifying the type of materials to be used for construction in every location based on terrorist attack vulnerability. Building codes which commonly used in the United States to promote security include but not limited to National Building Code, Standard Building Code and Uniform Building Code among others. Giving relevant information is very important in reducing the effect of nuclear weapons. This approach can also be considered as a nonstructural mitigation measure (Lesbirel & Shaw, 2005). Members of the public should understand the meaning of nuclear weapons and they can be identified. Additionally, information on how to identify terrorists is very crucial in the fight against terrorism. Consequently, investigation police departments should offer intelligence services to capture terrorists before they carry out an attack or find ways of counteracting the planned attack to minimize destruction.
Although, the United States has been on the fore in implementing both structural and nonstructural mitigation measures, there are various barriers which have hampered its effectiveness. Lack of enough finances has been the main hurdle in implementing these measures. It is worth noting that no single mitigation measure can be employed in reducing the effect of nuclear weapons used by terrorist groups without the use of finances. For instance, blast resistance materials, surveillance equipment and detectors all require millions of dollars for acquisition, installation and maintenance. This barrier can be overcome by seeking financial backup from World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Another barrier affecting mitigation measures for nuclear weapons is that structural mitigation techniques only work well when employed to protect people and property in fixed locations. As a result terrorists may decide to attack unsecured places with a lot of ease leading to massive destruction of property and loss of life. This can be overcome by incorporating nonstructural mitigation measures to curb potential loop holes likely to be utilized by terror groups. Additionally, the use of building codes has received massive acceptance in the United States for improving security levels (Lesbirel, & Shaw, 2005). However, compliance with these codes has become a mirage. Survey indicates that many people appreciate the adoption of the idea but regrettably note that many constructing firms do not adhere to set rules and conditions. To deal with this barrier, serious follow up should be considered through government supervision of all construction projects.
Lastly, members of the public should be informed of the current trends in terms of weaponry. This can be done through public awareness and use of the media to deal with the issue of ignorance among individuals which continue to affect the implementation of mitigation measures against nuclear weapons. Generally, dealing with terrorism cannot be a one man’s or organization’s fair regardless of the measures put in pace. It calls for collective responsibility and to counter terrorism and eliminate some terrorism groups. Therefore an organization such as the European Police Office cannot effectively deal with nuclear devices compared to the system which has for a long time been developed in the United States of America.