The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Sunday what he called a “new phase” in the war on terror. The Department’s Secretary Jeh Johnson was on ABC’s ‘This Week’ program warning that lone wolf attacks like the one we saw in Garland, Texas could happen more often.
Two suspects who declared support for the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, attacked a contentious event offering a prize for the best-drawn depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. The gunmen were gunned down by local police, and there is little evidence that they were tied to ISIS, despite the group taking credit for the attack and threatening more potential terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. A few days later, the U.S. Department of Defense increased security at military bases across the country.
Danny Davis, a lecturer and the director of the Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Program at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M spoke with the Texas Standard to discuss the shift in safety concerns.
Although he doesn’t know anymore than what information has been released to the public, increased security measures could come from some chatter that the government is aware of, but the general public is not.
“It could be that they have some specific intelligence about some threats against military bases,” Davis says. “We all need to keep in mind that any time there’s any kind of guerilla activity going on by a group they’re prone to hit the weaker targets, the ones with less security.”
Davis says the public needs to be more aware when out and about. Places like shopping malls and movie theaters are more vulnerable to individual attacks that higher-security areas. He says it doesn’t matter what the American citizen thinks, he agrees with Sec. Johnson’s commentary that similar attacks hint that the homefront is becoming the new battlefront on the War on Terror.
“Whether we consider it a battle field or not, I think our enemies do,” he says. “The people that hold that religious belief are seriously at war with us, whether we want to believe it or not.”
Does this mentality raise paranoia? “We all need to be conscious that such things are out there,” Davis says. “Paranoia is not what I’m advocating. I’m saying we all need to be ready about what’s going on around us.”