Terrorism according to many US government publications refers to any intentional, illegal act treacherous to human life or public wellbeing whose purpose is to compel civilian populaces or governments. Terrorism is also defined as the unlawful use of power or aggression against persons or possessions to frighten or intimidate a government or its people to gain political or social objectives. The definition of terrorism differs from one state security agency to another. The central elements of terrorism are on the basis of plans to get publicity, motivated by political, ideological and spiritual groups and are carried by sub-national groups.
Why is such a definition important to Homeland Security?
The reason why the definition of terrorism is important to homeland security is that it is the state agency mandated to marshal and organize the United States to protect its homeland from terrorist assaults. Through the definition, Homeland Security is capable of determining the motivation behind the attacks and the most likely targets of terrorism. The definition of terrorism is important to Homeland Security because it reflects the pursuit of other priorities within the state agency and the differing views as to whether the United States public needs to be assured or alerted into taking action. Another reason is that the war on terrorism follows the offensive component of Homeland Security and therefore with a concise definition it will seek to interrupt and overcome terrorists within and beyond the American borders.
Discuss why there is confusion when trying to define terrorism
Scholars argue that terrorism is defined in several ways occasioned by the need at hand. The confusion when trying to describe terrorism arises because all the definitions are legitimate and pertinent in the operational environment of government organizations and United States security agencies such as the Department of Defense and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Also, the definition of terrorism always emerges in the social construct surrounding its interpretation hence raising the confusion. In addition, the definition also changes with social and historical circumstances and on the basis that terrorism is not a solid entity.