Who Was Prepared for the Terrorists?

Lisa N. Sacco, University at Albany

Counter-terrorism training and preparedness has been a major concern of the United States government over the last few decades, and especially over the last year. When horrific terrorist attacks occur, there is often blame that is assigned to one agency or another for not having been prepared for this. This paper examines the responses of 220 municipal agencies in 1992 just before the first World Trade Center attack. The causal relationship between risk assessment (risk to terrorist attack or terrorist incident within the jurisdiction) and the level of preparedness of each individual jurisdiction and agency will be determined using OLS and logistic regression. My theory is that those areas that did experience terrorism or that were considered at risk were not more prepared than those who did not experience terrorism in their respective jurisdictions.

In September, 2001, the United States was viscously attacked by terrorists, and it is estimated that around 3,000 innocent lives were lost. The question remained afterward, how could we let this happen? Why weren't we better prepared? I would ask, who was prepared and why?

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Updated 05/20/2006