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The Science and Technology of Counterterrorism by Carl Young

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Chapter 2

Organizing and Assessing Terrorism Risk

2.1 A Taxonomy of Terrorism Threats

Whenever a complex problem presents itself, it is useful to organize that problem into large categories or “food groups,” where the items in each food group possess common attributes. This often simplifies the problem and actually facilitates the identification of solutions.

An illustrative if extreme example is the problem of classifying the universe of insects. A naïve approach to this problem might be to examine each and every insect on the planet and label each one individually with descriptors. In case you are massively bored in your current job, the eminent entomologist E.O. Wilson estimates there are 1018 (i.e., a quintillion) insects on earth at any given ...

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