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The Coming Storm: "Turnkey Terror" (and "Matrix Warfare")

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Message Matt Vrabel
Will it take a "multi-local" Al Qaeda spectacular, dwarfing 9/11, before the Bush Administration realizes what's happening? The recently thwarted Sears Tower, Holland Tunnel, Ground Zero Slurry Wall, Mackinac Bridge (Michigan) and UK to US bound airline acts merely minor preliminary probes behind a grander scheme. As incredibly horrific as it was, the "dual location" 9/11 event should be considered a probe too, one that succeeded and maybe the best indicator yet of the future.

Consider somewhere in the future hearing this frightening radio broadcast as you're sitting in rush hour traffic-- "Breaking news-- IED's exploded in Jacksonville, Washington, and Boston. Hundreds or more dead and injured. I-95 Maine to Florida shutdown." 30 minutes later, similar interstate reports from LA, San Francisco, Houston, and St. Louis - and the same in other western countries too. All capped with an Al Jazeera broadcast from Bin Laden if he's still alive, or his heir apparent Al Zawahiri - "America and your friends, today we've gone global".

Some, perhaps many, if not all reading this article may react to the originality of the above scenario with a resounding "duh". Fair enough, and you're right. The real hook here however is not the scenario itself but rather drawing attention to not only the accelerating plausibility of that type of a super 9/11 scale event, but also that without a fundamental change in how we address the terror threat, these events will no longer be considered "one off's" but rather occurring with some sustained chronic frequency.

To preclude that potential scenario or one of a dozen other obvious and/or not obvious nightmare scenarios of similar magnitude, we must promptly reassess our impact in Iraq and the War on Terror. Unfortunately, we live in an era of damned if you do, damned if you don't political decision-making sweepstakes. Regrettably, under the damned if you do analogy, we likely unleashed an even deadlier global virus-- impossible to stop or contain without a paradigm shift in our own anti-terror structure, strategies, and technologies.

What opened Pandora's Box?

The perfect storm collision between the Bush Doctrine and Bin Laden's need for a combined crusader-like propaganda rallying point and R&D/proof of concept testing ground. The result-- Iraq has morphed into what might now be described as a live terrorism tactics and weapons development R&D laboratory, introducing a new, frightening paradigm - which I'll coin "Commodity or Turnkey Terror".

That target rich (100+ coordinated "experimental" attacks per day) environment is providing terrorists accelerated learning curve improvements, reducing decades of slow and uncoordinated development into one very efficient, concentrated period. Effectively, we're seeing terrorist "learning compression", using coalition troops as virtual laboratory test subjects. The endgame, perfected tactics considered turnkey or commodity, assembly line or off the shelf, and easily deployable anywhere in the world.

We've been naively (at best) snookered into Bin Laden's Iraq trap, vis a vis his rendition of a boxer's "rope a dope" strategy. Counter-intuitive to most, Bin Laden does not want us to leave Iraq but rather dig in further and stay. That is precisely the reason why we must leave. Clearly, he's calculated and orchestrated this situation, and now deriving huge benefit-- and wants it to continue. The longer we stay, the more the terrorists learn and the deadlier the impact when the full fury of global Turnkey Terror is unleashed.

Confronting a threat that acts not only tactically but now strategically and globally, the new reality equates to a high stakes "Race"-- who can learn and act faster about/against their adversary. It's become an "S-2" game of "speed and smarts".

That "turnkey" know-how is soon to be ushered in by a new breed of terrorist - the Global Terror-Guerilla (GTG), deployed via a newly integrated, complex global infrastructure put in place over the last decade or two; one employing home grown, in country talent, sympathetic or allied and taking direction from Al Qaeda. Evidence for example the tip of the iceberg recent headline news reporting cells found in Spain, France, Canada, England and our own Lackawanna 6. This sleeper network is now poised to fully awaken. It's missing operational component-- "Turnkey Terror", is all but ready for global deployment. The terror hot spot will then no longer be the Middle East, but rather the real front line being every street corner in every freedom loving country.

In order to win the "Race" against "Turnkey Terror", we need that which does not exist now-- and fast. That is a forward thinking, flexible strategic approach that is not only defensive, but one with an equally potent if not more so, agile and nimble offensive component to target and attack global terror command and control. Call it the "Global Terror Initiative" (GTI), a paradigm shift for the Pentagon, State Dept. and the many intelligence agencies, from Cold War based "Maneuver Warfare" to what I'll coin 21st century "Matrix Warfare".

Immediately, implement this five (six?) point GTI strategy:

1) Re-engineer (and rename) the Department of Defense: A next generation DOD named Department of Matrix Warfare (DMW), structured to flexibly address the 21st century threat environment-- engage terrorists now and deter superpowers (China?) later. It would now consist of two uniquely independent arms, yet integrated in responding to mission demands:

- Conventional Warfare (CW)-- Fully integrated (noting that they currently are not) Army, Navy, and Air Force (ANAF), and

- Non-Conventional Warfare (NCW) - Comprising matrixed ANAF global "Counter-GTG" lightning strike units (CGTG's).

The Secretary of NCW will be tasked under GTI with responsibility to reinvent our anti-terror strategy to one with an offensive priority using global Turnkey Terror and its command and control leadership/infrastructure as the focal threat challenge.

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