Four D’s of Counter-Terrorism

The Four D‘s relating to Counter-Terrorism (and Anti-Terrorism):

  • DETER!
  • DELAY!
  • DENY!

Okay. What do they mean?


Early detection is vital to preventing terrorist atrocities from taking place. Detection goes hand-in-hand with responding. Once the intelligence services have a bead on you, they can take action against you. Detect, decide, respond. Should we monitor? Should we move in? Detection is the key to making those decisions. This may involve a wide array of tactics, techniques, and procedures and anything from Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) to human work (HUMINT) on the ground.


Deterring future terrorist attacks involves a wide array of strategies, often in the field of Anti-Terrorism. Deterring an attack may simply involve a security presence, known as a ‘hard target.’ A terrorist group may be psychologically disenfranchised to attack a location which would probably fight back, such as an Army base. However, this does not always stop terrorists from trying.


Delaying any attempt at attack is crucial. Having to go through a prolonged process to obtain firearms, for example, may put off terrorists from even attempting to gain access to them. To delay an attack allows for further monitoring and an active response to arrest terrorists before they strike. It gives the intelligence community more time to catch such people in their net and then take action on what is discovered.

  • DENY

Denying the enemy means stopping them, dead in their tracks, from committing to terrorism. For example banning or certifying the sale of certain products used in creating explosives can deny easy access to such products and possibly prevent that product from being used in terrorism. An even better example would be swooping on terrorist suspects and arresting them, prosecuting them for terror-related crimes, and denying them the freedoms to commit to their own self-destructive habits, preventing a future terrorist attack.

The Four D’s.


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