The Golden Hour: Strategic command and control during the initial response to terror attacks
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By its very nature, terror attacks in otherwise peaceful countries will come as surprises. Because the attackers are the ones with the initiative, choosing when, where and how, the emergency services will initially be reactive. Complex attacks that also are multi- pronged will require a level of coordination between the different operational commands, something they may neither have the capability or capacity to conduct. Here, it is vital to have a functioning strategic level. Because the typical strategic command in any given police or security force normally are not on a 24/7 standby or permanently operational, as operational and tactical commands typically are, due to their day-to-day responsibility, it cannot be expected that a full strategic command can be ready within the initial phase of an attack; the so-called ”golden hour”. However, parts of the strategic command, that be one person or a few, will always come first. They will therefore be required to fill more, and different roles, than they might otherwise would have. This thesis aims to look at the 2001, 2005 and 2011 attacks and see if there are similarities in what falls short in regards to the strategic levels`response. As this level have a special responsibility regarding the command and control structure in their respective organizations, it is this that will be studied here; especially communication and situational understanding, as there are paramount for the strategic levels capabilities and overall performance. Because the chains of command in these situations are so complex and the situation so fluid, those who make up the strategic level during the initial response, are absolutely dependent on contingency plans, so that they may identify the proper chain of command and begin taking measures to regain the initiative. It is seen that if the operational level either does not receive anything from the strategic level, or if it is unsure as to whom are actually in command, it will begin to take action on its own, effectively leaving the strategic level out of the loop. This in turn will lead to fragmented or information reaching the strategic level, which in turn again decreases its capabilities, leaving the operational level forced to act on its own again, and so on. In the situations where such a systemic error occurs, it is seen that the lack of usable contingency plans and a lack of understanding of ones role as the strategic command, are at least partly to blame.(Se fullstendig sammendrag i oppgaven).
Masteroppgave i politivitenskap