2nd Edition

A Citizen's Guide to Terrorism and Counterterrorism

By Christopher C. Harmon Copyright 2021
    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    This Citizen’s Guide addresses the public policy issues of terrorism and counterterrorism in the United States. Written for the thinking citizen and student alike, this succinct and up-to-date book takes a “grand strategy” approach toward terrorism and uses examples and issues drawn from present-day perpetrators and actors.

    Christopher C. Harmon, a veteran academic of military theory who has also instructed U.S. and foreign military officers, organizes his book into three sections. He first introduces the problem of America’s continued vulnerability to terrorist attack. Part II examines the varied ways in which the U.S. is fighting terrorism, highlighting the labors of diverse experts, government offices, intelligence and military personnel, and foreign allies. The book outlines the various aspects of the U.S. strategy, including intelligence, diplomacy, public diplomacy, economic counterterrorism, and law and law-making. In Part III, Harmon sketches the prospects for further action, steering clear of simple partisanship and instead listing recommendations with pros and cons and also including factual stories of how individual citizens have made a difference in the national effort against terrorism.

    New to the Second Edition

    • Adds coverage of the Islamic State, explained in terms of its character, rise, and relative collapse under coalition pressures.
    • Focuses on the growing right-wing terrorist threat, domestically as well as internationally.
    • Covers additional schools of militancy including anarchism; variants of communism and especially Maoist insurgency; and the Iranian/Shia terrorist threat throughout the Middle East and Europe, among others.
    • Analyzes the current published White House strategy for countering terrorism.

    Part I: The Threat. 

    1. We Americans Remain Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack

    2. The Nature of the Enemy Today. Part II: The Strategy.

    3. Components of our Grand Strategy: Diplomacy, Intelligence, Economics, Law & Law-making, the Military. 

    4. The Current Published Counterterrorism Strategy.

    Part III: The Future.

    5. What Needs to be Done.

    6. What Citizens Can Do.

    7. How Other Terrorist Groups Have Been Defeated. Additional Resources.


    Christopher C. Harmon has been teaching, publishing, and advancing studies of terrorism and counterterrorism for three decades. This is his sixth book in the fi eld. Here he covers the moral, political, tactical, and strategic problems that citizens most want to know about. Dr. Harmon holds the Bren Chair of Great Power Competition, Marine Corps University, Virginia.

    Praise for A Citizen’s Guide to Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Second Edition

    This timely book from brilliant teacher-scholar Christopher C.Harmon offers a lot: a concise overview of the terrorist threat to the U.S., a detailed analysis of our counterterrorism strategy, a useful explanation of how terrorist groups have been defeated, and important recommendations for what needs to be done, and by whom (including citizens), to confront the threat of terrorism more successfully. Overall engaging, accessible and useful to a wide audience, this is highly recommended reading.

    -- James Forest, University of Massachusetts Lowell and co-editor of the journal Perspectives on Terrorism.

    Dr. Harmon has done it again. Having endorsed the first edition--which was so valuable to our citizenry--I can guarantee readers will find this new edition to have the very best qualities of a book on public affairs. We begin with a current and deeply informed account of terrorism today, inside America and beyond our borders. Then we see a rich description of America’s national strategy for fighting back, assessment of how it is going, and suggestions about what citizens can do to help."

    Ambassador J. D. Crouch II, former Deputy National Security Advisor to the President

    In a time when even the most basic of facts are disputed, understanding today’s terrorism seems an impossible task. Fortunately, this revised edition of Chris Harmon’s A Citizen’s Guide to Terrorism and Counterterrorism is as helpful as it is comprehensive. A masterful and heartfelt call for citizens everywhere to be better informed about the perennial threat of violent extremism.

    --John Horgan, Georgia State University and editor of the journal Terrorism and Political Violence