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Training Options and CategoriesTerrorism  << back

Counter Terrorism for First Responders

Length of Seminar: 2 Days
Instructor: Eric Vandenburg and/or Michael Savallo

Target Audience: First Responders

Course Overview:

An investigations level course intended to equip members of the law enforcement community with skills required to identify and deter potential terrorist activity, and when necessary, respond to a potential terrorist attack. Two (2) days of classroom instruction focused on the tactics employed by terrorist organizations to better equip law enforcement personnel with the tools required to proactively and safely address terrorism. Case studies also presented.


  1. Introduction to Terrorism
  2. Domestic Terrorism
  3. International Terrorism
  4. Individual Behavioral Indicators
  5. Terrorist Tactics and Training
  6. Hostile Surveillance/Terrorist Surveillance
  7. Funding Terrorism
  8. Fraudulent Documents/Identity Theft
  9. Improvised Explosive Devices
  10. Suicide Attacks/Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices
  11. Weapons of Mass Destruction

1. Introduction to Terrorism

This module of instruction provides an introduction to the methods utilized by a terrorist or a terrorist group, including the hierarchical structure, an introduction to the methods utilized for training, funding, and gathering intelligence, the operational phases of a terrorist attack, and the process of target selection.


  • Define the term “Terrorism”.
  • Define the objectives of terrorism.
  • Discuss historic terrorist events that have affected law enforcement in the United States.
  • State the terrorist’s mission.
  • Explain the components of a terrorist cell and their functions.
  • Explain the characteristics of a terrorist operation.
  • Explain terrorist operational phases.

2. Domestic Terrorism

An examination of Domestic Terrorist Organizations, delineating between right-wing extremists, left-wing extremists, lone wolf terrorists, and Special Interest/Single Issue organizations. Various case studies are discussed.


  • Define “domestic terrorism.”
  • Briefly explain how the image of a terrorist has transformed.
  • List and explain the types of domestic terrorist groups.
  • Identify Right-Wing groups
  • Identify Left-Wing groups.
  • Explain the “New World Order Conspiracy”
  • Explain the “Lone Wolf” theory.
  • Define Special Interest Groups.

3. International Terrorism

This module of instruction provides an examination of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, with particular focus on these organization’s primary spheres of influence and ideologies, methods of funding, past terrorist attacks and potential for attack against U.S. interests domestically and globally.


  • Define International Terrorism
  • Identify the State Sponsors of Terrorism
  • Discuss various international terrorist groups.
  • Explain the ideologies behind various international terrorist groups
  • Explain the origins and goals of Al Qaeda.

4. Individual Behavioral Indicators

This module of instruction provides an overview of the ideology, policies, procedures, and practices of a terrorist organization, based upon a document recovered by the Manchester, England Police Department entitled “The Military Series of the Declaration of Jihad.” This “al-Qaeda Manuscript” provides numerous behavioral indicators that may be indicative of terrorist activity.


  • Identify the FBI “profile” of a terrorist, a domestic terrorist, and an international terrorist.
  • Explain the significance of the recovery of “the military series” of the “Declaration of Jihad.”
  • Identify behavioral indicators associated with a terrorist’s utilization of funds.
  • Identify behavioral indicators associated with a terrorist’s utilization of fraudulent documents.
  • Identify behavioral indicators associated with a terrorist’s selection of housing.
  • Identify behavioral indicators associated with a terrorist’s method of communication.
  • Identify behavioral indicators associated with a terrorist’s method of travel.
  • Identify behavioral indicators associated with a terrorist’s method of gathering intelligence/ conducting surveillance.

5. Terrorist Tactics and Training

This module of instruction provides an examination of the captured video footage retrieved from terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan that document the tactics and training techniques utilized to train al-Qaeda, and other, terrorist operatives. Officers will see the various types of operations that these operatives may employ and will identify methods to prevent or interrupt these attacks. These video training tactics footage provided by the Defense Intelligence Agency.


  • Identify the various types of training provided to a terrorist operative
  • Identify the components of operational terrorist training and preparation
  • Identify the type of drills conducted at the firing range
  • Identify the importance of motorcycles as a component of a terrorist attack
  • Identify the tactics utilized by terrorist operatives for room and/or facility entry
  • Identify the function of role players as a function of operational training
  • Identify specific scenarios related to targeted assassinations and/o kidnappings

6. Hostile Surveillance/Terrorist Surveillance

This module will aide in the understanding of hostile surveillance methodology, the different types of hostile surveillance and measures that can be taken to detect hostile surveillance. This segment of instruction defines the various types of surveillance (foot, vehicular, and technological) and serves to introduce the officer to the concepts of hostile surveillance and counter-surveillance.


  • Define surveillance and why it is important to law enforcement
  • Define what the principles of a successful surveillance are
  • Define the objectives of a surveillance operation
  • Define and describe surveillance terminology
  • Identify the four types of surveillance: foot, vehicle, combined foot and vehicle and static
  • Define how to counter the four basic forms of surveillance
  • Know surveillance detection techniques
  • Know surveillance pitfalls and common errors and how to avoid them
  • Define techniques that should be used when making observation and taking descriptions of a person, place or vehicle
  • Describe the different mechanical devices used in surveillance operations
  • Define hostile surveillance
  • Identify the steps followed by most terrorist organizations in planning attacks
  • Identify the indicators of terrorist planning and indicators that law enforcement can use to recognize those actions
  • Discuss the seven steps that terrorists logically follow in planning and executing an attack
  • Describe suspicious activity that would indicate terrorist activity
  • Describe the local protocol for reporting possible terrorist activity

7. Funding Terrorism

This module of instruction provides an introduction to and examination of traditional crimes that have been identified as the means of funding terrorist organizations, including narcotics trafficking, money laundering, currency counterfeiting, credit card fraud, coupon fraud, trademark infringement, illegal diamond/mineral smuggling, and kidnapping.


  • Explain characteristics of terrorist funding.
  • List sources of terrorist funds.
  • Define money laundering.
  • Describe the difference between criminal and terrorist money laundering.
  • Explain how terrorist organizations move their funds.
  • Describe ways to recognize suspicious transactions.
  • Explain the ‘hawala” system.
  • Articulate how charitable donations obtain a criminal taint from terrorism.
  • List resources available to combat terrorist funding.

8. Fraudulent Documents/Identity Theft

The “al-Qaeda Manuscript” specifically instructs that all terrorist cell members possess fraudulent documentation when conducting an operation. This section involves the examination of the Resident Alien/ Permanent Resident ID Cards, as well as, various state Driver’s Licenses, the Social Security Card, and Visas/Passports in an attempt to identify the security features associated with each.


  • List general security features that can be used to identify documents as being either valid or fraudulent.
  • Define holograms, ghost images and micro-printing.
  • Define the changes in identification and documents security in a post September 11, 2001 society.
  • Identify the differences in the legal status of Permanent Resident Aliens, Non-Immigrant Aliens, and Undocumented Aliens.
  • Identify employment authorization documents and travel documents that aliens may possess.
  • Define and explain the privileges and limitations associated with using an International Driving Permit.
  • List general security features that can be used to identify passports as valid or fraudulent.
  • List general security features found in Social Security Cards.
  • List general security features found in miscellaneous documents.
  • Discuss “Fantasy” documents.
  • Identify countries from which foreign citizens may enter the United States without a visa and briefly explain why visas are not required.
  • Identify and apply basic fraud detection techniques to distinguish past and current immigration documents.
  • List the elements or segments of the face used to detect the validity of a photo compared to an actual person.
  • List the methods of photo comparison.
  • Discuss terrorist’s procurement and use of identification.
  • Define Identity Theft

9. Improvised Explosive Devices

This module of instruction provides an introduction to the methods employed in an attack utilizing a conventional explosive device, procedures to employ when responding to a report of a suspected explosive device, and a visual presentation introducing the officer to the common appearance of the various types of conventional explosives, including Ammonium Nitrate, Semtex/C4, dynamite, and TNT.


  • Explain why bombs are used by terrorists.
  • Identify the steps that are specific in nature to bombings.
  • Explain the procedures to follow upon notification or discovery of a suspicious package.
  • Explain how a bomb works.
  • Explain how a bomb causes damage and discuss post blast effects/injuries.
  • List the procedures to follow regarding a bomb threat.
  • Identify various types and components of explosives.
  • List guidelines to follow at a post explosion bomb scene.
  • Explain general search guidelines for bomb scenes.
  • Identify the keys to self-preservation.
  • Identify injuries sustained at a bomb scene.

10. Suicide Attacks/ Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices

This module of instruction provides an examination of behavioral indicators and methodologies associated with the phenomenon of suicide attacks, including self-sacrificing attackers, suicide bombers, and Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices. Deals with the principals associated with VBIEDs and the methods and tactics utilized to screen vehicles and address operational procedural safety issues.


  • Identify types of suicide attack.
  • Identify stages in the evolution of a suicide attacker.
  • Identify methods utilized for the delivery of an improvised explosive device (IED) by a suicide attacker.
  • Describe the evolution and spread of pedestrian borne suicide bombings.
  • Identify the hierarchical/organizational structures that support a suicide attack.
  • Describe the strategic benefits associated with carrying out a suicide attack.
  • Identify the visual behavioral indicators associated with a pedestrian-borne/suicide bomber.
  • Identify the components utilized to construct a suicide bomber’s IED.
  • Identify the individual behavioral indicators associated with a vehicle-borne suicide attack.
  • Identify the vehicular indicators associated with a vehicle-borne suicide attack.
  • Identify the policy regarding the identification of and response to a suicide attacker
  • Identify effects caused by the detonation of an IED.
  • Identify types of injury caused by the detonation of an IED.

11. Weapons of Mass Destruction

This module of instruction provides an introduction to Chemical/Biological/Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) agents/devices, including an examination of the types of terrorist groups that would utilize such agents, the methods of agent dissemination, the identification of symptoms that result in mass casualty patterns, and a definition of responsibilities of the First and Secondary Responder at the scene of a suspected release of a CBRN agent.


  • Identify Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
  • List and define Nuclear/Radiological Weapons used by terrorists.
  • Define the term “Dirty Bomb”.
  • Define the limitations of the use of Biological-Chemical materials.
  • Identify various “Dissemination devices”.
  • Define the classes of Biological agents.
  • List and describe various Biological weapons used by terrorists.
  • List and describe various Chemical weapons used by terrorists.
  • Identify possible targeted locations of terrorist attacks.




Las Vegas Winter Conference
November 29 - December 10, 2021


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