In the last decade the concept of security has been altered by the rise of a strategy called ‘resilience’ (Neocleous 2013). Nations like the United Kingdom and the United States of America are implementing various strategies to impose and improve resilience in different layers of society. They are planning and carrying out to implement resilience within armed forces, the authority and the citizens, but also focussing on preparing for future terrorist attacks. The question this essay will discuss is: What are the implications of the shift from security to resilience?
This phenomenon happens when security does no longer stand on its own as a concept bus goes hand in hand with a demand for resilience. Resilience requires the citizens to integrate security measures in their everyday life. Even if not consciously, everyone participates in their own and the nation its security.
Resilience as a counter-terrorism strategy is an example that shows the shift from security to resilience, and this example is what the essay will mainly focus on. But what are the implications of this phenomenon? The implementation of resilience to prevent terrorist attacks is surpassing the logic of security (Neocleous, 2013). This essay will argue that resilience will keep everyone, including citizens, authorities, companies and states, in a state of fear because it requires the public to also act upon the threats of terrorism whether this is rational or not.
To validate this statement this essay will first assess the terminology of resilience and what this means in the context of counter-terrorism and terrorism risks. These will be followed by theoretical contextualising within International Relations theory. Moreover the risk and counter-terrorism measures are examined and the way in which the public is included. After that this essay will question the rational of these measures and demonstrate a case-study of the ‘7/7 attacks’ after the London bombings along with some other examples of resilience measures. Finally this essay will question whether these resilience measures might also have a positive function to the public.
Implications of resilience
When we talk about resilience in terms of security versus risks it has become very clear that being prepared is part of everyday life. There are now future oriented paradigms of both risk and resilience which will be described in the next passage.
Resilience and risk paradox
Resilience is a political theme that has gained a lot of importance only in the last decade (Neocleous, 2013). It’s discussed by politicians, state departments and even made it to a lot of academic research. There is a diverse terminology to capture the meaning of resilience. Initially the term was used to explain the capacity of a property or structure to regain its initial shape after
compression. After that it became a word that would describe the ability of our mental state to being able to endure stress or unpleasant circumstances and/or to recover quickly from their effects. According to Lentzos and Rose (2009) resilience now, is an act of rebounding, recoiling or springing back. This has become something that can be engineered into system, organisations, the nation and people. The term stretches further to having an attitude of preparedness, to not quite be under protection nor to have systems in place to deal with contingencies. Resilience requires an individual to be able to “anticipate and tolerate disturbances in complex worlds without collapse, withstanding shocks and to rebuild if necessary” (Lentzos and Rose, 2009). The addition of resilience, on top of security attempts to create a subjective and systematic state where everyone is able to live “freely and confident in a risk world,” (Neocleous, 2013).
A way of avoiding risk is a change of behaviour amongst citizens. Nevertheless external risk management, is reliant upon a additional internal psychological practice (Duffield 2010). According to Beck (2002) we now live in a risk society. “Risk has become an intellectual and political web across which thread many strands of discourse relating to the slow crisis of modernity and industrial society”, (Beck, 1992: p3). In this ‘risk society’ there are dangers beyond our control and the insurance of safety is therefore impossible to achieve. “In conditions of extreme uncertainty, decision-makers are no longer able to guarantee predictability, security and control; rather, ‘the hidden central issue in world risk society is how to feign control over the uncontrollable – in politics, law, science, technology, economy and everyday life” (Beck 2002: 41, cited by Aradau and Van Munster 2005: p4). By moving from security to resilience the nation is able to surpass its responsibility of protection and include citizens in the security measures.
This has been enabled through a broader turn to risk management through resilience as certain techniques proceeds to several aspects of daily life. Analysing risk is predicting the future, and premeditation is trying to map out all the possibilities and hereby enabling action on the present. It is important to mention that rationality is not the main driver as premeditation and the 1% doctrine is being used. The 1% doctrine states that: “authorities should act on risk even if there’s a 1% risk,” (De Goede, 2008). Risk and premeditation both aim to “imagine, harness and commodify the uncertain future,” (De Goede, 2008).
This means that by the enforcement of decreasing risk of terrorism, nations are forced to take a different course of action by building resilient environments. “Governing terrorism through risk involves a permanent adjustment of traditional forms of risk management in light of the double infinity of catastrophe consequences and the incalculability of the risk of terrorism” (Aradau and Van Munster, 2005). However there simply are no permanent solutions to threats, only risk- management strategies. Hereby it is interesting to point out that it is not the presence but the anticipation of possible risks that provides the rationale for counter-measures: “While a terrorist attack is a spatially and temporally defined incident, the anticipation and prevention of it transforms the risk into a global beginning without an end,” (Beck, 2002). This means that techniques to actually anticipate risks, rational or not, will be used. According to De Goede (2008) techniques of imagining the future have taken on new political significance.
There will always be danger
Even if a terror attack is prevented, it is still bound to happen at some time in the future (Neocleous, 2013). Even after the London bombings the British Security Service warned that it was
a matter of “when, not if” (Briggs, 2010). Not the presence but the anticipation of possible risks provides the rationale for counter-measures: “while a terrorist attack is a spatially and temporally defined incident, the anticipation and prevention of it transforms the risk into a global beginning without an end” (Beck, 2002). The shift from security to resilience can be well contextualised within International Relations theory.
In International Relations theory, realism remains to this day the most dominant theory (Brown and Ainly, 2009), and we can detect a very realist view on the risk-driven resilience that has been portrayed up to now. The fact that governments like the United Kingdom are strategising resilience with the assumption that no matter what an attack will come, is a clear example of that. However it is not possible to define the enemy they are preparing for in realism theory. In realism, states are the only actors, however the enemy, being the terrorists, are actually a non-state group. The fact that security involves the cooperation of civilians can actually be better identified as a constructivist approach. It’s important to keep in mind that constructivists do not believe in universal values because these depend heavily on context. However constructivism does engage the social construction of security (Williams, 2008), this being the citizens that are included in the security strategy. A prominent feature of constructivists is the negotiation between actors claiming to speak for a specific group. This is the nation whose interest it is to protect their citizens. They might be doing that by counter-terrorism strategy, but is it the most important threat to protect its citizens from? According to the Copenhagen School a process of securitization takes place where the government will convince the public that a threat is an existential threat in order to pursue its strategy. Through counter-terrorism strategies this is pretty clear. The normalisation of every day practises that are aimed to prevent risks in many routines. In the London underground travellers are constantly reminded to report anything unusual and not leave luggage behind unattended. Every day they are asked to be attentive throughout the journey.
Resilience is subsuming and surpassing the logic of security
Resilience engages and encourages a culture of preparedness where the state imagines the worst case scenario in order for everyone to be prepared. According to Neocleous (2013) resilience is in this way by definition against resistance. It wants its target audience to agree with actions of the nation and to not show any resistance. Resilience includes the citizens in such way that security now also involves urban planning, public health, financial institutions, corporate risk, the environment and civil contingency measures (Neocleous, 2013). Previously it has been hard for states to incorporate all of this, but adding resilience to the strategy will actually enable them to do so.
According to Caoffee and Fussey (2015) the United Kingdom has gone the furthest in developing security-driven resilience policy since the attacks of 9/11 in the United States: “The logics underpinning UK resilience policy have responded to the changing targeting preferences of international terrorists concerns over ‘radicalisation’ as well as a renewed interest in localism as a means of building enhanced community resilience.” (Coaffee and Fussey, 2010) The concern that key sites of the United Kingdom would be targeted by terrorists is the reason the preparedness became a political priority (Briggs, 2010). For the emphasis of anticipation, the term ‘resilience’ came to the fore and was included in policies and practises following the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act (Coaffee, 2006). The Civil Contingencies Act states that it is a requirement to plan for major incidents before they happen.
Like mentioned above, including these themes and the attempt of resilience is the idea of rebounding, recoiling and bouncing back (Lentzos and Rose, 2009). Resilience is security that is also part of our daily lives. An example of how this plays out can be drawn in London. On the 7th of July in 2005, four bombs went off in central London, three of which were in underground trains and one in a double decker bus. That day 52 people got killed and more than 770 people were injured (BBC, 3-07-2015). This happened more than ten years ago but signs are still very visible in central London today. The attack in 2007 resulted in an ‘ambitious’ counter-terrorism strategy (BBC, 2015). The outputs of these strategies shows implementing resilience in the different ways as theoretically mentioned by Neocleous. An article in the BBC stated the following: “Police and security chiefs in Whitehall are now tasked with thinking through every “what if” scenario they can come up with so they have a tactic to confront a range of threats. Those tactics are regularly refined based on the general intelligence picture, and, as shown in a recent major exercise, key agencies train together. The immediate priority after 7 July was rethinking urban transport security.”
Physical security measures
One example is the fact that buildings in the United Kingdom’s biggest cities have gained actual physical protection such as bollards, low-level walls and planters which have been build around them (BBC, 2015). These protectors are supposed to absorb the direct impact of a lorry carrying a bomb and exploding right next to these buildings. The investment of building many of these, in different cities, can be questioned to being rational. In the lifespans of these protectors, the percentage that will actually save human lives from terrorist attacks will likely be small. More lives could perhaps be saved by using that investment to increasing fire safety, as statistics show, in 2014 there were 263 fire related fatalities and 7,569 casualties in fires in England (Gaught, Gallucci, and Smalldridge, 2016). Or perhaps teaching people in offices CPR to lower the annual number of 10,000 deaths of year caused by heart attacks in the United Kingdom (British Heart Foundation, 2016). Even road accidents alone accounted for more than 240,000 deaths in the year 2014 (Winters, 2016). However due to securitization this is not a priority of resilience.
Another aspect of resilience, which is a less physical example, is that of resilience measures after the attacks like the increase of the Security Service, MI5. By setting up regional hubs and working together with the police, the goal is to secure more presence of the MI5 in communities outside of London. This is considered very important because the men who carried out the attack in 2007 came from outside the capital.
Intelligence sharing between the police and MI5 and digital data is being gathered where patterns are being sought in communication with places such as Pakistan and the visiting of extremist websites (BBC, 2015). Again this can also be viewed as what Neocleous (2013) called civil contingency where the nation is checking its civilians to prevent them from doing something bad. All in all London is now preparing for the worst. Recently there has even been a development in civil contingency measures in the cyber world. State surveillance as a resilience strategy has even extended with the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, also called the ‘Snooper’s charter’. Last November this new law was accepted and requires web and phone companies to store web browsing histories for a period of 12 months which gives authorities access to unprecedented data (Travis at the Guardian, 2016). Home secretary Amber Rudd said the following in an interview with
the Guardian: “The government is clear that, at a time of heightened security threat, it is essential our law enforcement and security and intelligence services have the power they need to keep people safe. The internet presents new opportunities for terrorists and we must ensure we have the capabilities to confront this challenge.” (Travis at The Guardian, 2016).
According to Lentzos and Rose (2009), contemporary logics of security are certainly attuned to uncertain and multiple potential futures that do not operate according to statistical, probabilistic or epidemiological rules. But, while it is true that their attention to uncertainty poses problems for rationalities of risk management, nonetheless these uncertain futures must be rendered thinkable, prepared for and preempted or mitigated. Those who must undertake this task must certainly do more than simply calculate risks using algorithms derived from the past. However, this does not entail a resort to ‘non-rational’ ways to bring the future into the present, but rather requires the use of different modes of rationalisation (O’Malley, 2003, 2004, cited by Lentzos and Rose, 2009).
In addition, there is the example of security-driven resilience happened just recently as London’s New Year’s Eve security measures increased in volume anticipating on ISIS attacks. More than 3,000 police officers were present that night, while usually they use 3,500 officers at events each year (Dearden at The Independent, 2016). And London is not an exception. New York’s Time Square has closed off its streets with rubbish lorries filled with sand and the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower in Paris have been cancelled as a precaution to possible terrorist attacks (Dearden at The Independent, 2016). These measurements were taken by the government to protect their citizens against terrorism. But the fact that this fear of terrorism calls up such measures of resilience can still be questioned as rational. Especially on New Years Eve where people might more likely be in danger due to alcohol misuse or firework accidents.
According to Coaffee and Fussey (2015) enhancing citizen resilience is still articulated as a prominent feature of emergency planning, in the belief that greater resilience will be produced by “communities and individuals harnessing local resources and expertise to help themselves in an emergency, in a way that complements the response of the emergency services” (Cabinet Office, 2011b: 4, cited by Coaffee and Fussey 2015). An example of constant adaptation in daily life and resilience strategy in community is given by Duffield (2011) as he presents the way resilience works for aid workers in South Sudan as they were deliberate targets of political violence. There has been an increase of aid workers death, there is an adopted insecurity of the aid workers’ safety and are now facing permanent and pervasive danger. With professional security training that has the propose to encourage behavioural change to strengthen personal and organisational resilience. The aim was to embed framework and guide to action within the mind of the aid worker. “As a way of avoiding and minimising risk, aid workers are expected to act upon themselves, to change their own behaviour and lifestyles in order to make themselves fit for helping others. This reflects another aspect of resilience, the promise that a life of constant adaptation will produce something new and better,” (Folke 2006, cited by Duffield 2011).
But there is a counter-measure that actually seemed very successful. The London bombings called up a community-based approach that was implemented shortly after (Briggs, 2010). The government acknowledged that in order to decrease terrorism risk there was a need to work with
Muslim communities to prevent young people to radicalise and to make communities resilient enough to respond and challenge extremists from within (Briggs, 2010). This is another example of the government making citizens ready to enhance security but here, with success. The community- based resilience strategy was perfectly aimed at the threat of homegrown terrorism. Individuals that are prone to radicalise come from a marginal minority where individuals are integrated in their communities (Briggs, 2010). There were four ways in which the community strategy was directed towards counter-terrorism strategy. Firstly communities were able to act upon early warning signs that were probably more visible to the community rather than the police or the MI5. Suspicious behaviour would be reported. Secondly the communities were directed to work at and with young people and to prevent them from radicalisation. By being aware of potential factors of this happening and preventing such often in partnership with local authorities. Communities were also tackling grieve that would allow terrorist’ messages to enhance support. At last the communities were given a consent authority. The police and the Security Service were not allowed to act without the consent of the communities they are to protect. This counterterrorism strategy was called Preventing Extremism Together Taskforce. This called, according to Briggs (2010), over a dozen planned terrorist attacks have been prevented between 2001 and 2008, over 200 individuals were successfully prosecuted for planning, supporting or inciting terrorism.
The comfort of resilience
As previously indicated this essay has argued that resilience keeps the public in a state of fear towards the point where preventing measures are irrational. However one could argue that due to media and framing the public is already afraid and thinks security is necessary. There might be a certain expectation of the public that the states will protect them from terrorism attacks. Bruce Schneier speaks in his essay about security being both a reality and a feeling. That feeling is based on individual psychological reactions to both risks and countermeasures. The fact that there were extra police officers present on New Year’s Eve is something that the public expects. Whether it has a preventing effect on a possible terrorist attack might be even of less importance because it comforts the public. The question however is whether that feeling of fear that needs to be confirmed with security measures in the form of resilience would have existed if the shift did not take place in the past. According to Fallows (interviewed by Friedman, 2016), we have accepted a lot of risks like car accident as a manageable risk. Terrorist attacks are horrible when they happen, but terrorist attacks will not destroy the United States or Europe as we know it. Investing in resilience can deter terrorists (Fallows, interviewed by Friedman, 2016). It helps that people can not control the threat of terrorism but will be able to control how they can respond to it.
This essay has assessed the implications of the shift from security to resilient and has argued that resilience will keep everyone, including citizen, authorities, companies and states, in a state of fear. As resilience is included in the daily life of individuals where they are also expected to act upon the threats of terrorism. Resilience is a political term that means to be ready to bounce back, recoil and rebound. The term includes being prepared without being under direct protection of the nations. The responsibility of safety from attacks includes cooperation from everyone. Risk management through resilience incorporates premediation, meaning it is aimed to map out the future and to act on this in the present. Using the 1% doctrine, any risk will be acted upon by authorities. As the
British Security Service warned after the London bombings, it is not a matter of if but when the next attack will happen.
In International Relations theory we can see that the United Kingdom resilience is through the critical constructivist manner to securitise terrorist attacks and convince the public to participate in resilience. After the London Bombings in 2005 resilience measures were put in place around London, whether they had a rational prospect to prevent terrorism, like the community resilience strategy, or less rational like the bollards and building protectors placed in large cities. We have recognised that resilience also has a function for the public, that is of feeling safer even though there might be more urgent dangers. Living everyday life being resilient will however constantly remind you of the threat of terrorist, which will keep unnecessary keep you in a state of fear.
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