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Active Threats Against The Aviation Sector:
Terrorism, Active Shooters, Workplace Violence, And 'Insiders'

By Dr. Joshua Sinai

Since the advent of modern terrorism, the aviation sector has been one of the most frequently targeted by Active Threat attacks.

Active Threat is a new category of converging threats that is being advanced in homeland security to encompass the distinct threats of terrorism, active shooters, workplace violence, and 'insiders' which characterize numerous attacks in which the perpetrators tactics utilize several of these types of threats. Thus, in the aviation sector, for example, the shooting rampage on January 6, 2017 by Esteban Santiago-Ruiz at Fort Lauderdale Airport was both active shooter (he allegedly suffered from psychological disorders) and terrorism (it is reported that he was influenced by ISIS).

By expanding the aperture to recognize such attacks as combining several threat types (e.g., active shooter and terrorism, or workplace violence, active shooter, and 'insider'), it will also serve to upgrade the capability to counter them with appropriate multidisciplinary response measures. To understand the magnitude of the types of Active Threats facing the aviation sector - which in this article is defined as consisting of airports and airplanes - this article's chronological listing of attacks that have targeted this sector breaks them down into these distinct types of threats and vulnerabilities.


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