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Enhanced Neutralisation of explosive Threats Reaching Across the Plot

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ENTRAP (Enhanced Neutralisation of explosive Threats Reaching Across the Plot)

Berichtszeitraum: 2018-11-01 bis 2020-10-31

A significant threat from terrorism to society in Europe and globally emanates from the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the most common means of a terrorist attack. An IED can be prepared at low costs using easily available information and materials. Terrorism is a continually evolving and changing threat that forces law enforcement agencies to continuously adapt to it.
The ambition of ENTRAP was to identify how optimisation of the societal resilience to terrorism by explosives can be addressed. The ambition of the work regarding fighting crime and terrorism aims at both avoiding attacks by preventive actions (reduce probability) and mitigating their potential consequences (reduce effects). The ENTRAP project have been working with operational research (OR) methods for assessments activities.
ENTRAP aimed to evaluate the technical advancements produced by the research and development efforts conducted on a European level over the last decades. The ENTRAP project had a focus only on IEDs. The overall aim was to understand and evaluate the effectiveness of emerging technical capabilities and to compare them to currently available counter-tools used to Prevent, Detect, React to and Mitigate IED attacks. The objective was to develop a considered estimation on their efficiency, and to validate this against historic plots. An objective was also to do a gap analysis for the purpose of disclosing weaknesses in our current defences followed by the objective on how to overcome the gaps - gap bridging. ENTRAP also had an objective to develop models for cost effectiveness assessment of counter-tools related to for example the associated cost for raising the technological readiness levels of emerging tools. Among ENTRAPs objectives includes the ethical assessment of the use/mis-use of terrorism counter-tools. The expected outcomes in ENTRAP were to enhance decisions to be made on the further research and development of emerging counter-tools by the produced recommendations and visions from the project.
The ENTRAP partners identified the practitioner requirements which was done in a workshop together with expert members not included in the consortium, i.e. the Stakeholder and Practitioners advisory Board (SPB). The SPB had a wide span of different practitioners but relatively few representatives from the prevent area (intelligence agencies). This caused some limitations throughout the project where relatively few prevent counter-tools was assessed.
The ENTRAP project has defined the terrorism timeline and described the key activities for the different phases that terrorists may undergo to reach their goal. The terrorism timeline breaks down the stages and key activities that any terrorist is likely to undertake.
ENTRAP has made an analysis of the impact of counter-terrorism measures. This yielded a typology of capabilities structured in a hierarchy where sub-capabilities and functions to achieve goals of the main capabilities were structured.
ENTRAP made an inventory of historical and ongoing research projects, mainly EU funded, and the related counter-tools they address. This inventory was the foundation for making assessments.
Operational Research methods were used in the project to collect and structure information and to make assessments. A model for an iterative assessment approach was developed. Assessments were made via end user experts in practitioner workshops followed by a further layer with in-depth subject matter expert assessments. The development of a serious gaming model for ENTRAP purposes was performed and used in one main gaming workshop involving the SPB.
Gap analysis involves determining the difference between needed and required capabilities to current available capabilities. A multi-level method was used for the gap analysis, which produced a number of essential and clustered gaps which were covered by a gap bridging assessment.
Furthermore, models for cost effectiveness assessments of emerging counter-tools have been developed.
The outcome from all the work was compiled into visions for a Europe more resilient to terrorism by explosives and corresponding recommendations for research areas to reach these visions.
ENTRAP has produced a handbook for ethical risk assessments for use/mis-use of emerging counter-tools and a legal impact study for counter-tools.
Public reports in ENTRAP have been disseminated to stakeholders. The SPB has been involved in workshops continuously throughout the project and has in such a way been fed with ENTRAP results.
The sharing of reports will make it possible for decision-makers, practitioners and scientists to exploit the results.
The ENTRAP project is the first project that has collected and summarised information on previous EU funded research for enhancing the security of explosives. It is also the first project that aimed at assessing emerging counter-tools using OR methods with respect to their effectiveness in relevant scenarios including cost, ethical and legal perspectives.
For doing the assessments, new OR methods have been developed and existing methods adapted to enable qualitative assessments. ENTRAP made a large inventory of previous research projects and inserted relevant data in a tailor made database, to enable the assessments. To some extent, the inventory had limitations due to the difficulty in access to specific information.
The terrorist’s activities have been analysed, resulting in a detailed terrorist timeline. The close connection between terrorist key activities and society’s capabilities to counter them have given new insights to the needs for capability development.
ENTRAP is providing decision-makers, practitioners and scientists with accurate information on counter-tools requirements and emerging capabilities. The project helps governmental bodies to make threat assessments and to provide accurate guidelines for counter-terrorism practitioners. The development of new tools and methods is the foundation on which a step-change can be made when it comes to preventing and fighting crime and terrorism. The project has identified areas where a step-change is required.
ENTRAP has performed a gap analysis were gaps have been clustered. Gap bridging assessments on critical gaps that describes a way to overcome the gaps have been made.
All work in ENTRAP has led to the formulation of the ENTRAP vision of future capabilities to counter terrorism by explosives. ENTRAP has identified challenges that need to be overcome in order to achieve the visions as well as the recommended research required to do so.
A successful future research on the recommended topics will increase the probability for the society to have access to novel counter-tools that give practitioners significantly better capabilities to effectively counter terrorism in their daily work. The society will consequently be much more resilient to terrorism by explosives. To protect society it is not sufficient to improve individual capabilities. Societal resilience is strengthened by using a broad set of capabilities across all capability domains. A wide range of societal actors such as for example policy-makers, social workers (to counter radicalisation) and city planners (to mitigate consequences) as a whole need to develop a larger awareness on how increased resilience can be obtained in the future.