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THE TERRORIST ATTACKS OF 9 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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THE TERRORIST ATTACKS OF 9/11: A BRIEF REVIEW OF IMPACT AND RESPONSE. Dr. James JF Forest Director of Terrorism Studies Combating Terrorism Center U.S. Military Academy West Point, NY. The Terrorist Attacks of 9/11. Agenda: 1) The Events of 9/11 2) The Psychological Impact

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Dr. James JF Forest

Director of Terrorism Studies

Combating Terrorism Center

U.S. Military Academy

West Point, NY

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The Terrorist Attacks of 9/11


1) The Events of 9/11

2) The Psychological Impact

3) The Economic Impact

4) The Response: Building Community Resilience

5) Recommendations and Conclusion

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DoD Disclaimer

Please Note:

The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the position of the United States Military Academy, the Department of the Army, or the U.S. Department of Defense.

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1. The Events of 9/11

On a beautiful, clear day in September . . .

  • Four planes hijacked; three flown into office buildings in NYC and DC

  • NYC attacks (2nd plane crash) shown on live television; American attention riveted; other tv shows replaced by 9/11 coverage

  • All airplanes grounded; schools closed; sports cancelled

  • WTC towers collapse, shown on live television

  • Close coverage of whereabouts of Pres. Bush, other national leaders

  • Lots of commentary and questions; few informed answers; lots of emotion, Congressional Representatives spontaneously singing patriotic songs on the steps of Capitol Hill


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2. The Psychological Impact

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Individuals who have been exposed to a traumatic event may experience at least one recurrent symptom related to the event (such as intrusive, repeated recollections or dreams of the event)

  • Persistently avoids people, activities or places associated with the event

  • Cannot recall important aspects of the trauma

  • Shows disinterest in their usual daily activities and a sense of foreboding about the future

  • Hyper arousal (difficulty in falling or staying asleep, outbursts of anger, hyper vigilance, an inability to concentrate, or exaggerated startle responses)

  • May lead to significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of the individual’s life


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2. The Psychological Impact

Common Themes in the Research on 9/11 Psychological Impact

  • Living closer to the attack scene, direct personal loss, and children were more likely to exhibit symptoms of PTSD

    • Sadness was the most frequent reaction among New Yorkers, followed by anxiety and fear

  • Almost 20% of Americans across the country reported symptoms of distress

    • constant news coverage, replays of video footage showing the second plane hitting the World Trade Center, helped all Americans feel closer to the event

  • Americans did not withdraw from others

    • Stress and uncertainty produces social behaviors: people seek out others, perhaps to enhance social support, or to help to affirm one’s cultural view of the world and the threat (Brandon & Silke)

  • Increased participation in religious services, memorials, vigils


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3. The Economic Impact

  • NY City Economic Impact

    • “Total Loss $83 billion” (NYC partnership & Chamber of Commerce: Nov 2001)

    • “Total Cost $54 billion” (NY Governor: Oct 2001)

    • “WTC Replacement Cost & Cleanup $25~29 billion” (FEB NY: April 2002)

    • “Total Cost $83 billion (quoting NYCP-COC) but $67 billion covered by Insurance(US GAO: May 2002)

  • NY City Jobs Lost

    • 108,500, 115,300, 105,200, 125,000, 84,000, 78,200, 129,000….

  • NY State Jobs Lost

    • “99,000 in 2001, 78,000 in 2002, 77,000 in 2003” (NYS Senate Finance Committee: DRI-WEFA: January 2002)

    • “Resulted at peak loss of 78,200” (DRI-WEFA: March 2002)

    • “50,000 immediately, 70,000 in 4th Quarter” “Much of this loss is likely linked to WTC attack” (FEB NY: April 2002)

Confusion/Disagreement on Total Economic Impact


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3. The Economic Impact

Immediate and Short-Term Economic Impacts

  • Financial Sector

    • 40% of WTC casualties

    • NYSE, NYME closed

  • Aviation Sector

    • planes grounded for a week or more

    • 20% drop in passengers

    • 100,000 jobs lost; several airlines went bankrupt

  • Insurance Sector

    • loss of life and property estimated at $40-$50 billion

  • AB95-5.PPT

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    3. The Economic Impact

    Immediate and Short-Term Economic Impacts

    • Other industries were also badly affected, such as hotels, tourism, automobile rentals, travel agents, and civilian aircraft manufactures.

    • Hotels reported higher vacancy rates and employment in the sector as a whole fell by 58,000 (about 3%) in October and November, 2001

    • Nearly 18,000 businesses were dislocated, disrupted or destroyed by the attacks

    • Also, over 300 firefighters and nearly 100 policeman were killed while trying to evacuate the World Trade Center before it collapsed


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    3. The Economic Impact

    Longer-Term Economic Impacts

    • Federal Reserve cut interest rates aggressively

    • Special financing incentives offered by the automobile companies led to record motor vehicle sales for October 2001

    • Securities market was only closed for four days, opening again after the telecommunications network in lower Manhattan became operational.

    • Stock market re-opened on September 17th; within 19 trading days, the S&P 500 index had bounced back to its pre-September 11th level


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    3. The Economic Impact

    Longer-Term Economic Impacts

    • New York City lost a significant amount of its office space and a number of businesses ceased to exist.

    • Close to 200,000 jobs were destroyed or relocated to other cities

    • 34.5 million square feet of office space lost


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    The WTC burning…

    The twin towers collapsed…

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    3. The Economic Impact

    Longer-Term Economic Impacts

    • City-wide impact; airports and midtown hotels not just south of Canal Street

    • Low-income workers bore the brunt (60%)

    • People of color and immigrants (56%) hard hit

    • Chinatown, “economic ground zero”, and other poor communities heavily affected

    • Insurance costs have risen on average 33% since 2001

    • Diversion of resources and capacity toward security-related products and services

    • Short-term direct impacts were not as significant as the financial costs of the long-term response that is still underway


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    3. The Economic Impact

    Bottom Line

    • 9/11 events inflicted severe and immediate physical impacts to all businesses, government offices, and other organizations located in and around the WTC complex.

    • This event involved dead, injured, missing, physically displaced and traumatized employees, losses of data, information, and institutional knowledge, and an unprecedented uncertainty in market behavior


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    4. The Response

    Building Community Resilience

    APA suggests that characteristics of resilient people include:

    • Optimism – maintaining hope about the future

    • Self-efficacy – confidence in one’s skills to manage or accomplish the task at hand

    • Intellectual mastery – belief in one’s ability to exert positive control over their environment, and to break down complex problems into smaller, more accomplishable tasks and goals

    • Social competency – social skills help one deal with stress in a constructive and positive manner.

    • Cohesive family - family cohesion and support buffer the negative impact of stress in youth

    • Models – Peers, parents, siblings, or others model effective coping with stress, providing important learning opportunities


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    4. The Response

    Building Community Resilience

    • How is the U.S. working to build resilience in its communities?

    Four Common Themes




    Social Capital


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    4. The Response


    • Equipping and training first responders and emergency personnel

    • For example, disaster drills in cities of all sizes throughout the U.S.

      • mock detonation of a weapon of mass destruction at a university

      • Simulation of mass vaccination event

      • Response drill involving simultaneous car bombs at multiple locations

      • Video training and computer simulations

    • National Incident Management System Capability Assessment Support Tool (NIMCAST), the first step in a process to reaching full National Incident Management System (NIMS), compliance

    • NIMS was established by DHS to provide a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents

    • Also, multi-state exercises held to foster state-state cooperation


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    4. The Response


    • U.S. government is doing its best to communicate to its citizens all that was known about the attacks

      • For example, 9/11 Commission Report

    • Communicating all that can be shared about the threat of new attacks

      • Homeland Security Advisory System

      • DHS Alerts for specific sectors (aviation, financial, etc.)

    • Communicating suggestions for preparing communities and families

      • new emergency alert notification systems developed in several large metropolitan areas

      • New radio towers, transmitters, antennas, wireless information networks, etc.


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    4. The Response


    • Education about terrorism and personal safety is also playing an important role in fostering resilience

    • Department of Homeland Security has launched a number of public awareness campaigns, including websites

      • For example,

      • Many efforts focus on encouraging families to develop their own emergency plan and supplies

    • Other examples include programs in schools, where teachers talk to children about 9/11 and terrorism in general

    • Education of teachers, school bus drivers on how to look for suspicious activity which might indicate terrorism

    • Education of truck drivers on how to look for suspicious activity which might indicate terrorism


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    4. The Response

    Building Social Capital

    • Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) initiatives

      • developed throughout the United States, and designed to give ordinary residents the necessary skills and knowledge to react and control the situation for a period of 72 hours following a disaster

      • Draws from materials prepared by FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy

      • Made available to anyone online via website

    • Other Citizen Corps-sponsored efforts (

    • Goal = Engage community members in meeting the challenges of a terrorist threat, such as volunteering to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety


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    4. The Response

    CERT Training

    • Session 1, Disaster Preparedness

    • Session 2, Disaster Fire Suppression

    • Session 3, Disaster Medical Operations Part I

    • Session 4, Disaster Medical Operations, Part II

    • Session 5, Light Search and Rescue Operations

    • Session 6, Disaster Psychology and Team Organization

    • Session 7, Course Review and Disaster Simulation

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    5. Recommendations and Conclusion

    Provide New Forms of Public Education

    • There is much that could be done to educate the public at large about the true nature of the terrorist threat

    • Al Qaeda and affiliate terrorist groups seek to attack the United States because of “our values” or “our way of life”

    • Rather, they have a strategy and goals they are trying to achieve

    • “The settlement of this overburdened account will indeed be heavy. We will also aim to continue, by permission of Allah, the destruction of the American economy.” - Ayman Al-Zawahiri (6 October, 2002)

    • Educate the public about the root conditions and facilitators of terrorism

    • Also, need more education about what average citizens can do to help foster resilience in our communities


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    5. Recommendations and Conclusion

    Build Social Capital and Strengthen Social Networks

    • Good relationships with close family members, friends, or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience.

    • It is a mistake to rely solely on the government to deal with the immediate impact of terrorist attacks. Community empowerment must play a prominent role in any national resilience strategy.

    • For example, the government could provide tax breaks and other incentives to individuals and families who join any number of local organizations and participate in community-building.


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    5. Recommendations and Conclusion

    Promote Greater Coordination

    • Several reports have highlighted a lack of intelligence sharing and organizational cooperation that exists throughout many federal and state agencies.

    • We must break down the barriers to interagency cooperation—like organizational culture, differing technologies, turf wars, personality clashes and parochial agendas.

    • Agencies at the federal, state and local levels need to be able to communicate effectively;

      • 5 years after 9/11, the NYPD and FDNY still do not have common frequencies and protocols for communication


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    5. Recommendations and Conclusion

    Promote Greater Coordination (cont.)

    • Need greater public-private coordination in order to address many of the preparation and education-related dimensions of resilience described earlier in this essay.

    • Need to ensure critical infrastructure redundancy in case of future terrorist attack, since 85% of the nation’s critical infrastructure is owned by the private sector.


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    5. Recommendations and Conclusion

    Provide Bold Leadership

    • Leaders matter most in times of crisis

    • This is particularly true in fostering a nation’s resilience in the face of terrorism.

    • Leaders communicate challenges and strategies, and provide resources for preparation and education.

    • Much of the current administration’s focus is on combating terrorism, specifically, locating terrorists, disrupting their networks, and bringing violent criminals and extremists to justice.

    • We also need leadership that is dedicated to public education, rather than to secrecy in all matters related to national security.


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    5. Recommendations and Conclusion

    Bottom Line

    • Leaders of a liberal democracy must enlist the support and assistance of the public, and enable them to be responsible contributors to the struggle against terrorism.


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