The Terrorist Threat Mitigation Reference Guide. Published by The Chameleon Group, Inc., 888/343-4100 (phone), www.chameleon1.com (Web); 56 pages; $40.
There's nothing wrong with self-published books per se. Publishing is a capricious business, and many worthy books have gone the self-publishing route. But often such titles, even when written by capable and earnest people, suffer from the lack of a professional editor, which seems to be the case here. The expertise of the authors and the accuracy of this terrorist-threat guide are not in question, but the uneven writing and composition make reading the book a chore.
Intended for anyone whose duties involve "protection, minimizing risk, hiring employees, security training, manufacturing security technology, integrating security solutions, and mitigating threats," the book gives itself little space, 56 pages, to accomplish all these objectives. Fifteen subject headings carve the text into bite-size offerings, while 66 subheads dice these further into morsels. The result is staccato, with the authors striving to introduce, define, and illustrate one or two concepts per page.
For example, page 46 introduces readers to "Means of Aggression." The authors write that "The variety and means of aggression is endless. It ranges from verbally threatening, to use of a hand-held weapon, to a bomb, to weapons of mass destruction, and everything in between." Yet the following pages provide only an introduction to explosives, with nothing on the promised "variety and means of aggression."
New subject matter is inadequately explained or supported, and concepts fail to transition from chapter to chapter, from section to section, and even from sentence to sentence, leaving the reader discombobulated. Consider the following sentences: "It is very important to differentiate between threat and suspicion. The definition of suspicion presents a situation where suspicion is potentially abundant. Ninety-nine percent of the time, suspicion is refuted after evaluation, and the suspicious situation becomes a nonthreatening situation." The point seems to be that threats are supported by critical observation or analysis, while suspicion is a mere hunch, but that's just a guess.
At best, this guide is hard to read. At worst, it is inscrutable. At one point, the authors explain that terrorist operations are "methodical, achievable, and have a clear beginning and end." This book would have benefited from the same approach.
Reviewer: Ross D. Bulla, CPP, PSP, is president of The Treadstone Group, Inc., which provides worldwide security consulting and investigative services to corporations, law firms, government agencies, and private clients managing significant risks. An antiterrorism driving instructor, Bulla has also instructed private- and public-sector counterterrorism and surveillance-detection teams. He is a member of ASIS International.