Top ten biggest threats to logistics: Terrorism

Top ten biggest threats to logistics: Terrorism

Continuing with our ‘top 10 biggest threats to logistics’ as given by industry experts, this week we’re looking at terrorism.

During the Supply Chain Risk Management and Mitigation Workshop F&L Conference in Gothenburg in May last year, the audience were asked from their own business perspective, what they thought were the biggest threats to the supply chain.


The world faces a serious and challenging threat from international terrorism.

Terrorism, in its broadest sense, describes the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror or fear to achieve a politics, religious or ideological aim. This violence can take on many forms, including cyberterrorism, and can have dire consequences to supply chains globally.

Since 2014, the threat has increased and has been driven by developments in Syria and Iraq. The situation which currently exists is providing an environment for terrorist groups, including DAESH (also referred to as ISIL, ISIS or the Islamic State) and Al Qaida (AQ)-linked groups, to plan attacks against the West. DAESH has the ability to direct, enable and inspire attacks globally.

Acts of terrorism vary in scale and purpose. Some aim merely to inflict superficial damage or cause public distress to draw attention to a particular cause. However, in other cases it can be more violent and indiscriminate with far-reaching consequences.

Despite the current main focus of terrorism originating from Syria and Iraq, the threat of terrorism also emanates from other parts of the Middle East and regions such as North, East and West Africa, South and South East Asia. Here, DAESH-linked groups, as well as AQ and their affiliates, continue to pose a significant threat to European interests both at home and abroad.

The majority of terrorist attack plots are planned by British residents. There are several thousand individuals in the UK who support violent extremism or are engaged in Islamist extremist activity. British nationals who have fought for extremist groups overseas continue to return to the UK, increasing the risk of terrorist attacks. Using skills acquired overseas, they may organise attacks under direction from outside the UK, or on their own initiative, or they might radicalise others to do so. While the majority of returnees will not mount attacks in the UK, the large numbers involved mean it is possible that at least some will attempt to do so.

Groups like DAESH make effective use of social media and modern communication methods to publicise and glamorise their acts. Once inspired, an individual might decide to conduct a terrorist attack without any prior signs of radicalisation. Simple, self-organised attacks by home-based Islamist extremists have increased and are inherently harder to detect than more complex and ambitious plots.

The threat is constantly developing, presenting major challenges for the west’s intelligence agencies and the police.

Top Ten Threats to Logistics

Threat 1 – Insider Threat

Threat 2 - Theft

Threat 3 – Unexpected Incidents

Threat 4 – Terrorism

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