After the 'War on Terror': regulatory states, risk bureaucracies and the risk-based governance of terror
Heng, Yee-Kuang and McDonagh, Kenneth (2010) After the 'War on Terror': regulatory states, risk bureaucracies and the risk-based governance of terror. Working Papers in International Studies Series. (Paper No. 2010-9). Centre for International Studies, Dublin City University, Ireland.
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In March 2009, the Obama administration sent a message to senior Pentagon staff instructing them to refrain from using either of the terms ‘Long War’ or ‘Global War on Terror’ and to replace these terms with ‘Overseas Contingency Operations’. Similarly, the 2009 UK Strategy for Countering International Terrorism eschews military terminology, preferring instead National Risk Assessments whose overall aim is ‘to reduce the risk to the UK’. This paper seeks to explore what it terms an emerging risk-based approach being deployed by states. Such an approach has already played a significant role in the ‘War on Terror’ to date, particularly in relation to Anti-Terrorist Financing and Aviation security guidelines. The change in tone and, potentially, substance from the Obama White House may however create the opportunity for risk-based approaches to move further onto the centre stage in the war on terror, just as it has in the wider Risk Society. This paper argues that the end of the ‘War on Terror’ at the rhetorical level suggests a need to shift our academic attention towards developing appropriate analytical frameworks for examining such risk-based strategies for countering terrorism. Our framework proposed here deploys the twin concepts of ‘risk bureaucracies’ and risk regulatory regimes (RRRs) in examining terrorist financing and aviation security regulations.
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