Tragic Terrorist Events of September 11, 2001

The subject of the case study and its importance

The subject of the case study is the tragic terrorist events of September 11, 2001. This case study is important because it examines one of the unforgettable disasters in America’s history. The attacks “targeted some of the nation’s symbolic landmarks such as the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon” (Schwenninger, 2013, p. 2). The attack is believed to have been coordinated by Al-Qaeda. According to many politicians, the attacks redefined America’s view of terrorism. Economists indicated that the attacks caused losses amounting to over 10 billion dollars (Dillingham, 2003). The disaster also “caused over 2,900 lives” (Schwenninger, 2013, p. 2). These attacks led to new policies, security improvements, and coordination of intelligence functions to protect the country from terrorism.


The September 11 attacks are believed to have a long history than many people might imagine. Scholars have argued that Osama bin Laden had declared a holy war against America because of several reasons. To begin with, Al-Qaeda was against the United States for collaborating with Israel and Russia. For instance, the United States had supported Israel’s invasion of Palestine. As well, the US made it easier for India to oppress Muslims. It also attacked different Muslims in Somalia. The country’s decision “to impose sanctions against Iraq also encouraged Al-Qaeda to declare the holy war” (Holt & Andrews, 2014, p. 2). The terrorist organization was preparing to attack the US from 1997 to 2001. The terrorists eventually “achieved their goals on September 11, 2011” (Schwenninger, 2013, p. 3).


September 11, 2001, became a turning point in America’s political history. The country’s reality and definition of terrorism changed after the attack. It was the most appropriate moment to put in place the most appropriate strategies to ensure the country was protected from every form of attack. This discussion gives a detailed analysis of the terrorist attack (Holt & Andrews, 2014). The paper also describes the threats, consequences, and vulnerabilities of the attacks. The discussion will also give a conclusive analysis of the mitigation strategies that were put in place during the period.

Time-frame of events

This timeframe details the events leading to the September 11 attacks. It also examines the events that took place after the attack.

7:59 am: American Airlines Flight 11 took off from Logan International Airport (Dillingham, 2003).

8:14 am: United Airlines 175 also took off from Boston to Los Angeles (Holt & Andrews, 2014)

8:20 am: Another American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Dulles International Airport. It is also headed to LA.

8:46 am: American Airlines Flight 11 is crashed into the 83-99 floors of the North Tower of the WTC.

9:03 am: United Airlines Flight 175 is crashed into the WTC’s south tower.

9:37 am: Flight 77 is crashed into the western side of the Pentagon.

9:59 am: the South Tower of WTC collapses.

10:28 am: the second WTC tower also collapses.

Threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences

The events taking place before September 11 indicated clearly that America was under threat. This is true because Al-Qaeda has declared a holy war against the nation. Many American leaders and intelligence experts were aware of the intentions of different terrorists to attack the country (Dillingham, 2003). The ultimate goal of the terrorists was to disorient the country’s economy. They also wanted to pursue their ideologies and destabilize the nation. It was therefore quite clear that such an attack would take place.

Many peoples, buildings, infrastructures, and urban centers were vulnerable before the September 11 attacks. The terrorist attacks played a significant role in exposing the level of vulnerability in the country. The “American homeland security against terrorism was also incapable of coordinating different actions and ensuring that more people were protected from potential attacks” (Dillingham, 2003, p. 3). The terrorists plotted and executed their missions successfully. This occurrence proved to the world that the US had numerous weaknesses and loopholes within its homeland security (Bakir, 2001). As well, intelligence gathering processes were ineffective. The attacks indicated clearly that more people were vulnerable to different threats.

The consequences of this case study cannot be underestimated. For instance, the attack affected the lives of many innocent Americans. Congress acknowledged the fact that the country was no longer secure from foreign attacks. The events forced the country to enact new laws in an attempt to protect more people from terrorism. The country also “signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002” (Dillingham, 2003, p. 2). The Act led “to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in order to protect more citizens” (Dillingham, 2003, p. 2). The 9/11 Commission was also established to identify the issues associated with the attack and present new recommendations (Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations, 2011). Such recommendations were aimed at improving the level of security in the country. The war against terror also began in Afghanistan.

The country has also made strategic initiatives to ensure every person was secure from different disasters. The consequences of the attack encouraged the government to identify new measures to protect the country’s information technology networks and infrastructure. It has also “engaged different players and stakeholders in order to make security a shared responsibility” (Bakir, 2001, p. 2). The attack led to new strategies that were aimed at improving the country’s security.


Mitigation strategies

The major American military forces responded effectively after the attack. For instance, the forces engaged in powerful surveillance practices to counter any new attack. Within a few hours, the U.S. Navy dispatched powerful missile destroyers to Washington DC and New York (Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations, 2011). Such mitigation strategies were put in place to ensure the regions were not attacked again. As well, rescue workers were gathered from different departments and agencies to support the needs of many victims. Such mitigation strategies, therefore, played a significant role in supporting many civilians.

Standby actions

It is agreeable that some standby actions could have produced better results before and after the attack. For instance, missile destroyers should have been placed strategically in different parts of the country. Such standby measures would have safeguarded the WTC. Proper screening processes should have also been used in every airport. The practice would have safeguarded the lives of many citizens. As well, competent firefighters, Disaster Management Teams (DMTs), and Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) should have been put in place before and after the attacks (Kapucu, 2013). Such measures could have reduced most of the reported fatalities. Different players and military personnel should have been involved throughout the process to deal with the disaster.

Relation to the selected module

This situation relates to the selected class module. This is the case because it focuses on disasters and the most appropriate strategies for dealing with them. The concepts obtained from the module can be used to analyze and address most of the issues associated with these terrorist attacks on American soil (Dillingham, 2003). Different actors and military personnel used powerful mitigation strategies in an attempt to achieve the best results.

The success of the mitigation strategies

Although the attack led to numerous deaths and fatalities, the most agreeable fact is that the mitigation strategies were successful. Powerful approaches and response strategies were embraced to protect every infrastructure after the attack. Rescue efforts were also executed effectively thus saving the lives of many American citizens. The important thing to observe is that the attack was of a very high magnitude (Dillingham, 2003). This argument supports the fact that the American government used the best approaches to deal with the disaster (Kapucu, 2013). However, powerful measures should be embraced in the future to achieve the best outcomes within the shortest time possible.

Executive Summary

The September 11 attacks coordinated by Al-Qaeda opened a new chapter in America’s war against terror. After the attack, new initiatives were implemented to support more victims and ensure the country was secured from similar threats in the future. The enactment of the Homeland Security Act was critical towards improving the outcomes of more citizens. The country implemented the most appropriate mitigation strategies after the disaster (Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations, 2011). However, new improvements and responses will be needed in the future to improve the country’s security.

Reference List

Bakir, N. (2001). A Brief Analysis of Threats and Vulnerabilities in the Maritime Domain. CREATE Research Archive, 1(1), 1-33.

Dillingham, G. (2003). Transportation Security: Post-September 11th Initiatives and Long-Term Challenges. GAO, 1(1), 1-27.

Holt, M., & Andrews, A. (2014). Nuclear Power Plant Security and Vulnerabilities. Congressional Research Service, 1(1), 1-14.

Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations. (2011). Web.

Kapucu, N. (2013). Disaster Resiliency and Culture of Preparedness for University and College Campuses. Administration and Society, 3(1), 1-12.

Schwenninger, S. (2013). American Grand Strategy after September 11. World Policy Journal, 1(1), 1-5.