The ‘war on terror’ has focused exclusively on transnational terrorism since the hijackings of 9/11. Based on almost 40 years of data, this article shows that domestic terrorism poses a much greater threat to the world community. Thus, this focus needs to be reconsidered, especially because recent research shows that domestic terrorism spills over into transnational terrorism. This article also argues that homeland security and the dominance of religious fundamentalist terrorists are making the hardest-to-defend targets – private parties – the target of choice since 1999. Moreover, terrorists are increasingly favoring attacking people over property. Even though terrorism murders relatively few people, it poses a supreme collective action problem for the world community.
Searching the ADF website does not reveal a precise definition but does reveal past discussion papers which have confirmed that a clear definition is needed to help future planning of counter-terrorist measures as distinct from planning for conventional military action. For example, Major Adam Boyd uses the FBI definition of terrorism and then states that “a pre-eminent strategic studies speaker” at the 2004 Australian Command and Staff Course was “adamant that Australia did not have a comprehensive strategy to combat macro-terrorism” (15).