When it comes to the future of terrorism, there’s good news and there’s bad news. And it’s mostly bad.
Here’s the good news: Many security experts—the kind of people who throw around terms like “creative foresight” and “horizon-scanning methodologies”—say that formal al Qaeda–esque groups as we know them are not likely to last very long into the future.
Even if they do, these experts predict, they probably won’t succeed in launching significant mass-casualty attacks like 9/11, much less some kind of WMD-driven Armageddon.
Ten years from now, conventional terror networks—those that are sophisticated and vertically integrated—will likely have been marginalized by aggressive military, intelligence-gathering, and law enforcement efforts. Or at least that’s what an informal survey of counterterrorism sages who get paid to see into the future and predict what is on the threat horizon tell me.