JCAT: Vehicle-Borne Attacks – Tactics and Mitigation

SCOPE: This product encourages discussion and creativity among intergovernmental and private sector stakeholders for integrating protective security measures into public and private places to reduce vehicle-borne threats

Terrorists use vehicles to target pedestrians, breach physical security barriers, and deliver explosive devices. Vehicle rammings are scalable, require minimal preparation and are encouraged in terrorist messaging. These attacks garner widespread media coverage. Therefore, security specialists, architects, engineers, and first responders are encouraged to adopt a layered security approach to mitigate vehicle-borne threats.

Terrorists carry out a variety of vehicle-borne attacks worldwide and vehicle ramming attacks are the most common type of vehicle-borne attack used in the United States. Other types of vehicle attacks, such as vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attacks, have been either foiled or are less likely to be attempted in the United States possibly due to the complex nature of building a VBIED.

Since May 2020, there have been over a dozen malicious or intentional vehicle rammings carried out during protests and riots in the United States.

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Source: Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team