Anti-Imperialist Territorial Nuclei (NTA)

The Anti-Imperialist Territorial Nuclei (NTA) is a small (approximately 20 members) clandestine leftist extremist group that appeared in the Friuli region in Italy in 1995. NTA adopted the class struggle ideology of the Red Brigade of the 1970s-80s and a similar logo—an encircled five-point star—for their declarations.

APIS (Advance Passenger Information System)

The Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) is an electronic database system that stores information about airline travelers. The system, operated by the United States Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), provides searchable biographical and security information on air travelers entering the United States from a foreign location.

Archeology and Artifacts, Protection of During War

Plundering is a practice as ancient as warfare itself. With the development of the world's great civilizations, the proverbial "spoils of war" often included national and cultural treasures, including priceless art and antiquities.

Architecture and Structural Security

Buildings have always stood under the threat of physical attack, but until the advent of organized terrorism in the latter twentieth century, most structural dangers were limited to fires, natural disasters, and acts of war. Since the early 1970s, however, it has become increasingly apparent to authorities in the West that their physical structures are potential targets for terrorist actions, especially bombings, even during peacetime.

Area 51 (Groom Lake, Nevada)

Area 51 is the popular name of a secret military facility at Groom Lake, Nevada, approximately 90 miles north of Las Vegas. The 6-by-10 mile rectangular air base lies within the Switzerland-sized boundaries of Nellis Air Force Base, and has served as a testing ground for "black budget" (top-secret) military prototype aircraft since the mid-1950s.

Argentina, Intelligence and Security

Since gaining its independence from Spain in 1816, Argentina has struggled to maintain stable, democratic rule.

Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne National Laboratory is operated by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Armed Islamic Group (GIA)

An Islamic extremist group, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) aims to overthrow the secular Algerian regime and replace it with a fundamentalist Islamic state. The GIA began its violent activity in 1992 after Algiers voided the victory of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)—the largest Islamic opposition party—in the first round of legislative elections in December 1991.

Arms Control, United States Bureau

The Bureau of Arms Control is an office of the United States Department of State devoted to policy on military arms of all types, from conventional to nuclear. It falls under the U.S.

Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR)

The Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) also operates as, or is known as, Interahamwe, Former Armed Forces (ex-FAR).

Army Security Agency

The Army Security Agency (ASA) provided the United States Army with signal intelligence and security information from 1945 to 1976. During the 1960s, ASA played a key role in the Vietnam conflict, a role symbolized by the fact that an ASA operative was the first soldier killed in the war.

'Asbat Al-Ansar

'Asbat al-Ansar—the Partisans' League—is a Lebanon-based, Sunni extremist group, composed primarily of Palestinians, which is associated with Osama Bin Ladin. The group follows an extremist interpretation of Islam that justifies violence against civilian targets to achieve political ends.

Asilomar Conference

Soon after the discovery in 1970 of the first restriction enzyme by American microbiologist Hamilton Smith, it became possible to combine DNA from different sources into one molecule, producing recombinant DNA. Concern by scientists and lay people that some of this recombinant technology DNA might be harmful to humans—either by unintentional or deliberate release or recombinant DNA into the environment—prompted the research to stop until scientists could evaluate its risks.


Assassination is a sudden, usually unexpected act of murder committed for impersonal reasons, typically with a political or military leader as its target. Although assassination gained its name from that of a fanatical Near Eastern sect in the Middle Ages, the practice of assassination goes back to ancient times, and extends to the present day.

Assassination Weapons, Mechanical

Throughout history, governments and groups have employed the tactic of assassination: a sudden, usually unexpected act of murder committed for impersonal reasons. The reasons for resorting to assassination have become perhaps a bit more complex as the balances of power have become more intricate, but not especially so.

Asymmetric Warfare

In contrast to traditional warfare or "linear warfare," asymmetric warfare refers to operations that do not rely on masses of troops or munitions to destroy and/or control an enemy. Asymmetric warfare most commonly refers to warfare between opponents not evenly matched where the smaller or weaker force must exploit geography, timing, surprise, or specific vulnerabilities of the larger and stronger enemy force to achieve victory.

ATF (United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms)

In accordance with the Homeland Security Act of 2002, on January 24, 2003, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF or BATF) was transferred from the Department of the Treasury to the Department of Justice. There it became the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, but retained the initials ATF.

Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC)

The Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC) is an effort through which the United States Department of Energy (DOE) monitors and predicts the release of hazardous materials into the atmosphere. The bulk of its activities takes place at the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC), located at the University of California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Audio Amplifiers

Any electronic device that increases the power of an electrical signal whose vibrations are confined to the audio frequency range—the range that can be perceived by the human ear—is an audio amplifier. All devices that transmit, record, or otherwise electronically process voice signals employ audio amplifiers.

Aum Supreme Truth (Aum)

A cult (also know as Aum Shinrikyo and Aleph) established in 1987 by Shoko Asahara, the Aum aimed to take over Japan and then the world. Approved as a religious entity in 1989 under Japanese law, the group ran candidates in a Japanese parliamentary election in 1990.

Australia, Intelligence and Security

Australia gained its status as a British Commonwealth nation in 1901. The nation is largely autonomous, but technically under the British monarch.

Austria, Intelligence and Security

Following World War II, Austria faced the monumental task of restructuring its national government and intelligence forces. The Nazi government before and during the war substantially increased the nation's intelligence service, but post-war Austria sought to distance itself from the Nazi legacy.

Aviation Intelligence, History

As lengthy and complicated as any aspect of modern espionage, the history of aviation intelligence has involved the use of aircraft both as intelligence-gathering platforms and as objects of study. These two aspects of aviation intelligence are known as aerial reconnaissance and air technical intelligence, respectively.

Aviation Security Screeners, United States

Prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, security screening at the more than 400 major commercial airports around the United States was the work of personnel employed by private firms that contracted with airlines. One outcome of the attacks was the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), signed into law by President George W.

B-2 Bomber

The United States Air Force B-2 stealth technology lowobservable, strategic, long-range bomber is designed to penetrate air defense systems and destroy command, control, and air defense infrastructure during the opening days of a conflict when enemy forces and air defenses are fully operational.


The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a bomber made for missions of extraordinarily long range. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, it flew the longest strike mission in history, taking off from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, flying to Iraq and launching its cruise missiles, then returning to Barksdale 35 hours after it left—all without stopping.

Bacterial Biology

An understanding of the fundamentals of bacterial biology is critical to bacteriologists and other forensic investigators attempting to identify potential biogenic pathogens that may be exploited as agents in biological warfare or by bioterrorists.

Ballistic Fingerprints

A ballistic fingerprint is the unique pattern of markings left by a specific firearm on ammunition it has discharged. Ballistic fingerprinting efficacy as a tool of forensics is a matter of some controversy.

Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, United States

The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), the successor to the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization in the United States Department of Defense, develops systems to detect, track, and destroy ballistic missiles. Working in collaboration with all of the U.S.

Ballistic Missiles

Any missile that lofts an explosive payload which descends to its target as a ballistic projectile—that is, solely under the influence of gravity and air resistance—is a ballistic missile.